Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spain Can Be a Bit ...... Different

Okay, so I had to include some pictures of
the last "Super Moon" of the year :)

As I've grown to know and love Spain more and more over the months I have been here, I've also become aware of a few quirks and twists that occasional take me by suprise and make me wonder.  Since we're already at the beach with the last Super Moon of the year, I guess I'll start with boats. For some reason, it seems to be a rule that if you have a fire on the beach, that fire HAS to be in a boat. Most of the beach restaurants roast fish over a fire, and all of the fires are on boats filled with sand. They even have a whole bunch of boats that you can rent out (by the half) to have your own personal fire in. No clue why.
Next up - street signs. At first glance at the picture on the left it looks like they have normal street signs, but look closer - all those nice big signs are advertisements - NOT street signs. They are very helpful if you want to find a store or whatever, but if you're trying to find an address - good luck. The street signs (if you can find them at all) are the small green signs on the corner of the buildings, if they are there at all (the above sign is the one on our building for our street).
And streets decide to change their names seemingly at random - it is VERY hard to find where you're going in Spain - so a GPS is pretty much a necessity. And they like to fake you out by putting up signs that LOOK like street signs, but are really an advertisement for their store or restaurant (see picture to the left).  Also, all the buildings have their own names, which is often included in the address (the building above, Andalucia 4, is the building with my apartment in it. It took me forever to find the name because it's rather high up and hard to see from that side of the street). The address you COULD send mail to me at has "Edificio Ofisol" in it, which is the name of the building the office is in.                      
        Something that drives me crazy is DOORKNOBS!  They are seldom where you would expect them to be, but are usually either in the middle of the door (like the office door on the left) or somewhere inbetween (like the door to our apartment on the right). This means that when I close the door with what feels like the appropriate amount of force, I end up either not closing the door fully, or slamming it shut way too hard. I still haven't quite got the hang of it. At least the locks are where you would expect them to be!  Although since the lock is never part of the door knob, the door ALWAYS locks when you close it - so I'm always having to double check to make sure I have my keys (and yes, I have forgotten them a few times!) Good thing my comp has a set too.                                          
And that brings me to "small stuff". Sometimes it's cute (I'm trying to  get a picture of the cute little garbage trucks and street cleaners), but sometimes it's a bit inconvienient, like the tiny elevators (modeled by my comp Hermana Chantrill at the right).  If there is more than just a couple people they get quite crowded. Especially considering the fact that antiperspirant is pretty much unavailable here, and even the deodorant leaves much to be desired (I'll leave it at that). And if you have a couch or stove to replace...
Staying in our apartment building, a personal pet peeve is our floor. It's all tile, which is fine (except I've heard it's very cold in winter, esp. since we don't have heat), but for some reason they picked a design with black blotches that is almost impossible to distinguish from dead bugs. So... can you tell where the dead bug is in the picture to the left???  Hint - it's neither of the big black blotches.
And the picture at the right is an example of the wiring here - random wires are strung wherever, and make quite a hodge-podge. I don't always agree with the regulations in the States, but sometimes... Also, they painted the building across the street from us, and it was a bit scary seeing the little wooden platforms they stood on that looked like kid's swings suspended from ropes, and the rigged - up safety equipment (when they used it).

The entrance to my street (with vet sign
pointing to it) with hashed crosswalk.
Last thing - DRIVING. I haven't done much, but one thing that takes getting used to are all the roundabouts. And the fact that people just pop out seemingly at random wherever there is a pedestrian crossing. The Spanish are awesome parkers - the streets are lined with cars almost bumper to bumper - but they pay almost no attention to traffic while walking. There are white hashed crosswalks regularly crossing the street in the middle of the block, which is also awesome, but you have to watch really closely, especially when cars block the view, because people will walk right into the middle of the road without even glancing to see if you noticed them. I'm not that brave - I always wait for either eye contact or at least a bit of a slow down to make sure they noticed me. And the mopeds/motorcycles!  They pass everyone and anyone on whichever side (and sometimes on the sidewalk) and are VERY hard to keep track of. Also if you double park and put on your emergency lights, you are essentially invisible to any police cars that may happen by. Once we had a huge semi do it in front of the office blocking all traffic for a good five minutes. People were not happy with that one, but usually they just go around you, no problem.
Well, that's about all I can think of for now, so I'll leave you with a final Super Moon shot. Enjoy!


  1. Such fun photos. I won't know what to do when I go home and the signs are for streets. I'll just get lost, probably. It will be weird to step outside of the door without grabbing the keys too. Such trauma.

    1. I forgot to mention the perpetually locking doors! I'll have to fix that :) Yes, it will be very strange to actually know what street I'm on! ;)