2019-01-01 (Tuesday)Slept badly. Headache after dawn, took a Dolocatil. Slept until the crack of noon. Still headachey; took a sumatriptan. Realized I forgot to take my amitriptyline yesterday.
Quiet day. Out for a walk in early evening. Still a slight headache at midnight.
2019-01-02 (Wednesday)Took a Neobrufen before dawn. Still a slight headache.
Out after noon. To niece's school, but it's closed. To Caprabo for groceries. Cooked pork and pesto-spaghetti and salad for dinner.
Still headache in later afternoon; took a sumatriptan.
Walked Dora to metro before 6, to work 7-1. To fruit shop, then hustled home. Cold.
2019-01-03 (Thursday)STILL have a headache. Mostly sinus right now. Took a paracetamol. Later took a diazepam. Back to bed for a while. Still have headache.
Felt a bit better after dinner.
Online, bought tickets to Cirque du Soleil "Toruk" show. Four tix for total of €209.
2019-01-04 (Friday)Finally slept well and no headache. But Dora still has a bit of sore throat and cough. I made some of Aunt Pat's famous lemon-and-honey tea for her, and that made her feel a bit better for a while. But she's taking antibiotics.
Out a couple of times in late afternoon to buy a lot of groceries. Then I'm feeling a little achey and scratchy throat. Took a Neobrufen.
Family won't be returning from north tomorrow evening on the tickets I bought for them, they've changed to return Monday evening. Niece starts school on Tuesday morning.
2019-01-05 (Saturday)Dora out to work 11-11. Quiet day. Out for groceries around 5:30, and it's a bit cold. In the evening, TV showing lots of Three Kings parades all over Spain. I could have gone to the huge one in center-city Barcelona, but I'm on the edge of a cold and sore throat, don't want to be out in the cold. Dora home around 11:45.
2019-01-06 (Sunday)Headachey and a tiny bit of sore throat, and Dora is worse on both counts. We both took paracetamol. I thought she had to work again today, but she says she has the day off, which is fortunate.
Felt okay in the middle of the day, but achey and headachey in the evening. Took a Neobrufen.
2019-01-07 (Monday)Started the day with paracetamol again. Quiet day. Out at 5 for some groceries.
Took a Neobrufen, then out after 6. To F-i-P metro, to Arc station, to Estacio Nord bus station. Good timing, the parents and niece got off the bus less than 5 minutes before I got there. And they have a ton of luggage. Up in the elevator, and the taxi guys try to cram us into the first, normal taxi, despite me telling them we need a big one. They fail, and we walk back to the big one in line, and load up. Slow trip through traffic, maybe not the quickest route, but we're home around 7:20.
Took a sumatriptan before bed.
Had a bad night's sleep. Had coughing fits until finally Dora dragged me into the kitchen and made me drink honey-lemon tea and start taking antibiotics.
2019-01-08 (Tuesday)Up at 10:30, feeling pretty rough. Food and hot drink made me feel a bit better, but still took a paracetamol.
Out after noon. To niece's school and paid for this month. To a shop to buy a garlic-press. To Dia for groceries.
Home, and the mail is full of bills. Dora's mother cooking, and she filled the kitchen with smoke and both smoke-detectors went off.
Walked Dora to the metro after 2, to work 3-11. Then I went to ECI and paid the water bill. Home, and online started a payment of the building fee (finca).
Took a Neobrufen in early evening. Feeling fairly lousy. Took anti-biotic and paracetamol before bed. Dora home at 11:45.
Again coughing badly 10 minutes after lying down in bed. Took tea and cough syrup.
2019-01-09 (Wednesday)Still have a bad cough, but otherwise feeling pretty good. Out in the evening to walk Dora to metro, buy fruit, hit ATM.
2019-01-10 (Thursday)Still have a bad cough and slight headache, but otherwise feeling pretty good. Walked Dora to metro after 2, and went to Dia for groceries. In late afternoon, to fruit shop. Definitely colder today. Dora home at 11:45.
2019-01-11 (Friday)Headache, slept late, took paracetamol.
Online, ordered 8 GB of RAM for my current (old) laptop, which has only 3 GB.
Out after 5. Cold. To farmacia, and bought medicines for the whole family. Nine boxes of medicine for a grand total of €11, and it would have been cheaper except one of them wasn't covered by the NHS. Still amazed at the low prices for medicines here. To Dia for groceries, and home.
Dora's son arrived from the north. Dora home by 11:20.
2019-01-12 (Saturday)Quiet day, didn't go out. Apartment a bit full with 6 of us here now, soon a 7th will arrive. I'm doing lots of reading and studying on the computer. Started working on Spanish ETE tax filing. Dora's sister arrived from the south around 10:30.
2019-01-13 (Sunday)Slow day, cold and a bit windy outside. 7 of us maneuvering around each other, have to grab the shower when you can, etc. I did more studying, of Spanish and also about computers. I've been getting into a new area, and putting together a web page about it: Penetration Testing and Bug-Bounty Hunting.
2019-01-14 (Monday)Niece has a fever, staying home from school. Always seems to happen when her mother is here. But various illnesses have been shared around inside the family; I think she really is sick.
Out after noon with Dora and her sister. To VA metro, to Vall d'Hebron, to the big hospital. Ask several times, finally find the office we need, all the way up the hill in the back. I wait while Dora and her sister try to register her sister onto the "bolsa", the list of doctors eligible to work for the govt in Catalunya.
Out of the office, down to cafeteria for lunch. Dora and sister taking pills; they both have various pains. Sister will have to make more photocopies and come back here again tomorrow.
Dora off to work 3-11, sister and me to home before 3. Out again later for groceries.
Dora home just before midnight.
2019-01-15 (Tuesday)Dora's sister out to the medical office again, but they want one document she doesn't have.
Sister left in midafternoon, heading back to the south.
Trying to do the Spanish tax filing, but Linux has no free PDF app that can handle the PDF file, so had to use a Windows machine. Then I ran into a number I reported a year ago that looks like a total mistake, can't figure out how I calculated it. Will just have to stick with it, doesn't really matter, this is a declaration not a tax.
2019-01-16 (Wednesday)Around noon, Dora says fix the drawers in other bedroom, her father has had two new cross-pieces made. It's Ikea stuff, so have to figure out how to take it apart partially. But this thing has already been patched a few times, 90-degree straps added at a couple of corners. I start to take it apart and figure out how to put in the new pieces.
Then someone is calling, there's flooding from an apartment downstairs with no one home. I have a key to the water-meter closet, but Dora doesn't want me to use it. Someone calls the water company.
Then the package of new memory for my laptop gets delivered. The two DIMMs are from different manufacturers, look different, but both are the right type and specs.
Drill holes in the bureau, get the pieces in but we need 3 or 4 more screws. Clean up and leave the bureau on its side for now. After dinner, father had bought new screws, put them in and put drawers back in. Not the greatest situation, the wood is soft, but it's okay.
Sent the ETE form in to Spanish web site.
Put the new memory DIMMs in my laptop. Took two tries, first time it just beeped, DIMMs not inserted far enough. Second time came up and I ran diagnostics for a long time, finally stopped them and booted into Linux. 8 GB now instead of 3 GB.
Dora out to work 7-1.
2019-01-17 (Thursday)Out after 11, to ATM and finca and walk and Dia for groceries. Quiet day, doing lots of computer reading etc.
Watched half of Barca-Levante game on TV; stadium looked half-empty. They've been having very-low-priced deals on 3-game ticket deals in these two weeks, but they're playing minor teams and we decided we didn't want to sit in the cold even to watch Barca.
2019-01-18 (Friday)Out at noon with Dora, and it's a bit cold. To VA metro, to Vall d'Hebron, and to the hospital. Long walk up the hill into teeth of a stiff cold wind. Dora dropped off documents for her sister. Back to metro. Where Dora announces she has to go to two more offices in the center. I go home instead.
Dora home by 3:15, and she's not mad at me, so that's good.
I'm out at 7. Cold out. To flower shop to buy flowers for Dora, tomorrow is our 1-year wedding anniversary. Well-received back at home.
2019-01-19 (Saturday)Cold morning. Dora out to work 11-11. I went out in late afternoon for groceries; cold out. Headache in mid-evening; took a paracetamol. Dora home after 11:30.
2019-01-20 (Sunday)Grey and raining steadily. As usual, Dora sleeping "10 more minutes" until she's late. She's out to work 11-11. Quiet day. Dora home around 11:30.
2019-01-21 (Monday)Headache after noon; took a Dolocatil. Dora out after 5 to a Zumba class at a gym; I'm out to grocery stores. Headache in evening; took a sumatriptan.
2019-01-22 (Tuesday)Dora out after 1, and it turned out she did errands and then went to work 3-11. I went for groceries at 5 or so; cold out. Dora home before midnight.
2019-01-23 (Wednesday)Quiet day. Dora out to gym at noon. I'm out at 4:30 to pick up a package at Correos and buy some groceries for Dora. Out later to walk Dora to metro to work 7-1, and then I went to fruit shop. On TV, watched Barca lose to Sevilla 0-2.
2019-01-24 (Thursday)Headache during the night; took paracetamol. Cold, windy day. Dora out before noon to gym. Dinner. Then Dora out to work 3-11. I went out twice for groceries. Dora home just before midnight.
2019-01-25 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-11. Then a problem: water on the floor in the utility closet, thought it was the washing machine, but it's the solar-water tank. We cleaned up and put a bucket under it, I want to wait and see.
Out in the evening to hit ATM and get groceries. Messages back and forth with Dora to get the niece signed up for a gymnastics program, which means we'll have to get up at 7:30 on Saturday mornings. Made a pizza with the niece; she likes hotdogs and chicken lunchmeat slices on her half.
Dora home at 11:45.
2019-01-26 (Saturday)Up at 7:30. Out after 8:15 (late) with Dora and niece. Up to Llucmajor metro, long ride to Poblenou metro, long walk down to the waterfront. Into a big sports complex, and found a gymnastics class for the niece. Supposedly started at 9, but I'm surprised to see them still stretching and getting ready at 9:15 or later. Mural outside: pic.
