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Piggish Americans adjusting to scarce resources

We are in Florence, Italy now, preparing for our bicycle trip through Tuscany which begins tomorrow morning. It has been years since I have been out of the country, except to the Bahamas where I was on my own boat, so I have forgotten how scarce resources are and how shocking it is for spoiled Americans to deal with.

For example, although we are in a very nice Westin Hotel, we couldn’t figure our how to have electricity in the room when we checked in yesterday. Turns out our room key card must be inserted into a slot inside the door to have any power at all in the room. This is not a problem while you are in the room or overnight, but if you have multiple electronic devices to recharge, you can’t leave the room with both keys and continue to charge. And there are other little things like water-saving devices, etc., none of which are bothersome.

But wifi? Somehow it appears to be a very scarce and rationed commodity over here. While we are getting it free in the room as members of some Starwood Hotel club, the normal charge is 15 Euros for each 24 hours. And further, no more than three devices can use it per room, meaning that two phones and two tablets cannot be logged on. This is not a restriction on simultneaous use, but it means once three devices have been looged on at all, there can be no more, even if everything else is disconnected.

We all understand that Americans are arrogant and wasteful, but it is certainly difficult to adjust to scarcity once you have lived otherwise, as we will no-doubt see as our California friends learn to conserve water.

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