Friday, July 15, 2011

Málaga middle of week 3 of 12, July 15, 2011 Friday

Corrections / Clarifications: A pack of cigarettes is 3.80€, not 8€. Motorized bicis are actually called motos. Caesar is the correct spelling, not Ceasar.

Spirited Drink. Brandy? It is produced in Spain by Casa Osborne (doesn´t sound very Spanish to me), where it is aged in American Oak Casks (botas de roble americano). Whaaa? 8.48€ / liter. Awful strong, 33% alcohol (66 proof?). You´ve seen those old western movies where a cowboy takes a swig, closes his eyes, and slaps the bar 3 or 4 times. It´s like that.

IVA (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido, Value Added Tax) is EU´s version of our sales tax. It can be 4%, 8%, or 18% depending on the product. Each line item on a ¨ticket¨ (TEEkeht, not recibo) shows the item´s price with the IVA already included. The total IVA for each percentage is listed toward the bottom of the receipt. I don´t have the patience to figure out what item gets taxed at what rate. I do know that the fuel-from-hell Veterano got taxed at 18%. Some companies show the total in pesetas as well (e.g., 8,43€ = 1.388 pesetas). America uses periods and commas exactly opposite to the way most other countries do.

Euro paper money (50, 20, 10, and 5) comes in different sizes and colors for each demonination. Coins come in 2€, 1€, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 centimo denominations.

We´re ¨Livin’ On The Edge¨ -- Aerosmith.  Some cash drawers allow coins to be stacked edgewise by denomination. This way a cashier can make change quickly. The 2€ coin´s edge has many tiny short notches and printing; the 1€ coin´s edge has 4 sections, half of each section has many tiny short notches and the other half of each section is smooth. The 50 and 10 centimo coins have wide notches. The 20 coin has (only) 7 equally-spaced notches. The 5 and 1 coins have smooth edges. And, the 2 coin has one endless notch around its edge. Whew! Now, given this information, what is the average IQ of the Design Committee members? (Show your work on a separate sheet of paper) Anyway, this is the European standard.

Actual usage. If you stack some coins within three fingers, you can pull out the coins just by looking at the edges (and sizes, of course, for the 50/10 and 5/1). 3.88€ (using one of each coin) is:
  many tiny short notches and printing (2€)
  4 sections (1€)
  wide notches, large (.50)
  7 equally-spaced notches (.20)
  wide notches, small (.10)
  smooth edges, large (.05)
  one endless notch (.02)
  smooth edges, small (.01)
I´ve got a headache. Anyway, I’m assured that once this system is mastered, it can be used throughout Europe. The Venezuelan lady at the Internet Cafe told me about it and then I started noticing some (but by no means all) people using it. Imagine that you just moved to the U.S. and you have to pay for something. All of our bills are the same size and color. And, we´ve got that dreaded quarter coin. LOL  How do YOU do it? You just do, right?

Mitch and Jerry, from California, arrived in Málaga capital. They followed my blog and I followed theirs as we were all trying to get info on how to retire here. They did manage to get a visa though, through the Spanish Consulate in L.A.. Amazingly, their short-term apartment is in the building right next to mine. The odds of that have got to be astronomical. I was to end up in Manilva; they were moving to Sevilla; and here we are, neighbors, in Málaga capital, Málaga province – at least for one day.

We all went to a restaurant that they knew from their exploratory trip here. Great food, and live flamenco singers and dancers. Several guiris (foreigners) and gringos (American foreigners) got taken on stage. I was terrible. LOL   The next day, Mitch and Jerry left for Sevilla by Renfe (train). They intend to stay in Spain permanently, as Spain recognizes their rights as a married couple at the national level (the US does not).

¨´cos I’ve come from Alabama (Texas, actually) Wid a banjo on my knee(eh?)¨ -- Stephen Foster´s ¨Oh! Susanna¨. It´s Thursday and my NIE (NEEeh) should be ready for pickup at the Comisaría de Policías. (They don´t actually comiserate with you; it´s the Police Commisioner´s building) It is here! And, it still shows me living in Manilva. They can´t take that away from me – even though I’ve asked them to. I´ll have to visit Manilva someday. ¨I´ve got a mansion, ´forget the price. Ain´t never been there, they tell me it’s nice¨ -- The Eagles´ ¨Life´s Been Good¨.

And on the walk back these art objects didn’t hide as well as before.

I started considering renting a bike. There a place on Calle Victoria (beep, beep, zoom) that rents bicycles for 10€ a day. That´s $15! Used bikes can be found on for 120€. REGARDLESS, I think I would be afraid to ride one around here. Everybody drives like a bunch of foreigners. No, wait, I´m the foreigner. Anyway, I´m going to buy a monthly bus pass soon (unlimited use for around 35€).  In February 2011, a liter of gasoline sold for 1.33€ here. 1 Euro per liter = 5.35484351 U.S. dollars per US gallon. 1.33€ / liter =  $7.12 / gallon. Holy dinosaur droppings! In the US, it´s just under $4 / gallon now.


  1. Thanks for the plug, Ron! We had a great night out with you. And you were a lot better at flamenco than you'd like to admit. We look forward to seeing you in Sevilla. We can go to serious flamenco here where they don't drag imitators up to perform.

  2. Thanks, Mitch and Jerry. I look forward to touring Sevilla before I leave.