After the anecdotic encounter I meet up with one of my fellow astrophysic grad student in the physic’s kitechennet and we had a very interesting talk. He knew French and English so it definitively helped getting the ball rolling. Anyway we talked a little about everything but mostly about Spain and how it got where it is and maybe what’s in store for the future there. First off he started by explaining the very very few Spanish have a second language, must less a third, it as something to do with the post World War II isolation and from having too many educational reform in too few years. Apparently the older Spanish know French but they do not know English something to do with the proximity to France and the league of nation whose official language was French. Now in recent year young Spanish have decided to take up English but… no one can teach them! The teachers know French but not English and those that do teach English are learning at the same time as their student. Not a good idea.
I also learned that the Spanish where very wasteful in term of energy and water, well energy I can understand since they have plenty of it (and with lots of sun their sun power industry is growing well). But water is more of a puzzle, water is kinda rare in Spain, since it as very few above ground lakes and river. But they are apparently very wasteful of it.. and here I was in my room trying to conserve it as much as possible. Oh well shows you what I know. Anyway back to the energy waste, Spanish people like to live in an American way (not because of love of the americain but they apparently have similar mentality) and they like the A/C unit. Now running an A/C full blast is a waste of power anywhere but in country where there is no isolations in wall it is a double waste. Most of the energy you’re spending end up wasted by the heat transfer from outside.
We also talked about something I found very interesting the similarity between how Spain is governed and how Canada is governed. Both use a model where the central power power’s is deniable in many areas by the provincial power. With the same result we see in Canada. Very interesting to see such similarity in two places that are very different.