April 2, 2013 by ebostick1212
Allow me to introduce you to one of the most frustrating household appliances I have ever encountered…and no, it isn’t that weird motorized knife someone regifted me for a Secret Santa exchange a few years back. It is this, the butane container, or what the Spaniards refer to as ‘butano‘.
Here in Spain, especially in apartment buildings, most appliances run off of butano or butane. The water is heated by it, and it fuels the stove and ovens. Still….you notice how small that container is? Well, with all the butano needs in a household, you can be assured it doesn’t last long. What does one do when the bottle is empty? Well, they could trek to a gas station, trade it in for a new, heavy bottle, and lug it home. That doesn’t really appeal, so usually what I do is wait around for the butanero, or butano man. This guy comes to every street, clangs an empty bottle against the rails of his truck and shouts ‘butanooooooooooooooo, butanooooooooooo!’. This is when you have to stop whatever you are doing and catch his eye, so he can bring you one.
Confession: For the first few weeks I was here, I had no idea what the butanero was shouting, and I thought it was some sort of odd, daily prayer ritual performed by a neighbor…go ahead, laugh.
Invariably, the butano WILL run out on a day when the butanero does not come by. This, by all means is the butano’s downfall. While it is portable, easy to use, and cheap…it also doesn’t last. It seems to know when you will need it most, and thats when it goes kaput. What do you do then? Well, you can do something that I have become very skilled at doing, which is warming bowls of water in the microwave, and washing your hair in the sink. I can understand where Spain was going with the idea of butano bottles…I mean, I never need to argue with the landlady about gas bills, but still, I have washed my hair with cold water too many times to appreciate butano’s good attributes, anymore.