Left the niece in class, and Dora and I went upstairs and over to the big gymnasium, and watched a gymnastics competition in progress. I kept pushing Dora to talk to other parents, and eventually she did so, and found out about some other classes closer to home.
Killed some time, had a coffee, back to niece's class at 11 to pick her up. She had a good time, wants to do more of this. We'll see if we do it here or somewhere closer to home at a more civilized hour.
Headed for the metro, stopped in a cafe for a while. Into metro, long ride home, home after 12:30.
Dinner, napped, napped again.
Out after 4 with Dora and son and niece. Down to F-i-P metro, long ride to Placa Espanya, into a line for buses running up to the Palau San Jordi on Montjuic. Into the arena and our seats with 15 minutes to spare. Bought popcorn and soda.
Then it was time for Cirque du Soleil, the "Toruk" (Avatar) show. Turns out none of us have seen the Avatar movie; somehow I assumed the kids had seen it. A nice show, slow in parts, really good in other parts. Some great athleticism, loved the dragon, loved the flowers growing. I think we all enjoyed it. Hard to take pictures, only really got one (from Dora): pic. [Later got this from her son: pic and video.]
Out by 8 or so. Quickly caught a bus down to Placa Espanya. Long metro-ride back to F-i-P, most of us standing all the way. Up F-i-P and into a bookstore so Dora could buy a Catalan textbook, and it took forever for her to check out. Son went home, and the other three of us stopped in an outdoor cafe. I had a cognac, which was much bigger than I expected, but tasted strange, I think it was watered. Fine with me, plenty of alcohol in it.
Home before 9:45. Tired.
2019-01-27 (Sunday)Dora up at 9 and out to the gym. I'm up at 9:30. Feeling grumpy today, lots of arguments in the apartment, and I'm getting nowhere on a computer-security challenge thing I'm trying to do.
Out before 6 with Dora, to walk niece to a friend's house. Cold and a strong wind blowing, strong enough to stagger me sometimes. To friend's house, and some screwup, friend and mother aren't there. We head back home, I buy some fruit in a shop, then into a cafe to relieve me of €10 so we can have coffees and pastries.
Studying Spanish, found that the word "esposa" means "wife" and "esposas" means "handcuffs".
Sore throat in the middle of the night; took paracetamol.
2019-01-28 (Monday)A bad start to the day when you find your only robe has been put in the laundry and is out on the line.
Out with Dora at 1:15. Cold and a little windy out. To sports complex across from ECI, to ask about gymnastics class for the niece, but they just gave us a phone number for another place. I went to Mercadona for groceries, Dora went to the gym.
2019-01-29 (Tuesday)Fairly bad headache. Took paracetamol and a lot of water and back to bed for a little while. Up, then still headache by noon, took a sumatriptan. Dinner, then out after 3 to take an umbrella to Dora coming out of the hair salon. Cold and rainy outside.
Dora out again at 8 or so, to a 1-on-1 medical Catalan-language lesson. Then the rest of us cleared out to our bedrooms so the son could have some privacy with a friend of his, dancing, cooking dinner etc. Friend left around 11:30, Dora home at 11:45, much later than I expected.
2019-01-30 (Wednesday)I cooked dinner (chicken and rice and vegs and salad), and it seemed to go over poorly. Son refuses to eat anything with vegetables in it, and niece is learning from his example. The rest of us seemed okay with it.
Out in midafternoon to Dia for groceries. Out with Dora at 6 to walk her to the metro, then I went to a pharmacy. They had only 4 pills of sumatriptan, at €3 each. That's about what I paid for pills from India last year. Need to find something cheaper.
Headache in the evening; took paracetamol. Still headachey at 10:20, halftime of the Barca game on TV, took a sumatriptan.
2019-01-31 (Thursday)Water is out from 11-3 today, for maintenance or something. Dinner, then Dora out to work. Water back on at 3 or 4. Later, I went out for groceries. Not too cold out today. Quiet evening. Dora home around 11:15.
2019-02-01 (Friday)Rainy outside. I went out at 11 or so, no rain, weather fairly warm. To ATM, to niece's school to pay €192 for tuition and swimming pool. Got groceries. Headache; took a paracetamol.
Out in late afternoon for a walk with Dora. Still have headache. Napped, couldn't get rid of it, took a sumatriptan.
2019-02-02 (Saturday)Up at 7:30, out a bit after 8 with father and niece. To Llucmajor metro, long ride to Poble Nou, long walk down to sports center. Perfect timing, dropped niece at gymnastics class and handed over paperwork. Then father and I killed 2 hours while she was in class. Volleyball tournament on the beach, lots of people out running. Later a badminton tournament starting up inside the center. Weather slowly got colder and greyer.
Dora working 11-11 today.
Niece out at 11, tried going home on the bus instead of the metro. Found the stop, only waited 7 minutes, onto the bus. Then it went one or two more stops and sat for 5+ minutes. Finally going again, lots of stops, eventually our stop. Home at noon, about same as the metro.
Niece is supposed to be having lunch with a friend, but Dora is the only one who knows if and how and when, and she didn't tell any of us, and isn't answering calls or messages (she's at work).
Finally, her friend called, and they picked up the niece at 1:45 or so. Then she was gone all afternoon, finally home at 7 or so.
Dora home before midnight.
2019-02-03 (Sunday)Dora working 11-11 today. I paid €100 to niece's tutor.
I created a simple quiz for home users, about phishing: Go to Phishing Test page 1 of 3.
Out for a walk in late afternoon; cold out.
Dora home at midnight, and she had a busy day.
2019-02-04 (Monday)Parents and son planning to go to Peruvian embassy on other side of town, but their departure got delayed again and again, had to give up and go tomorrow.
Online, paid tuition for another half-year of medical school for son.
Lots of confusion around dinner, niece stayed at school to eat, finally a late dinner.
Out with Dora pursuing me, to ATM and groceries. Cold. Out again later for a few more groceries.
2019-02-05 (Tuesday)Parents and son out to Peruvian embassy. Confusion when it came to dinner-time. I hustled out to pick up niece from school because Dora's son said they wouldn't get back in time, but as I expected Dora's father got there 20 seconds ahead of me, and we both were 5+ minutes early.
Dora out to work 3-11. Quiet afternoon and evening. Dora home at 11:45.
2019-02-06 (Wednesday)Up at 7:40. Dora out at 8:20 to go to a 9-2 medical class. Then she was home, and feeling sick, we went to nap for 2 hours. Then after 6, she was out to work 7-1. I walked her to the metro, then hit a couple of places for groceries.
I went out at 8:45 to a cafe to watch the first half of the Barca - Real Madrid game. Home, only to find the game showing on free TV. Good game, but ended 1-1.
Online, bought tickets for son to go back to medical school in Slovakia.
Went to bed and couldn't sleep at all. Dora home around 1:45, with a nasty cough that she took a while to stop with medicine. I still didn't sleep much all the rest of the night, just couldn't sleep.
2019-02-07 (Thursday)Dora up at 9 or so and off to the doctor, I think. I got a little sleep, up after 10. Dora back home, she went to the clinic but they said come back later.
So we went out after noon, to clinic, and waited maybe 45 minutes before she was seen. Bronchitis, she's excused from work today and tomorrow, she was going to have the weekend free anyway. Out, and to a pharmacy to buy about 5 medicines for a total of €3.50 or so. Home by 1:45.
Dinner, then soon Dora took lots of pills and to bed. After a while, I went out for groceries. Then joined her for a nap. Later she's up, still sounding terrible, then back to bed for a while.
2019-02-08 (Friday)Slept well. Out at 11:30 or so, to ECI to mail a certified letter to Peru, then to fruit shop. Slow lines everywhere. Home around 12:30.
Headache in late afternoon; took paracetamol.
Niece home from school, after time in a playground etc, and some time later we realized she'd left all of her schoolbooks at school. So she and I hustled back to the school, but too late, they're closed. To pharmacy to get something for Dora, then home.
Still have headache later. Took a sumatriptan.
2019-02-09 (Saturday)Up at 7. Out after 8 with niece and Dora's father. To bus stop near VA plaza, running a bit to catch the V29 bus. Longish ride down to the waterfront, and arrived at niece's gymnastics class 5-7 minutes early. Dropped her off and went into the main gym, where a huge basketball and football tournament for 8-9 year olds is starting. Fun to watch for a little while, then I found a warmish comfortable corner in the lobby and sat and closed my eyes and listened to MP3s.
Down to the class at 11, picked up niece, to bus stop, waited 5 minutes for the bus. Home before 11:50.
Dora felt well enough today to go to her zoomba class at the gym. But she still has a nasty cough, lots of fluid in her bronchi.
Dinner. Dora out to beauty parlor in late afternoon. Afterward, niece and I went to meet Dora and son at a cafe for coffees and sandwiches etc. On the way home, I went for groceries.
2019-02-10 (Sunday)Quiet morning. Dora out to a 1-on-1 medical-Catalan language class at 2:30, home at 6:30.
2019-02-11 (Monday)A couple of trips for groceries, and to walk for exercise, lovely weather. Dora to dentist, and then working 3-11. But she was home at 5, they sent her home sick.
In late evening, made a pizza with the niece. But when I tried to get it out of the oven, I couldn't grasp the tray safely, and the pizza slithered out and fell face-down on the floor. We ate it anyway, it was fine.
2019-02-12 (Tuesday)Dora out to gym. Dinner. I went out to ATM, pharmacy, groceries.
2019-02-13 (Wednesday)Dora to medical clinic again. I have a headache; took paracetamol. Dora had to wait 2 hours at the clinic, but got her paper that says she doesn't have to work for the next 3 days. Dinner. Still headachey in late afternoon; took a Neobrufen.
2019-02-14 (Thursday)Out at 12:45 with Dora and her mother. To metro, to Vall d'Hebron, to hospital. Up to pneumology to get a test for the mother. They took her right on time at 1:30, out at 2:15. But bad news, she didn't have the test, needs to take medicine before they might be able to do the test.
