A big day today. Sarah has arrived in Madrid and has a few hours in the airport lounge before her flight to Valencia. I receive a message from her. She can’t get WhatsApp on the airport wifi. Neither could I when I was there. The free airport wifi is not that good. Go into browser though and a free sign-up option does the trick.
Flights are on time so Fi and I set out for Valencia airport. After a little wait Sarah appears from the gate and now our adventure in Spain can begin.
We go to the Bull & Bear in the evening for the weekly quiz, much in the hope to keep Sarah awake. This week there are 3 more teams and it is louder than ever. It means the evening extends out, but it may have helped Sarah stay awake and adjust to Spanish time.
We borrow Dave & Fi’s car and go to Bankinter. Its too difficult, perhaps not possible to add my name to the bank account so I am an additional signatory instead. Afterwards we meet with our legal advisor Emma for a catchup and some advice. She is great … telling us what we need to hear in about 2 minutes and validates our strategy. Emma also has a contact for health insurance that we should speak to.
Next on the list is a Spanish SIM card and number for Sarah. Off to Blu in the Port Town and a young English lady is training a young Spanish guy on how to set up Sarahs account. We add it to mine so it is a fairly straightforward transaction.
Sarah is still on her training diet so we go to Consum for a few essentials – Colemans English Mustard and Cava!
Another big day … we collect the car from Valgauto Motor in Denia. I sign several documents, Inma takes a copy of my insurance and off she goes to get the car. Sarah is really pleased with my choice and she drives back home to Javea. A major tick on the list. There is only a slight drizzle although heavier rain was forecast so all is well.
On my walk this morning I have another thought. Dangerous I know. Unlike the UK or Australia stepping onto a Zebra crossing is not a sign that all cars in both directions come to an immediate halt to let you cross. I can be almost 3 steps into the crossing and a car wiil pass from the far side. What does Google tell me? Well, the Black and White Zebra crossing is pretty much as you would expect and vehicles should stop and let you cross. The other colours are actually Blue & White and Red & White, some painted on road humps. In fact these coloured Zebra markings are not crossings at all, but act as warnings to vehicles in order to “calm” traffic in busy areas such as schools or high street areas.
I return from my walk, Sarah from the gym and we decide to have breakfast outside. Dave and Fi are at Spanish lessons in the Old Town. This week the house next door has been bustling with activity with workmen coming and going, hovering around the property working on the garden and the pool. The reason is that the owners are taking residence and it looks like they arrived yesterday for the season. I overhear London accents and more activity than usual. This morning the newly arrived neighbour is busying in the garden talking to her minions when I see her come through the bushes to the dividing wall. She is just taller than the fence and we are the other side of the length of the pool. All I can see is a small white face with a blonde bob wearing sunglasses. She shouts Hola, waving, and I, not knowing her from a bar of soap, reply Hola, how are you? Sarah turns and says Hola. A few pleasantries are exchanged and she says we must catch up walking away. Betty … her name … has no idea that we are not Dave and Fi! We chuckle coz I am so naughty teasing people. I tell Dave when he returns from his lesson that he has just invited the neighbours and all their family around for dinner next week.
First stop today is Golden Leaves International to get a quote for the health insurance. Victoria talks us through an option with Salus and it looks pretty good. I ask her how long she has been in Spain. 15 years … and she doesn’t speak Spanish. I am amazed, but I suspect she means she doesn’t speak it often. She moved to Benidorm from the UK and never needed to speak it there and of course in her work speaks only with expats. It is interesting that you can get a key job without the native language.
We do a bit of shopping, first at Aldi and then at Consum. Comparing prices is a bit of fun and also very interesting. One of the features of living in Spain is the lower cost of living. Groceries are basically at least half the price of Australia where Woolworths and Coles have the monolpoly with Aldi putting on pressure. There are some things that we can’t get of course, but don’t miss and plenty of things that are new. French cheese is ridiculously cheaper than Oz as you would expect. Meat is equally less expensive and as I have mentioned before, basic table wine is the same price as water in Oz.
At Consum we invest in a big shopping bag as all the supermarkets charge for carrier bags. Most local people have their own so we join the gang. We unpack the shopping at home and I think it’s a good idea to leave the bag in the car so we don’t forget it next time. I also take my freebie Sunshade. While I’m sitting in the car I play with the TomTom as someone has left it in Dutch … and I soon realise that it is actually “Double Dutch” and that it is the perfect little job for the technical brains of the family and throw this task over the fence to Sarah.
When Dave and I were at Javea Auto Sales Roy mentioned that the Spaniards don’t clean up their cars for sale. Houses are fairly much the same. They are for living in as cars are a means to get from A to B. So although Valgauto Motor kindly washed the car before delivery, they didn’t do anything else. I thought I would check for the compulsory high visibility vests and triangles. Opening the rear door the carpet was quite dirty and when I lifted the luggage floor to check … well it was bad. Old supermarket receipts and crap with enough grass and dirt to grow potato’s. Funny, because when we collected the car it gleamed like a diamond, they just didn’t do that little bit extra.
Until next time 🌏