Expats in Spain, i.e. Valencia - "Open here"

chrysolite By chrysolite, 12th Apr 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Spain>Valencia & Murcia

Things just are different in Spain. Spain is not Europe, it only looks like it. Spain has got the Euro, ok. Spain wants to be Europe if there is a subsidy to claim, but other than that they are not even Spanish here. They are "Valenciano" or "Catalan" etc. with their "special" language and customs to suit their lifestyle. And sometimes those differences are funny or annoying or we simply don't understand it.

Learning Spanish = "Castellano"

I mean, Spain is a lovely country otherwise we wouldn't be here. Most expats quickly learn the most important words like "cafe con leche" or "una cerveza, por favor" or "pan y vino". They say it's so difficult to learn Spanish, but funnily enough, if one puts enough emotion like anger for example behind a certain word, then all of a sudden they can remember and pronounce the word correctly with perfect Spanish accent.

"Abre facil"

One of these words or better combination of words is "abre facil". You find that on almost every packet in any supermarket. Just look at one of the corners of the packet, there it is! A triangle of plastic that is supposed to lift off and just beneath it, often in gold (yes, gold!) lettering you find "abre facil" printed which means something like "easy to open". In England it just says on the packet "open here", no promises!!!

Easy to open??? Good Lord! Just try and buy packaged cheese, salami, bacon or smoked mackarels or some cream or cottage cheese, a yoghurt, a packet of spices, orange or apple juice cartons, really almost anything packaged. And then picture the scene:

You are hungry and you've decided to make some cheesy toast. Packaged bread doesn't have "abre facil" printed on it, so you know that you have to tear open the plastic with all your strength. This rather exaggerated force sends a few slices of bread flying, but then you knew that would happen and the dog would probably either eat those slices or at least play with them. Then you stick a couple of the remaining slices into the toaster. Meanwhile you fumble a bit with the edge of the cheese packet, just to see where exactly "abre facil" is printed and how easy it might be to peel off the edge without fingernails. And you are not in the very least surprised that it just won't open. Happened hundreds of times before, so why get bothered. You are prepared anyway.

The kitchen toolbox

On a little side table you have handy at all times: A small nail file, an axe, a pair of scissors, a Stanley knife, a metal skewer and a chainsaw. The latter you only need for ready cooked pork knuckles which come in special packaging with no other means to open it.

By now the toast is not only done, but cold again, but you persevere. First you get the nail file to somehow lift the edge of "abre facil" so you can grip it and with some considerable force open it. It doesn't, but the cheese packet was a bit wet, so it slips out of your hand and goes flying into the corner. You after it to grab it before the dog does. Blood pressuree and adrenaline levels are already rising just the slightest bit, but you've decided on cheesy toast and cheesy toast you will have.

From experience you know that the axe won't work on the cheese packet, so you now get the Stanley knife and skilfully operate on the plastic lid, gently you cut all 4 sides and the lid comes off beautifully. Of course, you now have to seperate the sheets of paper from the cheese slices plus you have to eat ALL the cheese, because you can't close the lid of the packet anymore. There you go, cold toast with too much cheese - brilliant.

"Abre facil" on the tetra pack

You know it'll cost you a new table cloth, but "vino" is what you want and "vino" is what you will have. Out comes the beautiful wine glass and the tetra pack of red wine (45 cents per litre). That's worth a little effort at that price! You see the little white plastic opening device and pull it open. The manufacturers don't actually give instructions how to open these tetra packs! So you lift this plastic cover and then carefully try to pull off the aluminium strip which is always too short to grip!

Ever so gently you start pouring the wine into the glass and out of sheer vengance, this very liquid "ignites" its inbuilt jet and rushes forward, passed the glass and onto the table cloth. You know your wife will not be angry because it happened to her as well and you console yourself with the thought that she knows to operate the washing machine.

The plead

One could really go on and on about the adventures, annoyances and "success" stories with "abre facil", but all I want is plead. Plead with the manufacturers to not make life so difficult! Give us back the good old egg carton too instead of shrink wrapping a tray of eggs with soft plastic lid so tight that one needs a tool box to get it open and in the process always loses at least three eggs. Give us back "normal" lids, please! Anything "normal" that we are used to and can get open quickly without the use of power tools! And I certainly don't want to end my life starving to death in front of a packet of food that I can't open!


Video: "Britsh integration into Spanish culture" ;)

Thanks for calling in!


Abre Facil, Drink, Easy To Open, Expats, Food, Lifestyle, Open Here, Spain

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author avatar chrysolite
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author avatar Rose*
8th Dec 2013 (#)

I loved reading this! I wonder why the wine comes in tetra packs instead of a screw-top plastic bottle?

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author avatar chrysolite
8th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks, Rose, for your comment! I have no idea why they put wine into tetra packs. Maybe it would get contaminated with the plastic like everything else you put into plastic containers. We still believe in barrels and glass bottles ... :)

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