There are some changes you'll need to get used to in terms
of writing numbers which are not necessarily conversions.
Much of this change is fairly obvious, but some of it can
be confusing when seeing it for the first time:
- Again, temperature here is in ° Celsius
- Were you in the military? If so you'll have no trouble
understanding the time. AM and PM don't exist here, and
it shouldn't be too much of a problem to learn that 20:00
- The decimal point is used for thousands instead of the
comma. i.e.: a length of 1,000 meters becomes 1.000 meters.
- The comma is used instead of
the decimal point, for things like for cents, or centimos, i.e.: $1.50 becomes 1,50€ (if
only the exchange rate were that good now).
- Speed is in kilometers per hour (kph) and distance in
kilometers (km) or meters.
- Weight is in kilograms (kg) or grams (grs).
- Prices are sometimes listed in Pesetas (ptas.) along
with the Euros (€).
The topics below are starters for conversions and naming
conventions so you can get an idea of what is what. For
converting anything to anything I found a page, Online
Conversion, which is helpful and very user friendly.
If you've already visited some of my other sections you'll
see addresses where the numbers and abbreviations may not
be familiar. Below is a quick list of common abbreviations
which take away some of the mystery.
||Loop (city hwy)
|Edif. or Ed.
||no street number
|1°, 2°, etc.
||primera planta, segunda planta
||1st floor, 2nd floor, etc.
||ground or street level
||Module - office group
||Número de Identificacion
||Passport or DL Number
In general this is how a full address is written:
<type of street (sometimes not included)> <street
name>, <street and or apt. number> <location>
Example: c/ Bustos Tavera, 15 - 1° Izq. means
Bustos Tavera Street number 15, first floor on left side. Often you will see it without the "c/", so the street appears simply as "Bustos Tavera"
The best place to start for conversions is the temperature.
Whether you want to know how hot it is outside or what temperature
to set your oven when using a recipe, this chart below should
come in handy. A quick side note when thinking about using
your oven: you may not have one! Many Spanish kitchens do not have ovens, although
they are becoming more and more common now. If you want to know why, try turning up the oven on a hot summer day and see how comfortable your house is...
The second most common conversion need might be weight
of produce, meat, or yourself:
When ordering at the deli, fish or meat counter you might
need to know the info below. For many weights below a kilo will
be asked for in fractions, i.e.: tres-cuartos (3/4)
de kilo, medio (1/2) kilo or cuarto (1/4)
kilo. It is also very common to order by grams, or gramos. Often when I order any kind of deli meats
as in ham, turkey, chorizo, etc., I will indicate the number
of grams: cien (100) gramos, (200) doscientos
gramos, etc. So the math is easy, it's just saying
it correctly that may present a problem.
There are speed limits in Spain even if many happily ignore
them in the city and on the highways. So just how fast will
they let you go? Thanks to those 10K races and the 1500
meter runs many of you probably have a good idea of the
kilometers to miles ratio. Here are some typical speed limits, and their approximate
equivalents in miles-per-hour,
if you choose to drive:
Now for distance. How far do you need to walk when they
say it's about 100 meters down the street? Or like my recent
problem, what size sheets should I buy in the U.S. for my
bed I just purchased in Spain? If you are an American football
fan you likely know that there are approximately 3 feet
to a yard, and a yard is about a meter. Below are some basic
|| 1.6 km
PS: A Queen bed is 150 cm wide by 200 cm (2 meters) long...
If you plan to rent or buy an apartment, the size of it
or various rooms will likely be listed in square meters.
You may be used to square feet when coming from the U.S.
Some helpful conversions for area:
There is more information on exchange rates and currency
in the Money section. I mention
currency conversion in this section because it's good to
know how to convert pesetas to euros, much more so than
euros to pesetas. That's because prices of many items are
often listed in pesetas, or the first price out of a shopkeeper's
or estate agent's mouth may be in pesetas. The need to convert comes up most
often when talking with Spaniards,
especially items like houses, cars, salaries and other larger
ticket goods. Switching from one currency to another doesn't
mean the mentality of the peseta has changed as well. When
you have earned, saved and purchased all of your life in
one currency it will take more than a few years to erase
it from your monetary thoughts. Keep in mind the two conversions
below so you will know what everyone is talking about!