Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Aparment Complex "Billy"

The week before last was a bit messy. On Wednesday I woke up from a loud crash, and realized that about 20 square foot (2 square meters) of my ceiling had just collapsed. What the f*ck?

Housing in my area is expensive. As I might have mentioned, houses cost about the same as they do at home, but the prices are in dollars instead of SEK.
California, not to mention Palo Alto, is insane. My one room apartment is $1100 a month to rent. But it's not the houses themselves that cost money. Construction materials are more expensive, but often of lower quality and construction labor is cheap.

The standards are somewhat set by climate. It's always above freezing and doesn't rain for about 6 months out of the year. Historically the price of energy has been very low. So instead of building well-insulated houses people have been cranking up their heaters. The peak of energy consumption however, is reached during the summer when all the air conditioners pump heat out of the buildings. Energy is becoming expensive though, and building codes are changing to accommodate, but the quality of most buildings compared, at least to Swedish standards, will have to be described as crappy. I was about to compare them to buying a whole house at IKEA, the same fragile particle board material that most of the stuff from IKEA is made of, and assemble it with discount tools from your local DIY construction warehouse. But then I might be discrediting IKEA too much. Much of the stuff they make is sufficent quality for many purposes.

Anyway. I got a weeks worth free rent and a new unit in the same building. I also took the opportunity of partying and sleeping over at friends during the few days I couldn't occupy the old apartment.


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