To metro, to VA, waited for rest of family to join us. Off to a Peruvian restaurant to have a birthday celebration for Dora's mother. Decent restaurant, nice time, but I wasn't too happy to learn the niece was skipping an afternoon of school to be here. We all came out tired and full. I stopped to buy flowers and then fruit on the way home. Home, and down for a nap.
Headache in the evening; I knew that very nice beer I had at the restaurant would give me one. Took a paracetamol.
Online, made reservations for Dora and I to go to Prague for two weeks in late June. Used 70K of my 70.1K frequent-flyer miles, plus $205, for the plane tickets (business class going, economy coming back). Apartment for €780 for two weeks. It's a big modern apartment and close to a major metro-and-bus hub, but a bit of a strange layout and only one window with no view. It was the usual deal with AirBNB: other apartments all had some flaw, such as no elevator or no big bed or too expensive. But I'm fairly surprised so much was available at all in Prague in the summer, I thought it would be booked up.
2019-02-15 (Friday)Niece home sick from school today. I went out to pharmacy and groceries. Dora and son out at 4:30 to go to a theater for some musical-burlesque-dance thing. Niece talked Dora's father into going out to buy a huge sheet-cake, and gave me a huge slice of it. Dora and son back home, they had a great time, but it would have been wasted on me.
2019-02-16 (Saturday)Up at 7 to see if niece is going to gymnastics class, but the answer is no. Fine with me, back to sleep. Quiet day, went out once for groceries. Dora out to gym; she feels okay much of the time, then every now and then sounds like she's coughing up a lung. But she's slowly getting better.
2019-02-17 (Sunday)Around 11, Dora says how about if I cook dinner today, and the niece needs to be taken to a new place for the tutor at noon, and I have to pay €100 to the tutor. So I hustle through exercises, start the cooking, dress without showering. Out with niece, to one ATM but it doesn't work, to another ATM and get cash, to the new place but it has 4 floors and we don't know which to buzz. I buzz them all, talk to various people with no luck, then someone comes down and soon points us to a language school doors away, that's the place. Drop off the niece, stop at fruit/veg shop on the way home, shower, cook.
With Dora's father, pick up the niece after 1, home, finish cooking dinner.
Out for a walk with Dora in late afternoon, but just slightly too chilly to be nice.
2019-02-18 (Monday)Dora still sick, but she went to dentist and then Catalan class. Still a bad coughing fit every hour or two. I went with her to medical clinic around 4:30, and we were in and out in 5 minutes, amazing, she has paper saying she can be off work for another 10 days or so. Hope she doesn't stay sick that long. Groceries, then home.
2019-02-19 (Tuesday)Dora's son up early and off to the airport. But he was in a friend's car instead of taking the train, and there was an accident that stopped the whole highway for an hour or more. So he missed his flight, has to come home and go again tomorrow. Also found his credit-card is blocked, because he didn't fill out some form at the bank.
Dora out to gym. Son back home around noon.
I went out for groceries, then it turned out we weren't going to cook them, Dora had me go out again to buy a couple of roast chickens at the Peruvian place.
My tuition payment to son's medical school bounced, even though all I did was push a button to repeat the same transfer I did for last semester. Getting him to email the university to see if they know what happened.
Started working on my Spain 720 foreign assets declaration.
2019-02-20 (Wednesday)Again, Dora's son up early and off to the airport. This time, he made it to Slovakia. I re-sent the tuition payment; apparently the bank in Slovakia bounced payments of a lot of people.
2019-02-21 (Thursday)Routine day. Dora still home sick from work, she had a couple of really bad coughing fits. But down in the center of the city, there was a huge demonstration for independence, highways closed with barricades of burning tires, police fighting demonstrators even inside Placa Catalunya metro station. The TV has live coverage of the trial of pro-independence officials, in Madrid.
2019-02-22 (Friday)Out in midafternoon. Surprisingly warm out. Walked, then to farmacia, then to fruit shop.
Out with Dora in the evening, for a walk. Still nice weather, just slightly cool.
2019-02-23 (Saturday)Dora up at 6:30, I'm up at 7. Dora's out at 7:30 to something. I'm out before 8, soon followed by niece and father. I went to metro and bought T-10 cards, then to bus stop, and we waited 10 minutes for the bus. Still got to the Mar Bella sports complex about 10 minutes early.
Which was fine, because they were having a gymnastics competition in the main arena, so we watched that for 10 minutes. Then niece was into gymnastics class, and father and I started killing time. Warm, sunny day. I watched a little of the gymnastics, studied my Spanish book, dozed, listened to MP3s.
Picked up the niece at 11, back into main building to watch some of the gymnastics and buy a snack for the niece (in addition to the powerbar I gave her).
Walked down to bus stop, bus came in 1 minute, on. Gave niece another powerbar. Longish ride, and then Dora called and said she'd meet us, which means a cafe. So we got to VA plaza, off, and to our usual cafe. Ten minutes later Dora joined us. Coffees and pastries etc.
Home by 12:40, and I'm tired. Dinner, nap, headachey.
Out in late afternoon. Not so warm any more. To farmacia, walk, groceries, fruit/veg. Home. Later took a paracetamol.
2019-02-24 (Sunday)Headache; took a sumatriptan. Out for a walk with Dora and niece in late afternoon, then they went to a movie and I went home. Out again for a walk with Dora later.
2019-02-25 (Monday)Up before 8, niece up early, Dora doing makeup for her for some reason [Carnaval, apparently]. Dora out to dentist. I'm back to bed; up later. Gave myself a haircut. Dora home later, then out to Catalan class. I had a late dinner with her.
Early evening, walked Dora to the gym and then I went for a walk and to grocery store and fruit/veg shop.
2019-02-26 (Tuesday)Dora out at 9:30, to dentist. I'm out at 11 or so. Down to L1 metro, to Catalunya, L3 to Drassanes. Lovely sunny almost-warm day. Down several blocks to the central Registro. Waited maybe 10 minutes, in, took the lady 5 minutes to find the papers and 5 minutes to type in the computer, then I'm out. This is a marriage-terms agreement that I sent to Jerez on December 11. The other one I sent on July 24 has disappeared, I guess.
Strolled through an unusual area of old town, I've only been through here a few times. Stopped in two churches I've never been in before. Light was low, the pictures didn't come out too well. Esglesia De La Merce: pics. Esglesia De Sant Just i Sant Pastor: pics. Street art: pics.
To Jaume I metro, to Llucmajor, home by 12:45 or so. Dora holding an ice-pack to her jaw, she's hurting from dental work.
Dinner. Then I was out at 2:30 to go sit in the sun. But all the sunny seats in VA plaza were occupied. Soon went to grocery and fruit shops, then home.
Dora still hurting in the evening, from the dentistry.
2019-02-27 (Wednesday)Out with Dora in late afternoon, to health clinic. In and out in 5 minutes. To ECI, where I paid the water bill, then of course Dora had to find something to buy, a pair of pants.
Out at 8:45 with Dora, down to a cafe to watch El Clasico, Barca vs Real Madrid, on TV. Turned out it's on a free channel, but that's fine, it's nice to get out of the apartment for a bit. Watched the first half, and Barca was lucky to escape 0-0, Madrid mostly outplayed them. Home by 10.
Second half was mostly Barca's game. In 20 minutes or so they scored 3 goals. Game ended 3-0.
2019-02-28 (Thursday)Dora out at 11:30, to Catalan class. I'm out at 1, to sit in VA plaza for a while, then go for a walk, then groceries. Dora home late, 3:45 or so, then we had dinner.
In the evening, Dora coughing like death just before going out to the gym.
2019-03-01 (Friday)Dora out to hair salon. I'm out at 11:30, to ATM, to niece's school to pay tuition, to Dia for groceries.
Out again before 1, to niece's school, to pick her up and get costumes from a friend's parent.
Dora still at hair salon, and niece seriously perturbed as time to go to school approaches and Dora is supposed to do something with niece's hair. Dora arrives at 2:30, does the hair while I eat a quick dinner. Then the three of us are out and to the school. Clouds have come over and temperature has dropped a couple of degrees, on the edge of chilly. We arrive at school 15 minutes late, but our timing is perfect, they're still taking pictures and lining up. The theme is "costumes from around Europe".
Then they're off, in a little sidewalk-parade, 5 blocks up and then cross, 6 blocks down, cross, and back to school. A couple of other schools are doing the same. Hard to take pictures, everyone's so close together, and the kids tend to be turned inward, talking to each other. Pics.
Finally we're done, Dora and I head for home. But into a bookstore where Dora liberates €100 from me to buy a stack of Catalan textbooks. Into fruit shop, buy some stuff, home by 4:40. Tired and a little cold.
2019-03-02 (Saturday)Didn't sleep well, and took a paracetamol at 5. Up after 7. Out after 8 with niece and Dora's father. To bus, arrived a bit early at the sports center. Another gymnastics competition going on today, so we watched that for 10 minutes. Then niece into her gymnastics class.
Killed time, dozing and listening to MP3s, walked a little, studied Spanish a little. At 11, picked up niece from class and paid €19 for some competition registration, I think. Missed the bus by one minute, waited 10+ minutes for the next. Home by noon, tired. Dora working 11-11 today.
Headachey; took a Neobrufen with dinner.
Before 6, out with niece and Dora's father. Heading for ECI to buy a case for niece's phone, but I want to see a parade that's starting at 6. Happily, we ran right into it about 2 blocks from home. A nice parade, smaller than I expected, mostly children. Crowded, and I only took a couple of pictures. Pics.
Over to ECI, looked at phone cases, but few/none will fit niece's phone, and only 2 or 3 out of all of them have a design that's at all interesting to her. And I'm amazed at some of the prices; I didn't know you could spend €30 or more on a pretty plain case for a big, new model of phone.
We gave up on the phone case, headed for food stores, then I realized I should look online for phone cases. To Dia and fruit shop, then home.
Then I went right back out, up to govt complex, to where the parade ended. Lots of people and something happening on a stage, but not so interesting.
Home, and eventually got online and found phone cases. Niece sat down to look at them and wants a dozen of them. But finally she chose one and I ordered it, for about €11. [But later I realized it doesn't have a cover over the screen, it just protects the back and sides.]
