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Time to move to Spain

Medically retired at short notice our plans to move to Spain are brought forward by a few years. With little time to spare, this is our story.

In perspective - life in spain
19 November 2015 @ 22:01

In perspective - Life in Spain

If you have kept up with my blog over the last couple of months you will probably realise that I'm writing a few weeks behind. I've kept my own diary of our new life here and am slowly but surely bringing it up to date. We are now up to the end of August into early September. However as I write this week, I write in the aftermath of the tragic events that have unfolded in Paris last Friday. Like everybody else, my thoughts are with those affected by the events in France - The world is undoubtably a very unstable place for a lot of people at the moment. 

One of the recurring news stories that has come out of the bombings and shootings in Paris is that of immigration. As it stands I have decided to live in a country different to the one I was born in which is in common with millions of people worldwide, which makes me an immigrant. I continue my blog as before but remain forever grateful that I have this opportunity to do what I'm doing in this wonderful country. 

Having received our belongings we continue to enjoy our new life in Spain. We still rely on public transport, namely buses which are cheap, pretty reliable but we find it difficult to decipher their routes. They seem to travel in a loop which can sometimes means on a return journey, you cannot always get,off at the same place you get on. One event in particular stands out and was in fact pretty scary. Sue was out late one night at one of the urbanisations and had to get the last bus home. This bus usually stops short of where you get it from on the journey out, but it stops at the harbour so the walk home is along the front where it's very busy. As she was sitting on the bus it suddenly went off the usual route and as it was sometime around midnight, difficult to see any landmarks. As she was sitting behind the driver, he could not see her. Sue became concerned and approached the driver who nearly jumped out of his seat! In the resultant panic, Sue had to get off the bus into a place she didn't know, her phone had run out of credit and it was after midnight. Luckily she was near a garage and was able to hail a taxi. She managed to get home but it made us both realise the fine line between possible danger and safety when you don't fully know your surroundings. 

What do you do when you haven't got British TV or Internet? Talk to each other? What an unusual concept, but we do, not that we've ever had a problem in that direction anyway. I start to play my guitar. I took lessons many years ago and became ok but like others before me, as soon as I got to 'F' I became disillusioned and it drifted off. I'm trying again so hopefully it will stick this time. We take up the local customs of dominoes and cards. To be honest, I got a bit bored with these yet every day, scores of spaniards take to the streets to play those games. I play my music a lot more. My iPod has become more of a friend however iTunes has taken upon itself to rearrange my music library and duplicate and triplicate my music for no reason whatsoever. What I've found is that when we are on the balcony late at night listening to music my taste suffers and I start to listen to guilty pleasures more. There's only so much Liverpool Express and David Soul you can listen to however. It does go dark about 10pm and there's always plenty of people in the sea as it goes dark but Sue won't swim in the dark, you can't see what's coming for you apparently! 

Torrevieja - people swimming at 10pm

People on the beach at 10pm, probably playing cards! 

One night we go to see an AC/DC tribute band at Munroes in Torrevieja. It's the first time we've been in there and it's a heavy rock bar with a clientele to match. We go for Bacardi and Coke and are handed a pint! Yes, a pint of Bacardi and Coke! Five euros has rarely been better spent! It's an event in itself as the band sing all the songs in Spanish except for the chorus line. It's a strange mix:

El ir abajo (goin down)
Tiempo del partido (party time)
Mis amigos van a estar alli tambien... (My friends are gonna be there too)
I'm on the highway to hell! (I'm in the highway to hell! ) 

As tribute bands go, let's just say I'm glad we had the bacardis. On the poster outside, future tribute bands include Tina turner, Muse and Ramones. We mentally add this venue to our list as one of the things we have found out about our part of Torrevieja is that there is precious little live entertainment. The bars are all for eating and drinking in with tv showing Spanish football at some. There's a lovely theatre and some street entertainers but not much else near to the coastline.

We have to go to one of the urbanisations on the edge of town for some entertainment. St James' gate is an Irish pub on la Torretas ii. It's about 30 minutes walk from where we are on the coast. Sunday night offers karaoke outside. I'm tempted but for now, Spain can wait for my versions of 'I fought the law' and 'cigarettes & alcohol). Inside offers Stevie Spit, a drag artist with an acid tongue. It's standard drag fare, occasionally going back into some 70s style humour, but it is entertaining and funny. Stevie picks on the audience and people of a nervous disposition should stay away from the stage. The act is on for well over two hours with a break in between. That coupled with cheap drinks and a friendly crowd makes for as good night. 

We end this week by attempting to open a Spanish bank account. We want to make this as painless as possible so we try Santander, who we are familiar with. There is one member of staff apparently allocated to deal with English speaking people. Some other staff speak some English bit we wait for the safe option. After what seems like an age, but is probably only about an hour, we meet Angela. She is very helpful and advises us we need to get authorisation from head office for us to be accepted. We can't open any of the higher interest or specialist accounts like the 1,2,3 account, just your average normal account as we are not resident in Spain. The banks are open from 9am - 2pm. We are asked to come back in an hour, just before closing. We return but no answer from head office, an appointment is made for us the next morning. Hurrah, we have an account, a bank book like we all had years ago and another link to Spain. 

One strange anomaly exists however. When we came to Spain we changed our address with all our banks as they insisted - makes sense! We open this bank account, give our Spanish address and they asked for our UK address. Luckily we still have one, so we give it. What we didn't know was that they send all our correspondence to the UK address while our UK banks send all our correspondence to Spain work that one out! Interestingly we are informed by a local that we should not trust Spanish banks as they are very unpredictable. One local we spoke to, who lived in England for a period of time still uses his English bank account more than his Spanish one! No doubt someone will have some advice for us on reading this. It all adds to the experience. 

Dad and sister duly arrive for a two week visit, just in time to go to the pub...

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marcbernard said:
20 November 2015 @ 23:00

Hi Welcome to Spain
It sounds as if it is your intention, certainly, to be here for a while, probably exceeding the 183 days. In that case why don't you declare yourself resident and get the advantage of a resident bank account, together with the satisfaction of being such? Of course you my thing of being under the radar, but this does not give peace of mind. Being acknowledged and feeling legal is well worth the effort!

marcbernard said:
20 November 2015 @ 23:01

Hi Welcome to Spain
It sounds as if it is your intention, certainly, to be here for a while, probably exceeding the 183 days. In that case why don't you declare yourself resident and get the advantage of a resident bank account, together with the satisfaction of being such? Of course you may think of being under the radar, but this does not give peace of mind. Being acknowledged and feeling legal is well worth the effort!

grapow said:
21 November 2015 @ 09:28

Welcome to Spain, having now used a Spanish Bank for 17 years, i would ignore the stories you have heard regarding the system here. We receive an excellent service from Bankinter and their online offering is just as good as that orovided by the main UK banks. Its worth negotiating on charges of course but we find the guarantee of a regular monthly pension deposit does the jib in providing charge-free banking.
Por fin, buena suerte.

Charlietwice said:
21 November 2015 @ 18:12

Thank you for your comments. We find that the issue over banks divides people. Only last night we were talking to someone who told us we didn't need to be resident or to have a bank account. Peace of mind appeals and we really do see our future in Spain. We always seek to be positive and will pursue your advice. Paul

jeffsears said:
21 November 2015 @ 19:56

You have, unfortunately, met up with some of the many people who use the public services in Spain but do not want to contribute towards them. If you move to Spain you should accept your responsibilities. Pay your taxes, otherwise, in my humble opinion you are simply a sponger who expects everybody else to pay for your pleasures.

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