Travel and admin

Wednesday was another beautiful, sunny day… No news to report on that front – just the normal blue skies, with sun shining and highs of 25 degrees Celsius. We spent a good part of the afternoon in the car though.

 

 

First thing today, Nick had to change a tyre on the car as we got a puncture on the way home from the airport yesterday. The convenience of having a hire car is that once he got that done, we drove back to the airport (our nominated pick-up and drop-off point) and swapped it over for a new one. Just part of the Ts and Cs. This also got us talking about what the best way to get around here would be. Everything is quite close together so hopefully we won’t ever have too far to go. We have been told repeatedly that the bus system is very good. News of that will undoubtedly follow.

Once we’d changed the car, we went back to the purple cargo building to get the stamp on the paperwork as required. I used my pitiful Spanish again and we succeeded. To be fair, the folk working there know you’re there for certain reasons – you just wouldn’t wonder in there while exploring the place. That, along with the little (maybe not so little) English they understand, and whatever effort we made on our part got us through adequately. It took all of 5 minutes to find the desk we needed, bumble through some Spanish, wait for the man to take copies of the pet paperwork, stamp a form (the all important stamp) and for us to go to the building around the back, hand it over and the process was completo!

Our final task for the day to sign our rental agreement which our landlord had arranged with an expat translation service. We arranged to meet at a McDonald’s (yup) near the airport, signed the agreement and parted ways. I suppose this is the convenience of renting from someone you know. The admin is indeed just admin.

On our way home, we went into our local Lidl. Prices were comparable with Lidl UK. The exchange rate is doing very little for us at the moment, however, we do have the marvel of European goods at what feels like a cheaper price. Fish and sea food are definitely a big part of the diet here. The fresh and frozen isles had such a wide range of fish, from salmon and hake, to langoustines and octopus tentacles.

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Standard.

Another day gone with a few more things crossed off our “Settling in” to do list. Nick also met some of our neighbours and we did our first trip home with no start nav and made it.

Off to the roof terrace now for a drink and a bit of social media while the sun sets.

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Be good,or be good at it.

Rumbie xo

Adventurers Unite!

Tuesday, day 3 hails a beaurocratic adventure! Our pets Boris the Cat and Widget the Dog arrived! NaI were very excited to see them but we were also a little weary of our first official business in Tenerife, where we would likely encounter non-English speakers.

We got to enjoy a beautiful morning on the roof top terrace with the sun shining and not one cloud in the sky. We last saw our pets on Saturday night when we left Reading and left them at The Household J (Nick’s Mum and Dad). Household J also dropped the pair off at the airport for us for a 6 am flight (I am not a morning person so I can not express how grateful I am) and their flight landed just after 1pm. On my part, there were a lot of causes for nervousness- we hadn’t seen the pets in a few days says so I missed them; they had never been on long journeys, the dog had been in a car for two and a half hours including two pit stops, and the cat’s first five minute journey in a vehicle was to Household J as the vet was only two minutes away; the dog is a Jack-Russell cross Chihuahua with huge ears (those ears are why she has her name (Gremlins reference), and apparently the name comes with the personality…) so I was wondering if we KNOW if dogs ears pop on planes; the dog’s personality combined with serious small dog syndrome I.e. Barking; the cat is a cat – and that’s just the animals! We also had to look forward to the language barrier that would come with this task, considering we didn’t know where to start.

Once we decided to move to Tenerife, I downloaded an app on my phone to start learning Spanish. I’m going to be here for at least 6 months so I want to make the most of it. As such, learning the language is important to me. I haven’t made as much time for it as I would have liked, however, I didn’t have much time to spare. Just thinking about how much we got done in the month before we moved around full time jobs is enough to make my back ache. Despite this, I think I’ve done well. I haven’t quite got to the level of being able to ask about paperwork and forms, nor can I understand anyone who is in full flow, but I knew the words for cat and dog (un gato y un perro) and I downloaded Spanish Google translate and I was ready to make this happen.

