One thing I didn't realize I took for granted in the States was hot water. It would come out of the shower. It would come out of the sink when I washed my face in the morning. It would be easily accessible for washing dishes. When I got here, that all changed. We have to turn on the hot water here, and turn it off when we're done, with a machine called a Calefont.
The Calefont chills in the kitchen. Every time you want hot water (to take a shower, mostly) you go into the kitchen and light it. Yep, light it. With matches. That's probably the reason I like it so much--if I shower every day (which I usually do), I get to light a match every day too, and those of you that know me well know that I enjoy lighting matches (in a controlled environment of course).
So here's the steps to light our Calefont:
1. Turn yellow knob on bottom pipe
2. Turn grey knob on the Calefont to "encender" (to light) and push it in
3. Light match
4. Stick match into hole in the Calefont until the gas catches fire
5. Wait 15 seconds with grey knob pushed in (in reality, you only need to wait seven or eight seconds)
6. Turn grey knob to "Maximo"
7. Go take your shower/ use hot water!
When you're done:
1. Turn grey knob back to "apogado" (off)
2. Turn yellow knob back to original position
3. Go do other exciting Chilean things
I mean, this is obviously a hassle sometimes too. It's not worth it to light the Calefont to wash your hands/wash your face in the morning, so I do that with cold water, which probably will get pretty brutal as the weather cools down. But I think it's really cool. I don't know how it works exactly in the US but I assume that turning on the hot water automatically turns on the hot water heater which is why it takes a couple seconds for the water to heat up.
The other cool thing is that we keep all the gas on site! I really hope i get to see a gas delivery because the barrels (?) of gas are enormous.
That's all for now: I'm going to a rodeo this afternoon (as a cultural experience) so I'll probably blog about that sometime, if my camera battery lasts long enough. No one wants to read a blog without pictures.
I hope everyone is still alive. I hear it snowed yesterday. That stinks :)