Dora home before midnight, tired but not sick.
2019-03-03 (Sunday)Headachey; took a Neobrufen. Dora out after 10, to work 11-11. I had to scramble just before she left, when I realized she hadn't paid some bills on the 1st as she was supposed to, mainly son's rent in Slovakia. So I got into her account and did three transfers for her.
Quiet day, went for a bit of a walk, sunny but a bit cool for comfort.
Dora home at midnight.
2019-03-04 (Monday)Holiday; niece has no school. Dora out to Catalan class 12-2.
Dora returns, and says money has been stolen from her son's credit card, we need to get him to do something about it. Apparently someone's been just about draining his account, and he never noticed ! Dora yelling over the phone at him, calling banks, etc.
Out at 4:30 or so with niece and Dora. Cold wind blowing, so we grabbed a taxi. To big Maquinista shopping center. To Decathlon to buy gymnastics clothing for the niece, and Dora found a couple of things she wanted, and later we returned to buy some hand-weights, so I paid about €130 total.
To a cafe, where service was slow and people were smoking near us. But we relaxed and had coffees and focaccio and a crepe.
Out, back to Decathlon for the weights, then out. Found the bus stop, and the bus we wanted was due in 21 minutes. Took a less-desirable bus in 5 minutes, long slow ride, out and walked about 8 blocks, home by 7.
Headachey; took a Neobrufen.
2019-03-05 (Tuesday)Dora out to dentist, I think. Then out to gym. Home for dinner. Then out to work 3-11. I went for a walk and groceries in midafternoon, but it's slightly too cool to linger. Out again briefly to recharge SIM of my phone. Phone case arrived for niece's phone. Online, I filed my Spanish 720 tax form. Dora home at midnight.
2019-03-06 (Wednesday)Cold, grey day. Dora slept late and had to rush out to her class. Home for dinner, she coughing, relax a little, then she's out to work 7-1. I get involved in some coding, don't get to bed until midnight-45. Dora home at 2 or so.
2019-03-07 (Thursday)Dora out at 11:15, to class 12-2 and then work 3-11. In midafternoon I went out to sit in plaza and then get groceries and fruit. A little headachey in late afternoon; took a Neobrufen. Still headachey in late evening; took a paracetamol. Dora home at 11:45.
2019-03-08 (Friday)Slept late. Dora out to gym and shopping, home for dinner, out to work 3-11. I went out to sit in plaza and then get groceries. Quiet day. Headachey; took a paracetamol and later a Neobrufen. Dora not home until 2 or so, delayed by a strike. I'm still headachey; took another Neobrufen.
2019-03-09 (Saturday)Up at 7. A little headachey; took a paracetamol. Out after 8 with niece and father. To bus stop, said 4 minutes to bus, I dashed to Metro 100 feet away to buy a couple of T-10 cards, dashed back, made the bus with 5 seconds to spare.
To waterfront, to sports complex. Badminton and kids trampolines and stuff in the main building. Delivered niece to gymnastics class and paid €35 for a maillot for her.
Killed time, then Dora arrived, we had a snack. Picked up niece after class, Dora talked to teacher, then we're off to the bus. Out near home, into a cafe for ham and drinks. A bit pricey, but worth it. Home by 12:45.
Nap. Dinner. Loaf.
Out at 6 or so with Dora and niece. I wanted to go to the library first, but instead we went to ECI and exchanged pants for me that Dora bought yesterday. Eventually got out of there, walked to F-i-P and looked for a store to buy a jacket for the niece, but no luck. To fruit shop, and home.
Started trying to learn Bootstrap/Angular/Electron so I can write an app I want: My "Develop an Application" page.
2019-03-10 (Sunday)Quiet day. Dora out to gym. I went for a small walk in late afternoon. Lots of time programming on the computer.
Out at 7:30 or so with Dora. To metro, to Diagonal, and walked several blocks to a disco. Place is hopping, full of old people (our age and older). Dancing to all kinds of songs, and some of them very good dancers, they probably come here a lot.
Dora can dance up a storm, and I mostly just move as much as I can in time to the music, and try to follow her. I did pretty well tonight, I think.
Then I bought a gin-and-tonic for €10, and it was pretty large and about half gin (or, at least, what came out of a bottle labeled gin). We shared it, we were thirsty. Danced a couple more times, then I'd had enough.
Out and to the metro. Home before 11:30. Tired and feeling the alcohol.
2019-03-11 (Monday)Headachey at dawn; took a paracetamol. Up at 8, niece needs to do a couple of errands before going to school. Out at 8:15, hustle to a cafe to buy sandwiches, then to metro to use the photo-booth, then to her school; they're going on a school-trip today. I'm home by 8:45.
Dora out to class 12-2 and work 3-11. I'm out in midafternoon to grocery shopping.
With help from people online, got the very basics of Bootstrap/ng-bootstrap/Angular/Electron working for my app.
Dora home before midnight.
2019-03-12 (Tuesday)Dora out at 11, to gym and then shopping. I went out after 12 to hit an ATM, buy a lot of stuff at the pharmacy and then fruit shop. Still amazed at the prices of medicines here; my box of 60 amitriptylina pills cost €0.16, and about 10 boxes of various medicines for Dora's mother cost about €13.50.
Out again after 2:30, to sit in plaza, but it's just slightly too cool and windy for that.
Out at 4:30 with Dora, to the library. She got a card and then 4 books.
Late in the evening, looked at the box of 60 pills I bought for €0.16, and it only has 24 pills instead of 60 ! Looked around, I don't see how I could have lost part of them out of the box. And I can't imagine it's legal to sell a partial-box. Strange.
More programming with Angular, hit a nasty problem with tables, finally figured out why it was happening, will have to deal with it tomorrow.
2019-03-13 (Wednesday)Cold, very white/grey day.
Dora out at 8:15 to meet with niece's teacher.
Out with Dora after 11. To kids-clothing shop to buy a gymnastics jacket for the niece. Walked Dora down to Meridiana so she could catch the metro to Catalan class. To Dia for groceries etc.
Late dinner with Dora. Quiet afternoon. Then she's out to work 7-1.
Dora home around 2, but then she stayed up all night. Later I found out she couldn't sleep, so she just stayed up and worked on taking a test online for some medical class. She went to bed at 8:30.
2019-03-14 (Thursday)Dora out to class 12-2. I went out to fruit/veg shop. Dora home, dinner, napped.
Out with Dora and niece at 8 or so, niece needs to buy a present for a friend's birthday party tomorrow. Crowded on the main streets. To half a dozen clothing stores before they bought something, and then they said they were going to ECI. I said bye, went to Dia. They changed their minds, caught up with me there, also hit the fruit shop. Home.
2019-03-15 (Friday)Quiet morning. Out for groceries and to buy a lightbulb. Out after 10 to pick up niece from a birthday party 3 blocks away.
2019-03-16 (Saturday)Up at 7. Out after 8 with niece and father. To bus stop, just missed a bus, but I had to go into the Metro to buy a card anyway. Waited about 12 minutes for the bus, got to gym class right on time. Niece went in, father and I went up to main building to kill time. Huge gymnastics meet going on in there, little girls. I mostly sat in a sunny corner and snoozed and listened to MP3s. Went for a walk, looked at the beach, watched the skateboarders in their park for a little while.
Niece out at 11, and we went into the main building. An intermission in the competition, unfortunately, but we sat and watched, as the niece inhaled two snacks from the machines and 4 powerbars I gave her, and a Coke.
Out, and longish walk to bus stop and then a bit past it. Into a big traveling dinosaur show for which I had bought tickets. About as I expected: we were tired and a bit hungry, and it was crowded in there. Also a bit hot. Dark, too, hard to take good pictures: pics. We spent less than half an hour, then out and walked a couple of blocks to the next bus stop. Waited 5+ minutes, then on. Home by 1.
Took a paracetamol. Dinner. Nap. Still headache, took a Neobrufen.
Out in the evening for groceries and fruit. Headache slowly receding.
2019-03-17 (Sunday)Dora out to work 11-11. I went out in midafternoon, for a short walk. Took niece and father out to a cafe in the evening for coffees and pastries. Dora home before midnight.
2019-03-18 (Monday)Dora out to class 12-2. I went out after 11:30 with Dora's mother. To metro, to hospital, to an appointment. Got there 10 minutes early, she went in 5 minutes early, out in 5 minutes. To cafeteria for sodas, then back home by 1:30. Dora home at 3, dinner.
Out after 5 with Dora. To bank, then to Western Union in ECI, then she went to gym and I went to Mercadona for groceries.
Hit a roadblock with the application I'm developing (Promises, in Typescript). Switched and started my US federal tax return, and hit a roadblock there, it demands a SSN for Dora. Sent request to Support and gave up for tonight.
2019-03-19 (Tuesday)Dora tried to log in to Facebook last night (after I went to bed), got her password wrong, tried to reset it, and now she's locked out. Looks like they have her phone number without the country prefix, and submitting a picture of her national ID card got rejected. Will keep trying. In the process, I spent 45 minutes in her Yahoo email deleting junk, got unread messages down under 800. Probably deleted 2000 messages to get there.
Out after dinner, to walk Dora to the metro to work 3-11. I went to shop to buy a lightbulb, and bumped into niece and father buying glitter-glue for school. Then to Dia and fruit shop, and home.
Back into Dora's Yahoo email, and got it down to 3500 messages, 560 of them unread. And Facebook is going to unlock her FB account.
Had to switch to different tax-prep software to avoid Dora having to register with the US tax system.
Dora home before midnight. Restored access to her FB account.
Dora stayed up all night doing some medical coursework.
2019-03-20 (Wednesday)Out after 11 with Dora's mother. Slow walk to medical clinic. Where we both screwed up, got confused about the procedure, got directed to the wrong place twice. Called Dora many times and eventually got through to her. Eventually ended up on the right floor and waiting 15 minutes or so for the doctor. Success, out, slow walk home, arrived by 11:45 or so, tired. Did see an Apple Map car drive past, a dome with cameras sticking up above it, creating digital maps and pictures.
