Pros and Cons of Spain

     Our visit turned up some delightful Spanish concepts–ones I think we would do well to adopt here in the U.S.

1.  They do not waste.

  •      After we found the car we hid underground in Spain (see first Spanish blog), I couldn’t get the lights to turn on in my room. With no knowledge of the hotel extension and the fact that my Spanish stunk almost as bad as the clerk’s English, I returned to the desk. It turns out, in order to turn on the lights and TV, the guest must insert her card into a slot against the wall near the door. It turns on the lights. When you leave and remove the card, lights stay on for about 30 seconds, then automatically go off.
  • The hallway lights are motioned censored, so they’re not on all the time–only when someone needs them.
  • They use ceramic cups rather than the American paper cups that fill our trash cans.

2. With that last thought in mind–they take their time.

    A photo of a cup of coffee.Image via Wikipedia

  • I ordered a coffee at an outdoor kiosk. It came in a ceramic cup. I sat, and drank it before I wandered about the attraction.
  • At roadside stops, the coffee isn’t to go. We sit, relax, enjoy and then travel.
  • Meals out take a long time. You enjoy conversation and drinks and each stage of the meal.

3.  Obesity is rare–or at least to my eyes.

  • Snacks come in small quantities. (Snack sized containers).
  • People don’t walk around with their “sippy cups” of soda or coffee or whatever.
  • People walk places.

4.  They are energy efficient.

  • Windmills dot the landscape.
  • There are fields of solar panels.
  • The railways are cheap, reliable, fast and ubiquitous.
  • Their cars are fuel efficient.

5.  The people are friendly and trusting.

  • One man left his shop unattended to help us find our way.
  • The man from wom we rented our apartment needed a small bit of coaxial cable. The sales clerk gave him the entire role and said, take what you need, bring the rest back and I’ll charge you.
  • In one store, we browsed about five minutes when another customer came in. It turns out, she was the clerk who apparently ran an errand.

6.  The countryside is preserved and the little guy can make a living.

  • The villages nestled together. When the town ended–the countryside began. I saw little urban sprawl.
  • No mega stores–Walmarts or Home Depots or Best Buys stole all the industry. Mom and Pop grocers thrived along with the Mas Y Mas chains. You could shop in dozens of privately owned stores to find your needs. Few malls exist.

Spain, of course, has its flaws. But I learned to slow down, to savor life and enjoy. I would love to return to a simpler life.

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