Nick handled the first interaction – straight to the info desk, asked if the guy spoke English and he did. He also sent us to the airline helpdesk. So far – I could be in Antwerp. We got to the airline and Nick was lucky again. She only spoke a little English. She spoke enough to understand Nick telling her our pets are arriving today. She shook her head and said, “Not possible. Not with us.”
I think I experienced tunnel vision as my heart dropped and I started wondering where in the world our pets could be.
As Nick started to repeat himself, sounding as shocked as I felt, she said, “Cargo! All the way to the end, pink building! Get car. Drive. End. Pink building. Cargo!” We took a moment just outside the door to discuss the devastation we experienced because of the miscommunication and laughed it off, but it was no joke folks. I will need at least an extra hour in the pool just to be able to mention this to Nick. The other fact we discussed was these were customer service people. They are employed to be helpful.

We were going into civil servant territory.

These people have systems to follow and jobs to do and they owe you nothing. I think that’s an international sentiment. We found our way to the purple building. (Pink, purple, whatever. This an inconsequential misdirection – at this point we’re just glad that it is indeed possible for our animals to get here). Here, Nick was lucky third time in a row. A pleasant woman told us we needed to go to the back building (2 purple buildings so not as dodgy as it sounds). So off we went and but we’d used our 3 English speaking wishes. The people behind the counter didn’t speak English. So I got stuck in with the very little Spanish I had, starting with, “Tengo un gato y un perro”. He repeated it to his colleague and she typed away and said Mr Nick… And he spoke at me for a while, I said “vale” a few times and laughed when he did. Some joke about a cat and dog and my Spanish being “un poco lento”. I understood him so I’ll take it.

Between his little bit of English and my un poco español, he told us to go away for an hour as the flight was just about to land. We wondered off and had some drinks while driving around another bustling area with car dealerships and a busy high street. We came back on the hour and were told that we needed to come back the following day to get a stamp on the paper work before it can be filed. The stamp is acquired in the front building, but they close at 3 and it was now 3:15.
That tunnel vision started to come back.
Then he told us to sit for 5 minutes. And that’s all it took for us to be reunited with the herd.

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It was fairly painless and both of them are happy enough! Boris is going from exploring every corner of the house to find a way out, to hiding under the covers. Widget has always been a sun worshipper and she loves it here.

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The Adventuring Begins

For our first week on the island, we’ve hired a car to help us get around, get our bearings and to do some exploring. So on our second day here, we drove up to the capital city – Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The roads in Tenerife are such a pleasure to drive on. Keep in mind that I’m Zimbabwean born and naturalised as a Brit – so good roads have not been a feature in my life.

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Road to Santa Cruz

 

The drive up north was scenic, as expected, with the sea beckoning on one side, and Mount Teide looking threatening with the first grey clouds we saw on the island on the other.

We drove through Santa Cruz and the layout is so functional yet typical it’s fantastic. It’s a city. There’s no point talking it up. However, nostalgia bells tolled as we drove down one of the streets – an avenue of palm trees masking city architecture.

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Driving ’round town..

We explored the town, taking turns that upset the satnav, and even (accidentally) going the wrong way up a (very quiet) one way road. Aiming to get to town at the start of siesta may have made a difference… We made our way to the biggest Carrefour (supermarket) and stocked up on some supplies. Not that we needed much – the house (rented or buying) comes fully furnished – a pleasant surprise and ideal for packing! So we got some sheets and toiletries and food to make the place more like home.