Dora out to class. Dinner. Headache, took a Neobrufen, laid down. Dora home. I took a paracetamol.
Dora slept about 3 hours; I napped next to her for about 1.5 hours. Then she was out to work 7-1.
At 7:30, an accident on the street outside our balcony, looks like a car hit a motor-scooter, the driver is on the ground. Someone called right away, but it took 15-20 minutes for ambulance and police to arrive.
Out for groceries and fruit.
More work on US federal tax return. More work on the application I'm trying to build.
Dora home around 2, I think.
2019-03-21 (Thursday)I'm up at 8:30, and to my surprise so is Dora. She lists about 6 things she has to do today, with time to do only about 3 of them. I still have a headache; took a sumatriptan.
Dora out at 11:45 to go to class and then work 3-11. I'm out in midafternoon to sit in VA plaza and then go for groceries and fruit.
Was doing my taxes online when TaxAct suddenly said "oh, you have capital gains/losses ? You have to upgrade to Premium+, that will be an extra $58." So I'm looking for another site.
Dora's sister arrived from the south, around 5:45.
Someone pointed me to the tax site Free File Fillable Forms, and it's great, so much easier than the fancy web sites. And free, and I can keep Dora's info out of the US tax system.
2019-03-22 (Friday)Headachey before dawn; took a Neobrufen.
Everyone out in different directions. Dora to gym, sister and mother out to banks or something, I went out to hit an ATM, pay the finca (building fee) for our apartment, get groceries.
Confusion at dinnertime; who's cooking what ? Everyone arrives home, we get food on the table.
Out with Dora at 2:20 to walk to metro, she's working 3-11. I sit in the plaza for a while, then go home. Still a little headachey; took a paracetamol.
2019-03-23 (Saturday)Up at 7. Dora was up at 6, despite getting home at 12:30. Out after 8 with Dora and niece and sister. Missed a bus by 1 minute, but another came in 13 minutes. Ride to waterfront, delivered niece to gymnastics class, killed two hours sitting in the main building, listening to MP3s, walking around, studying a little Castellano, etc. Headachey; took a pill I think was a Neobrufen.
Picked niece up from class at 11. Long walk to Metro, stopping in various stores, and then a long stop in a cafe. Finally into metro, long ride, out at Llucmajor. Stopped at fruit shop, home after 1:15. Tired and still a bit headachey.
Great: ribs have been cooked, table is all laid out for dinner. But then Dora announces her mother wants to go to the Peruvian restaurant for dinner. I'm not going anywhere for a while. They go, I stay and eat ribs and potatoes and rice.
Nap, still headachey.
Online, filed my US federal income tax return. But it got rejected with various errors. Most of them look easy to fix, but it looks like they're requiring Dora's name in the spouse field.
Out at 6, down to Heron City Center where there will a band tonight. Dora said 6, but as we arrived she said the band starts at 7, she wanted to get here early to get good seats. I'm not happy. We do get a good outdoor table on second level. Her sister catches up with us, and we nurse drinks for a while. Friends arrive, and we add a table and more chairs. But after a while they go down to the ground level with other friends. I thought we were done with the cafe, but then Dora's sister is ordering food. Soon I go retrieve her father and niece and lead them to the table.
Then a bunch of the niece's friends arrive, and she dashes off with them, then the food arrives. Then niece is back with friends, the music gets going. Pretty good band, although it's just a drummer, bass player, and singer. Pic. Eventually the food is done and paid for, we head down to ground level. Dance slightly to a couple of songs, and then the band is finished.
Nice walk with Dora over to F-i-P and then up it, to fruit shop, and home by 9:15 or so.
Online, fix my tax return and submit again. I'm holding my breath that it doesn't fail again, this time demanding a US ITIN for Dora. It did fail, error message is related to spouse but not clear. Can't put "NRA" in spouse's SSN field. Tried checking the box for "spouse itemizes on separate return", maybe that will get around it. Submitted again.
2019-03-24 (Sunday)Dora out to work 10-10. Sister out at about same time, off to the airport and the South, but will be right back here again in 5 days or so. Niece out at noon to go play/eat/study with a friend.
Online, my US federal tax return was accepted ! Form had a couple of tricky things about it, I had to give Dora's name but not in the obvious place, didn't have to give an ITIN or "NRA" for her.
I did a little more work on my JAva application, got a little life out of the database.
Dora home after 11.
2019-03-25 (Monday)Day started at 8:30 with Dora having me cancel her 9:08 medical appointment. Later, she's out to class 12-2 and work 3-11. Quiet day and evening. Dora home before midnight.
2019-03-26 (Tuesday)Up at 8, out at 9 with Dora and niece. To medical clinic for an appointment for niece. Started waiting. Then Dora's mother arrived with niece's health card.
After 45 minutes or more, niece sees doctor. Eventually out, it was a waste of time, the kind of appointment Dora wanted can't be made online, have to do it in person here. So we'll have to come back another time. They stand in line for 10+ minutes to make the new appointment. Out, and Dora liberates €20 from me and catches a taxi to go see some doctor.
Home before 11, picking up Dora's father along the way, he's been waiting for us almost 90 minutes on the street. Niece out to school (actually, swimming this morning) about 15 minutes later.
Dora out 2-7. I'm out after 9 to try to buy calling-cards, no luck. Did get a prescription filled.
A little headachey; took a Neobrufen.
2019-03-27 (Wednesday)Dora out to class 12-2. I'm out to fruit shop. Late dinner. I'm doing more work on the app I'm building. Dora out to work 7-1.
2019-03-28 (Thursday)Dora out to class 12-2. I went out in midafternoon to sit in VA plaza and then get groceries and fruit. Water-bill in the mail: in a 2-month period, we used 45 M3 of water instead of the usual 35 M3 or so, and the bill jumped from €150 to €250. More work on my application. Dora out to gym after 6. Online, filed my NJ state income tax return.
2019-03-29 (Friday)Woke up with the beginnings of a sore throat. Dora out to a job-interview. Dinner. I dashed out to an ATM, home, Dora liberated half of it from me. Dora and mother out to somewhere. I'm out again to buy groceries etc. More work on my app.
Dora's sister arrived from the south around 6. She had a suitcase full of stuff she'd bought at bargain prices, for us and for the sister in the north, and wanted to show all of it to me and tell me the great prices. But I was feeling achey, begged off and took a Neobrufen and laid down for a while.
Dora and her mother out all evening. To a beauty salon, it turned out, to spend the money Dora liberated from me. Home around 11:15.
Finally got popup menu working in my app; it was a struggle. Took a paracetamol.
2019-03-30 (Saturday)Headache, cough, bit of sore throat. I'm excused from taking niece to gymnastics class; her mother did it. Slept late and took a paracetamol. Dora out to work 11-11.
Small parade came by right under our front balcony at 10:30, about 6 drummers and 4 people with tambourines etc, half a dozen family walking alongside. They sounded good.
Back to lie in bed for a while. Later, a little exercise. Online, paid (from Dora's account) rent for son's apartment in Slovakia.
In the evening, out for groceries and fruit. More fun working on my app. Dora found out we're losing an hour of sleep tonight, clocks are changing.
Took a paracetamol before bed. Coughed a lot during the night.
2019-03-31 (Sunday)Cough, headache. Took a sumatriptan. Up at 8:45, had some breakfast. By 10, SNAFU: the women are trying to get out the door to take niece to her gymnastics competition, but working on hair and lots of shouting. I tell them when they have to go, to be on time, and they ignore me. I go back to bed. Eventually they leave.
I'm out after 12:30. To metro station, buy T-10 cards, to bus stop, wait 5 minutes. Longish bus ride to the waterfront, get to sports center around 1:15. Gymnastics competition going on. Soon Dora finds me. I don't want to sit with her and sister and mother in the middle of the crowd. I wander and listen to MP3s and sit in the sunny corner.
Finally after 2, the niece gets on the floor with 2 other girls to do a dance-type routine. She seems to do okay. Afterward, 4 or 4 other routines and then the competition is over. They all line up and get certificates and then the crowd starts filing out.
Takes a while to assemble with everyone, and they take some pictures. We start heading for the metro, but then they hail a taxi. No room for me, which is fine. I keep going to the metro.
Home before 4. And Dora wants me to go to a birthday party at about 4:30. No, I'm going to lie down. Dinner first. They're out at 5:15 or so.
Up later, still headachey, took a paracetamol.
They're back from the party at 8 or so. I'm still coughing and headachey. Did more work on my app. Took a Neobrufen and to bed early.
2019-04-01 (Monday)Up at 8:35 or so, coughing badly, and right away niece wants me to print something from her phone to the printer. I don't know how to do that. Try to find same web page on my computer, but it's starting up and slow. Find same page in English, but Spanish version won't load. She gives up and goes to school.
Achey and coughing and sneezing. Took a paracetamol. Dora going very late to her Catalan class.
Waited to have dinner with Dora, and that was a mistake. She and her sister got home after 3:45, and the three of us were starving. Dinner, then I went out to pay tuition at niece's school (€146 this time), then for groceries and fruit/veg.
Still feeling bad. Took a Neobrufen. Worked on app in the evening. Did tech support for Dora and sister as they did lots of computer stuff.
2019-04-02 (Tuesday)Dora out to a medical class maybe 9:30-1:30 and then work 3-11. I feel pretty good, but every now and then I have a bad coughing spell. Out for a lightbulb and groceries in midafternoon; sprinkles of rain. In the evening, filed my FBAR declaration to USA.
Typical: after 11, sister says her phone is full. She's flying out early tomorrow, but she says maybe when she comes back next week I can copy stuff out for her. She rejects every suggestion I make that she delete old junk out of the phone
More work on my app. Dora home a bit before midnight.
Dora stayed up all night, never went to bed.
2019-04-03 (Wednesday)Feeling lousy, took a paracetamol and cough syrup at dawn. Dora out very early, 7:30 or so. I stayed in bed until 10:30 and still felt lousy, headache. At 11:30, took a sumatriptan. Dinner, napped. Dora home at 4:15. She ate and then napped. Out with her after 6:15 to walk her to metro, and she went to work 7-1. I went for groceries.
