03 November 2005

It's all in the little things

There are a few things here that make life simpler that I can’t believe haven’t caught on in the States. For those gentle readers that live here already, maybe this will make you realize what marvels surround you.

The bathroom is probably my favorite room o’tricks. First of all, drain IN the floor. How brilliant is that? No standing puddles of water near the shower, and cleaning the floor means dishroom-style water sloshing is the best way to do it. Next, how about those pre-set temperature shower faucets? You set the temperature you like your shower to be with one knob, then just turn the water on and off with the other knob. None of those scary (but awakening) cold blasts in the morning, or leaping out as the water turns scorching hot. The only problem is if you live with someone who doesn’t like the same temperature. You’re on your own for that one.

I also marvel at the efficient heating systems. Maybe this isn’t possible without the massive volume of water roaring through the pipes of Reykjavík, but the heating systems here never clang, bang, or urinate on the floors. Maybe it’s the brilliant Danfoss engineering. You crank those babies up and they really get the job done. I think it’s a large part of why the upcoming descending darkness and windy weather doesn’t frighten me as much as it might. It’s a rare house that isn’t cozy and warm here. Oh, and jólin koma. That’s always good for some cheer.

On to the roads... Granted they seem extremely fond of tearing the roads up here (we have had to drive to work a different way for about 2 weeks while the holes the depth of a man get filled in) but they also get the job done once they do. I am not sure how they do it, but paving does not seem to be restricted to only the hottest, mirage-on-the-road days I am used to experiencing in New England. Maybe the volcanic rock in the pavement makes it easier? Don’t know. Also, how about the traffic lights that go from red to yellow before green? This one might not be so great in the States, but here where most cars are standards, it works well.

Appliances are another incredible category of delights. The washing machines may take two hours but they heat all their own water for precisely-targeted temperatures, and our current one comes with a dizzying array of spin-speed selections, prewashing, and delicate cycles for different types of fabrics. I think I mentioned our dryer already but it also is a marvel of condensing technology. No external hose, no overbaking your clothes- this machine senses when your clothes are dry and stops on its own after extracting the water into an easy-to-empty bottle. These dryers are pretty standard here too. When we went to buy appliances, more than half the available models were this type.

The only problem with all these wonders is the cost. I am intentionally not converting them into dollars in my head because this stuff doesn’t come cheap. My logic is that I don’t have to pay in dollars so I don’t need to know anyway!

Ship sighting: Yesterday there were some foreign, and large fishing ships (one called Polaris- couldn’t find a country so no photo) tied up in the prime spots. Some of the regular residents of the inner harbor were tied up outside breakwater, like the coast guard ship. I guess it’s like sleeping on the couch so the guests can have the bed when guests come stay. Everyone was back to normal today, and the log shows a pretty light day today with only 4 ships coming or going. One of them is this bad boy, whose photo is so nice I had to mention it. The website of its home harbor is pretty neat too, with good eductional ship-sighting information on the difference between the profile of a containership and a roll on-roll off. These are some SERIOUS freight boats!


Anonymous said...

In both Peru and Korea the bathrooms had drains in the middle of the floor. In Korea there was no shower curtain on our hotel shower, nor was there one in our friend's dorm room shower. I guess the drain comes in handy if you're spraying water all over the place. :-)

ECS said...

I've used bathrooms like that in the UK and France... the ones here are all the fun of the floor-drain without the crazy hole-in-the-floor toilets or showers that are just curtains in the corner.