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Stock and range of things is not a problem. I find that I keep having to remind myself that although Tenerife is an island, it is part of Spain. So all the creature comforts of home will be readily available. For example, we picked up an LG sound at and and subwoofer for €120 and an electric toothbrush is ~€30. General cost -pretty much was the same as the UK. I suppose I keep tempering my expectations with the fact that we live in a very small residential town. I can also hear my London friends saying, “Rumbie, you lived in Reading.” And I hear this. But our town almost feels (even more) rural now I’ve been to The City for a day.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am always looking for a bargain (how do you think I ended up here!?) and I am pleased to say I am satisfied with the prices I saw for clothes and shoes. I don’t have many clothes with me. In anticipation of the move, there was a great cull. Many a charity bin was filled with the contents of my wardrobe. My In-laws at Household J are very kindly keeping some key pieces that I couldn’t bear to gift or face the prospect of replacing on return to the UK so I only brought over clothes I cannot buy – like my tailor made ‘African’ pieces. I don’t actually have many of these. As a result, I used up most of my luggage bringing my worldly goods, including some gifts from friends and family that are irreplaceable and make this home, my camera and my most essential crafting tools. Judge not – I challenge you can to pack for 6 months in 40ks!

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Our lives fit into one suitcase and 3 boxes…

U.K. Price tags often have euro prices printed on them too. That’s exactly what it it costs in Euros. But the local chains seem to be a bit cheaper. Reviews on quality versus cost to follow. The point is, the things I will need while here are readily available – if not somewhere local in our town, it will be here in the City which is only 40 minutes away by car.

We took some detours on the way home, stoping in towns along the way to see what selection of shops were available. Our landlord mentioned to us that there are a lot of specialist shops around so if we are patient, we will find everything to be very affordable. So far, with The Pound weakening, prices are quite comparable. I’ll keep you posted on this as shopping becomes more real. We seem to be on a diet of fast food as we settle. So, as the sun sets on a wonderfully sunny Monday, I hope you’re having your own adventure and must insist:

Be good, or be good at it.

Rumbie xo

We’ve moved to Tenerife!

Nick and I came to Tenerife for a long weekend at the beginning of February to celebrate our birthdays. After a long old start to the year with the typical ‘January blues’, compounded by multiple car breakdowns and some devastating news about a dear friend, our landlady called to say that her relationship had ended so she needed her house back as she had nowhere else to go – we had two months to find a new home. A weekend get-away in the sun was clearly in order, and as my birthday was coming up, it was the perfect excuse to go somewhere that neither of us had ever been. We used a price-comparison website to look up an all-inclusive holiday anywhere sunny within 5 hours of the U.K. and that’s how we end up coming to Los Gigantes in Tenerife.

We loved it the moment we got off the plane. The climate is perfect for both of us, which says a lot as Nick and I (NaI) are complete temperature opposites. I am always cold. I ALWAYS have a jumper or scarf near. Nick, on the other hand, is like my personal radiator. He’s always warm. All the time. He’s also understandably typical in that he wants to hang out in shorts and feel comfortable doing so. The temperatures in the south of Tenerife average a low of about 9 degrees Celsius and while on holiday, we experienced up to 27 degrees Celsius. For me, it’s comparable with Zimbabwean weather at it’s best. Nostalgia was in overdrive.

We had a wonderful time relaxing on the hotel complex. We wondered out of the complex and found ourselves at a beach with black sand. Tenerife is an active volcano so the soil from the volcanic rock is black. And beautiful. The sea water is so clear and blue, though I must say that neither of us got into the water. The sea was cordoned off by the lifeguards as the waterways too high. The warm sun definitely made up for it though! We got enough swimming done at the hotel pool so it didn’t bother us too much. We’ve always enjoyed exploring our holiday destinations so on the last day, we rented a car and drove around the island and the scenery was just breath-taking. The range from desert-looking land interrupted by pockets of cacti and tough grasses with a backdrop of clear skies and blue seas, to steep roads overlooking gorges green with vibrant vegetation is the ultimate geography field trip…

So we got back to grey Reading on the Sunday afternoon, faced with the prospect of house hunting and selling the car. To be fair, it was the first week of February so to expect anything other than grey would have been foolish. So the obligatory post-holiday ‘isn’t it devastating that we’re back’ Facebook post went up, and Nick’s aunt responded saying if we loved it that much, she knew someone who was selling their house in Tenerife.

After some discussions and a lot of throwing caution to the wind, we decided to come for at least 6 months and see how it goes! So here we are!

After all the stress and buildup for the house move and migrating – I think I’m going to need a holiday soon…

Rumbie xo