Thursday, July 29, 2010

Breath of Fresh Air

Air. Glorious air. Glorious cold air.

Who, in their right mind, lives in a house without air conditioning in a city where it frequently hits 100º in the summer? Well, we do. Scratch that. We did. The icey breath of salvation finally reached our apartment this week. Or at least half of it…

You’d think that with the high summer temps in Madrid everyone would have air condition. Otherwise you simply melt. But the truth of the matter is that air conditioning is definitely not a foregone conclusion in Madrid apartments and in fact, in probably 90% of the Madrid apartments, AC is not really even needed but for a few weeks out of each year. The northern exposure for half the city, the insulating factor of other apartments above and on either side of you and the cooler night temps mean that it’s not all that unbearable to live in Madrid, in the summer, without AC.

What IS unbearable is living in an 8th floor attic apartment with a big terrace and larger-than-average interior patios on each side. That makes for no “neighbor insulation” on 2.5 sides of the apartment and no cover from the direct sun hitting the roof. In other words, our apartment gets hot in the summer. Despite that, we actually managed to survive in a solid state for over a year. But this summer is a hot one. Temps are high – pushing past the 100º mark on multiple occasions so far – and night temps are not dropping as they should. So we begged our landlord to put in AC. We pleaded with him. We threatened to leave permanent sweat stains on his nice hard-wood floors. But he was a born negotiator and was un-phased by our plight.

Eventually we agreed to pay a portion of the installation. Two days ago we got half of the installation in – our bedroom is now a nice cool sanctuary and our TV watching has dropped dramatically. If they don’t come to install the living room unit soon I expect Nacho will be dragging our TV into the bedroom by the weekend. Would we sell our souls for air conditioning? Probably not. But we’d sell just about anything else!

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