2019-04-04 (Thursday)Still headachey. Took a paracetamol. Back to bed. Dora out to class 12-2 and work 3-11. Still headache. In evening, took another paracetamol. Dora home at midnight.
2019-04-05 (Friday)Dora out at noon to meet someone in the center, and then work 3-11.
2019-04-06 (Saturday)Up at 7. Out after 8 with father and niece. Missed bus by 2 minutes, had to wait another 10-12 minutes in slightly cold weather. Onto bus, to waterfront, walked against a cold wind to the sports complex. Niece into rhythmic dance class, I went to find the warmest corner I could. Listened to MP3's and read Spanish textbook a little.
Picked up niece at 11, brief snack stop, then to the bus stop. Home by noon, feeling cold. But right back out to hit ATM and buy ribs at the butcher.
Dinner, loafed, out in early evening for calling-cards but couldn't find any, got groceries.
Out at 8:35 with niece and father and Dora. To a bar to watch first half of Barca - ATM game. A bit crowded, the game was good but 1-1 at the half. Home after 9:45.
11, going out with Dora to go dancing. Tried going to a new disco, but they're CLOSED on a SATURDAY night ? Went to our usual place. Crowd younger this time, mostly our age. Different kind of music this time. A lot of it was 90's pop that we didn't recognize and didn't like much. But the rest was okay, danceable, we had a good time. Home a bit before 2:45.
2019-04-07 (Sunday)Slept until 11:30 or so.
Out at 1:30 or so, Dora and mother before us, niece and father with me later, to a Peruvian restaurant. Nice meal of chicken, potatoes, noodles with beef. Loafed at the table afterward. Home by 3:30. Dark skies and some thunder in the distance.
2019-04-08 (Monday)Dora out to class 12-2 and work 3-11. Quiet day. Dora sent message that she passed her test in Catalan class. Headache in late evening, took paracetamol.
2019-04-09 (Tuesday)Headache before dawn; took a Neobrufen. Dora out to gym. I went out at 12:30 with Dora to library, housing office, fruit shop. After dinner, online, bought plane tickets for Dora's mother and niece to go to Peru for a couple of months this summer.
I'm out after 4, down to metro L1 through light rain. To Arc de Triomf, to language school, picked up refund. Walked to Placa Catalunya, but it's crowded and the weather is grey and almost raining. Into metro, crowded, out at FiP, to fruit shop, home after 5:30.
Headachey in late evening; took a Neobrufen.
2019-04-10 (Wednesday)Had to dress quickly and escort niece to school; the family she usually walks with is late today. Dora with sore throat, but out to gym anyway. She's home, but has to leave again before we have dinner. After dinner, I'm out to sit in VA plaza and then get groceries and fruit. Dora home at 4 or so. Watching a digger across the street tear down the brick wall and concrete walkway between us and the park. Rain starting. I'm out at 5:30 to buy calling-cards.
Out again, at 6, to pharmacy to buy a ton of medicines for Dora's mother and for the household in general. The paperwork for only the medicines for Dora's mother says that on the open market (I guess) they would cost €490. I bought them plus various household stuff (pain relievers, antibiotics, creams) for about €20, because she's on the NHS and listed as extremely low-income.
Dora out to work 7-1.
2019-04-11 (Thursday)Dora up and out early, I don't know where to.
Out after 1:30. To Llucmajor metro, stopping on the way to get change for a €50 bill. To Alfons X, out and hustled up to the medical clinic, only a couple minutes after 2. Dora had said she might be done before 2, but she came out at 2:20.
To a kebab shop for lunch. As we were finishing, Dora got a call that her niece has pain when breathing deeply, she and Dora's mother are off to the medical clinic near home.
Back to metro with Dora, to Urquinona, long walk to connect to other line, out at Placa Catalunya. Dora headed off to a train to Sarria, I went to La Rambla and sat for a while, listening to MP3s.
Eventually walked over to the cathedral square. Loads of people everywhere. Over to Jaume I metro and rode to Maragall. Down to the medical clinic and found niece and mother waiting.
I got there a little before 5, they'd probably been waiting at least half an hour, and they didn't get in until 6. Hot in the waiting room, I'm overdressed for this. Out in 10 minutes, niece probably has muscle strain or spasm, no problem, not even a directive to take ibuprofen or something.
We walked home, stopping halfway in a pastisseria to give the niece a dose of cheesecake (and some and a coke for Dora's mother, who tires easily, and a chocolate donut for me). Home before 7.
Dora's sister arrived from South around 7:15, and Dora arrived at 7:30.
2019-04-12 (Friday)Niece decided she doesn't want to go to school today, and her mother is letting her get away with it. After a bunch of shouting about that, Dora went out before 9 to the gym. Dora's son arrived from Slovakia about 15 minutes later.
People going all different directions. Dinner without Dora and Mily and son. I went out to sit in VA plaza for a while, then to farmacia, then groceries.
Dora and sister home around 4:15, tired and starving.
Online, started my wealth tax return for Spain.
Out after 8 with Dora. After much back-and-forth, we figured out how to open a car-entrance door into the parking garage underneath the building; the clicker works on one set of doors but not the set on our side of the building. To a donation box to donate clothes. To Caprabo to buy groceries and a cake, and I was reminded why I hate grocery-shopping with Dora. As usual, we came out with 50% more than we could carry comfortably, and 100% more than I intended to buy. Home after 9. Cake we got barely fits into the refrigerator.
Good thing we didn't go dancing as Dora had suggested. By 10:30, I was mostly trying to stay out of the way as they cleaned and rooted through boxes and laid out a mattress and did several set of sheets etc.
2019-04-13 (Saturday)Up at 8:30. Found that the family from the North didn't arrive at 3 AM as expected, now they're going to arrive at 11 or so. And niece and her mother didn't go to gymnastics, because she maybe has a muscle strain or something. Dora's mother is starting to cook dinner already ?
Dora out to work 11-11.
A couple of false alarms, then the car from the north arrived at 11. Loaded with stuff, and one of the twins was car-sick. I was wrong, people who told us the building car-door would open if a car was near it when we clicked the remote were right. They drove in and down to -4 in the parking garage. Three trips for 3 or 4 of us to haul everything up in the elevator.
So now there will be 11 of us in the apartment, for a week or so. Except Dora will be working, and her sister's husband has to go back north tomorrow night because he has to work.
My cough getting worse in the afternoon. Took a paracetamol and napped. Out for a bit to sit in VA plaza and then do groceries and fruit.
More napping, then took a Neobrufen, then we had a birthday party for the niece, Dora's father, and sister's husband. The cakes were delicious.
2019-04-14 (Sunday)Feeling bad, mostly a headache. Up at the crack of 10 and took a paracetamol. Six people in the kitchen. Dora out to work 11-11. Back to bed for a while.
As expected, around 2 Dora's sister handed her smartphone to me, it's down to zero free space, I have to move stuff to a backup disk and remove obvious junk.
Took a sumatriptan, and half an hour felt better but tired.
Did sleep at all during the night. Headache, and cough. Finally at 5 or 6 AM, took a paracetamol and started antibiotics. Still can't sleep.
2019-04-15 (Monday)Sick all day, mostly stayed in bed. Bad headache, and felt feverish, and sometimes a bad cough. Dora fed me various pills, and some soup, but I didn't have an appetite. Took a hot shower after noon, and felt better briefly, but back to bed.
Found out later that niece still isn't feeling well, and one of the twins has been vomiting so much that they took him to the medical clinic. What's really flooring me is a sinus-type headache I can't get rid of. Probably should have taken sumatriptan, but Dora fed me Nolotil and various other pills, an inhaler, and something to help me sleep.
Finally got 4 or 5 hours of sleep in the evening. Up at 10:30 or so to eat soup, and felt half-decent, only the barest hint of a headache, and still a bad cough.
2019-04-16 (Tuesday)Feeling tired but okay. Got up at 11:30 or so, showered, dressed.
Dora out to work 3-11. Online, ordered some legal documents about Dora's sister's properties. Had to wade through various paper legal documents first, and the situation is not pretty.
Out before 6 to walk a little and buy fruit.
2019-04-17 (Wednesday)Up after 11, surprised to find it's so late. In email, received legal documents about sister's apartments, but they only show the initial mortgages, and not even the down-payment amounts for those. Talking to Dora later, she thinks the bank is intent on quickly taking the apartment we are living in, so I guess I should start looking at listings of apartments for rent.
After a big screaming match with Dora about homework etc, niece is out to stay at friend's house overnight.
Dora's son and father both feeling a bit sick, maybe getting what the niece and I had.
Out at 3:30 or so (?) with Dora and sister and the 4-year-old twins. Down to F-i-P metro and out at Arc. The boy fell asleep on the metro and I had to carry him from the train, through the station, and across two streets to the Arc. His mother says he weighs about 20 KG, I was glad to put him on his feet as we woke him up.
Fun to walk through the Arc and down the promenade. We bought helium balloons for the kids. Down to Parc Ciutadella, across to the fountain area. Stopped for sodas and coffees. Around the corner to take pictures at the statue of a mammoth. To the rowing pond, and soon we're all piling onto a rowboat. I rowed us around, Dora kept wanting us to go longer and longer. then Dora wanted a turn, and while shifting positions I managed to let one of the balloons get away.
Out, and over to Born CC, making a couple of overshoots as Dora insisted on ranging out front of us although she didn't know where we were going. In and used bathrooms.
Out and across to a church. I felt strange going in holding a big blue shark helium balloon. But no one stopped me.
Then the plan kept changing. I thought we were going to the Jaume I metro and going in, Dora to work and the rest of us home. But when we got there, Dora led us into a cafe and went off to work.
So we rested and snacked. One of the twins found some coins under the seat-cushion of their chair, and that led to a treasure-hunt, they ended up finding €2 or 3.
Finally out, and over to the cathedral. In, but they're having masses, and kicked us out after 2 minutes. Stopped so the kids could chase soap-bubbles made by a street guy. Started heading for another metro, but had to stop for bathrooms, even though I'd told them the cafe had bathrooms and they didn't use them. Throngs of people everywhere. Up to Placa Catalunya.
