Monday, September 14, 2009

First differences I noticed

between Madrid and the US*:
  • There are no screens on any of the windows here. They apparently do not mind bugs flying in, or whatever else would like to venture through the openings.
  • No drinking fountains! You also have to pay for water at a majority of the restaurants, which I was quite bummed to find out when I was charged at a restaurant in Segovia.
  • Milk comes in "bricks" (rectangular boxes) and is not refrigerated until after it's opened and used.
  • You can order a beer at McDonald's
  • There aren't dryers here for doing laundry... everyone hangs it up on clotheslines to dry.
  • The sidewalks aren't made with cement slobs like ours - here they're all brick/stone, giving the city a more historic, towny feel.
  • No peanut butter here!
  • The climate is a lot drier in Madrid
  • Everyone smokes (I decided to write my 6 pg. ethnography for our grammar class on the differences between smoking in the US and Spain - I'm going to research some history, government involvement, health statistics, etc)
  • People bag their own food at grocery stores.
  • Light switches for the bathrooms are located just outside of the bathroom on a nearby wall. Learned this when I was searching and searching for the switch at our restaurant in Segovia. Though, the light switches to our private bathrooms in our dorm rooms were also outside of the bathroom... I just never really noticed the difference.
  • Speaking of bathrooms... let's talk about toilets! They use a lot less water, as there is only a little bit of water down in the bottom of the toilet to start with. To flush, there will either be a button to push, or a lever to pull up.
  • Grades are not private here like they are in the US. Grades are posted outside of classrooms, where students can check it to see their grade - as well as everyone else's.
  • There aren't classes on Wednesday. I don't know if this is the case for elementary/secondary schools and such, but it is of the university. And it's amazing! A week is SO do-able in two-day increments. Tuesdays feel like Fridays... Wednesdays like Sundays... Then when Thursday feels like a Monday again, you only have one day until Friday!
  • They're also big on recycling here, thumbs up. I just went to the grocery store, and my roommate handed me two plastic bags on my way out the door. I thought he was just reusing them to reuse them, which is great of course. When I got to the checkout line at this grocery store, I saw that the plastic bags were hanging up before the check out, because you have to buy the bags. I think they were three cents a piece. So I got one, because I ended up needing 3 bags. But, that's smart.
  • And finally, speaking of grocery stores... another thumbs up for Madrid is that the baskets at grocery stores have wheels and retractable handles, just like luggage w/ wheels. Very handy.
*Some of these are probably repeats from earlier posts, but I wanted to compile them all to one location.

1 comment:

  1. I think most of these things are true for most of Europe. Water (fountains), smoking, street signs on buildings, pavement, grocery shopping, toilets. Their grocery carts are cool.... all four wheels can move in all directions (instead of just the front two). Neat beans.