The Golden Snail

One of our favourite buildings is in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The building is magnificent. I would be surprised if there was anything else like it in the world. We like the idea that the nicest buildings in the world are unique, regardless of their size. Like trees and humans, no two are alike.

Can you guess the name of the building? I’ll give you a hint: it’s a mollusc. Give up? It’s called the Golden Snail. Continue reading

Save our Transparent Gold!

Source : iStockPhoto

More and more people quiver in frustration as they impatiently watch water pour from the faucet, waiting for it to become hot enough. Many overseas countries don’t have this problem.

During our trips abroad to Bosnia Herzegovina, Austria, Egypt or elsewhere, we noticed the small water heaters placed in strategic locations.

For example, in our small apartment in Sarajevo, the one in the kitchen sat above the sink. All we had to do was turn it on a few minutes before we washed the dishes. The water stayed hot enough to wash our hands for hours.

The little tank in the bathroom was always on. Perched in a corner above the bath, it was also used for the sink just beside it. If I remember correctly, the mini front-end washing machine was not connected to the hot water.
In Quebec, the water heater is central and is hidden in a cubbyhole. We waste litres of water every morning. The time it takes for hot water to go through metres and metres of pipes in the plumbing until it reaches the bathroom or kitchen sink. Imagine the waste from water heaters in the basements of two-storey homes!
We were sick of wasting our transparent gold, so we started looking for small water heaters. Hydro-Québec didn’t have anything. However, we were in for a surprise when we looked on the websites of a number of water heaters (see links below). Continue reading

Less Weight on the Shoulders

Given the record debt of Canadian households, BMO Bank of Montreal suggests that owners opt for a mortgage loan with a 25-year amortization period.
“The shorter your mortgage, the less interest charges you’ll pay in the end. By choosing a 25-year amortization period, you free yourself from your mortgage quicker, and you can start to save more for your long-term objectives, such as financing your retirement,” the financial institution explains. Continue reading