Into Metro, crowded ride to F-i-P, tired walk home. Got in before 8:30. I flopped down on my bed to rest for an hour.
2019-04-18 (Thursday)Dora out to work 9-2, at a second job. I think she signed up for a once-a-week shift to see if they'll hire her full-time.
I'm up at 10:30. Felt well enough to do some exercise. Out to ATM after 1. Dora home at 2:30.
Out at 5 or so with twins and Dora and Dora's sister. To VA plaza and onto 82 bus, and up to Castell Torre Baro. Which was closed, and the restaurant nearby was closed, and it was a little chilly, but we enjoyed it anyway. Back down and to a cafe near home. Home by 7. I went to lie down.
2019-04-19 (Friday)Up at 10:30. Day is starting with a crisis: sister and twins are supposed to fly home Sunday morning, but sister has left her ID card back home in the north, she won't be able to fly without it.
Out after 1, with Dora and twins and father and sister and niece. Cool windy day. To metro, out at Vall d'Hebron, to special bus stop to go to Tibidabo. Why we're going to the top of the hill on a cool, windy day, I don't know. And this place is expensive, just about the most expensive excursion in Barcelona. And by doing this, we'll miss the free parades around the cathedral at 5 and 6.
Now they're doing ticketing down here, but it's a bad as ever, each family takes a couple of minutes to figure out what to buy. So the fairly short line takes 15+ minutes. Fortunately, Dora lets her father go home, then lets me duck out too (after paying for everything, €105 for tickets, gave Dora more money to cover food etc). I see Dora and sister and niece and twins onto a bus, where it looks like they won't get seats, then head for the metro. Home by 2.
Quiet afternoon and evening. Then we're wondering, as it gets later and later and the group isn't home from Tibidabo.
Finally they call after 10, they're at the local VA Metro stop and need help carrying the kids the last several blocks to home. So I hustle out and meet them. They load me up with a heavy shoulder-bag, and I carry one of the twins home while the rest follow us. In after 10:15. And the kids start playing with toys, they're not falling asleep. Dora is aching; I make a hot tea for her and she takes some pills.
2019-04-20 (Saturday)Up after 10. Out at 5 to hit ATM and groceries. Cool and starting to rain.
Apparently the plan for tomorrow is that sister and twins will go to airport at 4 AM and tell police the ID card was just lost, need temporary papers so they can fly to the north. Hope it works.
2019-04-21 (Sunday)Up at 7:45, but sharp headache. Took sumatriptan and a little food and pills, and back to bed.
Up at 11. Heard that everything went okay at the airport, sister and twins are back in the north now.
Out at 9:30 with Dora. To metro, to Diagonal, walked to a disco we haven't tried before. In, and took a while to get comfortable, seating a little limited, and the music was changing too often for my taste. A second room had some good music, we stayed there a little. Came back from dancing and found a waiter had cleared away our drinks with 1/3 still left in them.
Then suddenly people were clearing out, the second room closed, the dance floor mostly emptied, the music started winding down. So we danced a little more, hit the bathrooms, and out. It was only 11:30.
Down to metro and home after midnight.
2019-04-22 (Monday)Headache. Took Nolotil and various pills, backl to be. Up at 11, still have headache. Finally felt better in early afternoon, after shower and dinner. Helped Dora carry a big load of bedspreads and blankets to the self-serve laundromat a block away, and she did the washing.
2019-04-23 (Tuesday)Dora's son off at 7, back to school in Slovakia. Dora out to work 9-2, home after 3. Out a couple of times in the early evening, to buy roses and to get groceries.
2019-04-24 (Wednesday)Online, bought plane tickets for 4 of us to visit Romania at end of August. Dora out to work, I think. Out a couple of times for groceries and to enjoy the sun.
Dora home after 5 after spending time in beauty parlor. She gulped some food, then tried to edit some files on the computer to fit abstracts under word-limits. We ended up annoyed with each other, and she went out to work late, so I had to give her money for a taxi. She's working 7-1.
2019-04-25 (Thursday)Dora out to work in the morning, then a Congress in the afternoon and evening ? I went out in midafternoon for walk and ATM and groceries.
Online, finally starting to change all my bank accounts etc from my NJ address to my Spain address, holding my breath that nothing breaks. Had to make a couple of Skype-calls to 401K company, but so far everything is working.
Out in evening to walk and do some shopping.
Dora home at 10:15, very tired.
2019-04-26 (Friday)Got up late, at 10. A little headachey.
Out a couple of times during the day for walks etc.
Received a package for Dora, paid €73. Found out later I'm supposed to use it to paint the living-room walls, pronto.
Headachey in the later evening; took a paracetamol.
Dora home at 11, with two ladies from her medical congress who will sleep here tonight.
2019-04-27 (Saturday)Up at 7. Out after 8 with father and niece, to bus, to sports center. Big gymnastics competition going on. Niece into class for 2 hours. Out, straight to bus, home before noon.
Out in midafternoon for groceries.
Dora home after 11:45, very tired, and she has to go early tomorrow morning.
2019-04-28 (Sunday)Dora groaned out of bed just before 7 and off to work 8-4. I got up at 10:30.
Out after noon to hit ATM. Out again before 1 with niece and father. Lots of people lined up to vote; it's election day. To niece's tutor, where I paid €190 (owed €10 change) for lessons for niece and her mother. To VA plaza to sit for a while.
Dora home after 5:30. Neobrufen for her, paracetamol for me. I went to lie down.
About 8:30, out with niece, to HCC to meet Dora and a friend of hers in a cafe. Food I didn't really want, some nice conversation. Finally out before 10, home before 10:15. Still headachey.
2019-04-29 (Monday)Dora out at 10, back at 1:45. We eat dinner, then hustle out at 2:30. We have to get all the way across town (actually, to Hospitalet over somewhat near the airport) to the central Justice building to pick up papers about the apartment for her sister. And Dora happens to mention that there's a Metro slowdown strike today, which probably will bite us on the way back; why couldn't we do this some other day ?
Train came quickly. Long Metro ride to Placa Espanya, and I had to stand all the way. Out and up to bus stop, and soon onto H12 bus. Had to stand again.
Out, went a bit the wrong direction for a couple of minutes, finally got there. On the way, Dora mentioned that she thinks her power of attorney may be expired, so this may be a problem. SNAFU.
And then we found out the trip had been a waste; whoever Dora had called and said the office was open until 5 had not mentioned that the building entrance was closed at 2:30.
As we head back to a bus stop, Dora mentions that she needed to take the papers right to a homeowner's-help meeting at 5 back near Placa Espanya. No point in going to that, now.
Onto bus, to Placa Espanya, into Metro station. To a cafe and relaxed with drinks. Onto L1 metro, which is delayed and jam-packed. Standing all the way, of course.
Home by 5:15 or so, and I laid down for a while. Dora starts scanning documents into the computer, for some other chore she has to do with a medical association.
Tried to change address on my credit card from USA to Spain, Skype-calling to USA, and twice agents said no problem, but made minor mistakes. Third time, agent says they're sending out letters this month saying if you do that, they close your account. So I'll have to work around that somehow.
Headache in late evening; took a paracetamol.
2019-04-30 (Tuesday)Out at 10:15 with niece and mother, to niece's medical appointment. Arrived 5 minutes late, had to wait 35 minutes to get in. 30 minutes in, then out and talk about future appointment. Slow walk towards home, then mother went to a bank and niece and IO went to various stores. Home by 12:40.
I ended up cooking dinner, and Dora's mother was very late coming home from banks etc, and tired.
Dora home at midnight, very tired.
2019-05-01 (Wednesday)A holiday here (Worker's Day). Up at 10. Out at 1:30 or so with the whole family. To Peruvian restaurant for a nice meal, although it was a bit noisy and they didn't have tamales or Inca Cola. But they had a VERY nice dark beer from Peru, Cusqueña.
Afterwards, to HCC with Dora and niece, to get ice-cream at McDonald's and walk around. Home before 4:30.
Out at 8:45 with Dora, to find a place to watch the big Barca - Liverpool football game. To a sports bar just a block away, which turned out to be far bigger than we expected, with pool tables and hookah-smoking etc. But most tables are reserved, and we found one only to be told there was a €30 charge for the table ! Moved to a smaller table with no charge, but it was in the back under a bright light and there was a forest of heads blocking our view of the TV screen, which was massive but too low down. Out of there.
Walked down to a place we've been before, but it was full. Same at a smaller place. Walked a big figure-8 trying to find a place, even looking in HCC. Lucked onto a small place in an unusual direction, and we'd missed the first 25 minutes of the game. But our timing was good, a minute or two later Barca scored the first goal.
Watched the rest of the game, which was a corker. Coffees and a very nice leg of roast lamb. Tough game, Barca won 3-0, but it could have gone either way. Lots of fun.
Home by 11:15, and fortunately Dora has given up on her idea of going dancing tonight, especially since she has to be up early for a job interview tomorrow.
We went to bed, but I couldn't get to sleep until about 2, and I think Dora got up around 3 or 4.
2019-05-02 (Thursday)Dora out to a job interview. I stayed in bed and ignored her suggestions that I go with her. Later she went to Catalan class.
Out around noon, and came back €400 lighter. To locutorio to buy a couple of calling-cards. To ATM. To niece's school where I paid €388 for tuition and lots of other charges including a trip-charge I didn't understand. To Dia for groceries.
Dora home around 3:30, and after some food, she's falling asleep. We went in for a nap.
I'm out at 6 or so, to ferreteria, to buy masking tape and a 5-liter bucket of paint for the living room walls.
Out at 8:40 or so with Dora, me carrying a big box to ship (although it weighed only 12 KG). Hauled it to ECI, and found we were there with only a few minutes to spare, they closed at 9, not 10. Shipped the box, took a quick look at disk drives, out. To estanco where Dora chatted with her friend who runs it, while I sat outside. She paid a €13 tab the niece ran up at the store. Home before 9:45.
