Last week was a very Spanish week, testing my shrunken vocabulary well past its limits. Monday I knew I could no longer ignore my high temperature, complete loss of appetite, and other slightly alarming symptoms: definitely not covid, equally definitely needing antibiotics of some kind. Thanks to being registered as an autónoma, I have a “health card” (tarjeta sanitaria) but how to use it in these viral times? Turns out – write a note (in Spanish) describing your symptoms, go to the local clinic, hand in the note and card, they will hand back the card after checking they have all your contact details on computer, and a doctor will phone you at home for consultation / advice. Simple. The reality was they kept the card for ages, as they puzzled through what Google thought I wanted to say, but it was no hardship queueing at suitably-spaced intervals in the sunny street. They finally called me inside to provide a urine sample before handing the card back.
Colour me impressed, I got the phone call (in English) within 10 minutes of getting home, the sample had been tested, a UTI confirmed, antibiotics and painkillers prescribed. Colour me VERY impressed, I didn’t need to pick up the script, just go to the farmacia and hand in my card, all the details had been loaded on the card. I was in and out with my meds in 10 minutes and of course nothing to pay because the social may cost a lot but it covers everything. So much for Monday.
Tuesday morning woken at sparrows by a very voluble Spanish gent on the phone. The English system of talking to stupid furriners, Slower And Louder, may be mocked but I can’t see the Spanish way of dealing with stupid furriners, Use Different Words With Every Try and Talk Faster, really works either. After ten minutes of getting nowhere I scraped up enough Spanish to ask him to send a Whatsapp so I could translate it. Aha! He was an Inspector from the Tourist Department, and he was coming to inspect the place on Thursday morning. So much for a day or two recovering in bed with languid cups of tea. The house hasn’t seen a paying guest since October, thank you covid, and I’m not dedicated to immaculate when it is only me. When I applied for my temporary hosting licence back in 2018 I was told I’d have an inspection within the month and then I’d get my permanent licence. Instead I got the permanent licence by post and now, finally, the place was to be checked. WHIRLWIND of activity! He was in fact very nice, very quick and efficient, and with us both using our phone translators I could show him not only the rooms but the laundry and the first aid facilities. However I couldn’t show him my Vivienda Rural signboard, because I didn’t have one, and I couldn’t show him official complaint forms, those had to be acquired. I’m still waiting for his official email re ‘deficiencies’ but it seems those are the only problems, phew. He did purse his lips at the low doorway to the sunroom but hey, it is an old house, that’s part of its eccentricities. Hope I don’t have to rebuild.
I do have contacts in Velez also newly in the holiday accommodation side who were agog for news about the inspection and the wife, oh thank you, speaks good Spanish after 17 years living here. We found a local guy licenced to issue our official signboards, and that was sorted in another flurry of Spanish.
Another requirement of Turismo is that hosts keep records of every guest, and routinely register them on the police website as soon as they check in. I’ve kept scrupulous records but access to the website has been an ongoing frustration – it won’t let you in without a password, and the password can only be got in person from the policia. The Policia Local said not them. I went through to the Policia Nacional in Motril and they said not them. My efficient friend took me off to the Guardia Civil (I didn’t even know we had a branch in Velez) and translated like a whizz and the next day, Friday, I could nip back and pick up my certificado with official password.
Velez municipality is once again off the lockdown list (when the lockdown trigger is 500 sick in a hundred thousand, and the population is under 3000 people, it only takes one or two either way) so I also shot through to Salobreña to stock up at Mercadona, as Motril is still closed off to the outside world. So there we were, Friday, time at last after school to take to my bed with those languid cups of tea but it all felt a bit pointless by then so I got up again to admire my lovely immaculate house. Life in Spain. Never dull.
For those who read the blogs because of my podenco Purdey, oops, I had to lock her away during the inspection as she’s a bit nippy around men. There’ll be a blog coming up about that as she (hopefully) responds to therapy but she remains in every other way a delight and a joy.