Then Dora immediately starts preparing another box to ship. I'm supposed to buy a disk drive and then ship that box tomorrow, I think.
2019-05-03 (Friday)Raining pretty hard by mid-morning. Dora out to beauty parlor.
Out at 11, to ECI to buy 2 TB disk for Dora's son, €75. Raining steadily and moderately hard.
We have to go out the door to catch train to airport and meet people, and of course Dora arrives home late from the beauty parlor and says we'll take the next train, the people will have to wait in the airport.
So out before 1. Longish walk through rain to FIP metro, ride to Clot, go to train station section. Found that father's metro-pass is no good for the train, so I stupidly bought a roundtrip ticket for him instead of going back to the metro side and buying a T-10.
10-minute wait for the train, then on and to the airport before 2. Longish walk to the shuttle-bus, then over to the international terminal.
Had a bit of trouble finding the people we were there to meet, relatives arrived from Peru, because they didn't recognize each other at first. I guess it's been a while since they've seen each other.
We sit down, some of us hit the bathrooms, I gather maps from Tourist Info, then I buy food and drink. They talk and talk, and every now and then I'm poking Dora, telling her they need to get to the rental-car counters and see about a car. They're staying in Sitges, south of Barcelona, because some relative in Madrid told them to. Bad idea, because the husband needs to go to an international-studies institute in Barcelona every weekday.
Finally I lead them and Dora to the rental-car counters, and it's almost 3 hours before everything is set. They had trouble with debit and credit cards, one person paying while the other is the driver, all kinds of stuff. I mostly sat and waited with Dora's father and the grandmother who came from Peru, and spoke my limping Castellano to the lady.
Finally we head for the parking garage, get confused a couple of times, get there, more confusion, finally get to the car and load it up. Say goodbyes and Dora and father and I head for shuttle bus, train, walk home through very light rain.
Home at 8:15, and we're beat. Then I realize I need to do some errands before tomorrow morning, at a couple of shops and metro I just walked past. So back out into the light rain and did the errands. Home again and had some food and drink.
To bed at 11, slept well.
2019-05-04 (Saturday)Up at 7, shower, get breakfast, then find out niece isn't feeling well, so she's not going to gymnastics class this morning.
Dora's cleaning and moving boxes etc, and I just avoid it by going to lie on our bed and nap and listen to MP3's.
Out with Dora to buy a ton of fruit and veg, then to a shop to buy new pillows and sheets.
After dinner, I start getting ready to paint living room walls. Dora has bought some miracle-tools from a show on the TV, so I have to figure them out. I get started, and the edging tool barely works. The roller tool and corner-tool are better, but I could have done as well with the usual roller and brush (for much less money).
I planned to stop after one wall, but Dora tells me to keep going. She's helping with taping and stuff, and moving furniture. The TV said you could paint your living-room in 20 minutes, but it takes me about 3 hours to do 2/3 of ours. The first wall where I was painting white over white looks fine, but the second wall was white over tan, and it could use a second coat. And I don't think I have quite enough paint left to do the remaining wall anyway.
Cleanup, moving furniture back, then shower and some food.
In late night, Dora's hands and arms aching badly, I guess from ironing and cleaning and moving furniture.
2019-05-05 (Sunday)Dora's arms and hands still aching badly. We're up at 10.
As we're getting ready to go to Sitges, Dora asks me to super-glue her shoes. But the glue comes out a lot faster than I expected, goes a lot further than I wanted, now I have both paint and glue on my fingers.
Out around noon with Dora and father and niece. Tried to hit an ATM, but the only guy ahead of me was doing multiple transactions or failing each time or something; I gave up. Into VA metro, and long ride to Sants Estacio, standing all the way.
Bought a 10-trip ticket for €28 or so. Down to the track, and the train came within 10 minutes. On, and it's packed, I had to stand again.
To Sitges. I wanted to walk the 10-12 blocks to the apartment, but Dora arranged for them to come in the car to pick us up. So we had to wait 10-15 minutes.
To the apartment, and we relax for a while. These are relatives from Peru, and later a family friend from Peru.
After while, we had a dinner. Later, we all went down to the swimming pool. I said it was too cold to swim in, but the niece insisted. So she and I went swimming, and it was cold.
Out, dried off, and now they want to go to the beach. Great, it's only about 4 blocks away. But no, they want to go in the car to a hotel on the beach a 10-15 minute drive away. Foolishly, I wear my swimming clothes.
We get dropped off, then a long fairly cold wait while Dora goes into the hotel and changes into a swimsuit. Eventually she's out, but we go inside the hotel lobby to get out of the wind while we wait. Eventually the car shows up and the friend joins us. By now, the wind is strong, and sucking all the heat out of us, and there's not much sun left.
We head over a couple of blocks to sand beach, and now I'm really cold, worried about hypothermia. The only relief is on one side of a shack, where we're sheltered from the wind. Soon Dora and niece go to water's edge, and I go with them, and we take some photos. They splash in water up to their ankles, but we're all cold.
Out and back to the car to send the niece home, and we're back to the hotel, and I'm really chilled, and have a headache. I take a paracetamol, cover up with clothing, and doze while we wait yet again for the car.
Finally into the car and then home, and I get into warm clothing and start to recover.
We have birthday-cake for Dora's birthday, and a little cup of hot oatmeal-type stuff for each of us. Dora is talking and talking, while the friend and I are trying to get us moving toward the train station, it's getting late.
Finally out and into the car and to the train station, with about 2 minutes to spare to catch the 9:22 train. Plenty of seats, and I hand out powerbars to niece and the others.
To Sants Estacio a bit after 10, bathroom stop, then to the metro. Say goodbye to the friend. Onto crowded metro train, but miraculously we all get seats.
Long metro ride to VA. Home by 10:45, and we're all pretty tired and bit hungry. Took a Neobrufen and slept well.
2019-05-06 (Monday)Dora's alarm goes off at 7:15, and she says we/she have to go to Justicia again this morning. I'm up at 8:45, and she's still not dressed.
Out at 10:15 with Dora. Brief stop at niece's school to question a payment I made, ended up coming away with an additional payment I have to make. Into FIP metro.
Long ride to Placa Espanya. Quickly onto a bus, and to Justice center. We're trying to find out the state of the bank's mortgage on her sister's apartment, the apartment we're living in.
Several false starts, then got directed to the central information desk, where we stood in line for 20-30 minutes. It's clear Dora's going to completely miss her 12-2 Catalan class today, as I thought.
Finally a consultation, then sent to a series of offices. I thought we were making progress and gathering information, but later I found out everyone was just saying "get a lawyer and ask the lawyer". Well, the sister has a lawyer, but in the South not here in Barcelona, and she either is ignoring the lawyer or not telling us what is going on. At one point, we thought the legal process was over and eviction was next, but by the end it sounds like that still could be avoided or at least be some months away.
Out to another building, then another. Last stop is a free-help place, which is crowded. Dora stands through a 10-minute line and is told to start at Social help place in local govt complex, I think.
Out and into a restaurant, but now Dora is mad and in a hurry, and irritates the staff. We get out of there, catch a taxi to near her work, and go into a small Peruvian place. I don't like it, not much space, I'm jammed in and we're sharing a table with another couple. Dora eats a couple of first courses and some bread, then has to go to work. I get my second course, eat it, get hers to go, pay.
Out, into metro, connect at Diagonal, home around 4:30. "Good" news: the second notice of the huge water-bill finally has arrived in the mail, so now I can pay it. For some reason, the first notice never includes a bar-code, so I never can pay it. I go lie down for a while.
Out at 6:15 or so. To ATM and got a wad of cash. To ECI to pay the water bill, but there was a huge line, so I skipped it. To Mercadona for groceries.
Out again at 8:15. To ECI and only 2 people in line. Paid the water bill.
I'm tired in the evening, and Dora must be dead tired, she's still working.
2019-05-07 (Tuesday)Quiet day. Dora out to gym, home for dinner, out to meet someone.
I'm out at 3:45, to niece's school to pay a bill, then to Dia for groceries.
Out before 5 with Dora, to niece's school to pick her up. I went to ferreteria and bought shipping tape, paintbrush, and another 5 liters of white paint.
Home, and started emptying furniture and moving it away from the wall I have to paint. Slowly got things going, started doing edging with the brush, and Dora taped mouldings. When it came time to use the roller, the niece wanted to try, but after 30 seconds she was bored, and left it to me.
More bad news from the relatives in Sitges. The husband drove into Barcelona to go to the international institute for his class or whatever, and found there's a €10 congestion charge for driving into the city, and parking at the institute costs €13 per day. And today he looked at his driver's license and realized it expired in March.
Didn't need the second 5 liters of paint I bought today; finished the living-room just as the first jug of paint ran out.
Done painting by 8:30 or so, and cleaned up and moved furniture back. Really done by 9. The wall I did today looks fine, but the long wall I did a few days ago, over darker paint, definitely needs a second coat with the roller. And Dora wants me to paint the hallway and then the middle bedroom, I think. So the paint won't go unused.
Shower, paracetamol, food, adult beverage.
2019-05-08 (Wednesday)We forgot about Dora's 8 AM appointment with niece's teacher; she ran out late and got it done.
Online, paid tax bill to IRS; apparently I didn't click a field in the software to calculate my tax, so it left a zero in the field. Stupid software.
Dora out again to Catalan class.
After dinner, I'm out to sit in VA plaza (warm day), hit ATM, get groceries.
After 6, out with Dora to walk her to metro to work 7-1, sit n VA plaza, then groceries.
Went for a walk at 10:30. Warm out.
Did some work on my Spanish wealth tax filing.
2019-05-09 (Thursday)Dora wants to go to a medical congress in Rome next week, and take her mother with us so her mother can see (from a distance) the Pope. So I'm scrambling to find plane tickets and AirBNB.
Out in midafternoon to sit in VA plaza and walk. Dora home from class, long enough to eat and to tell me she has to be at the congress a day early, so I have to look at everything again. Then she's back out to class for an hour. And her sister and the relatives are coming to visit tonight, so I have to go buy fixings for dinner.
Dora and sister arrived from airport by taxi at 8.
The plane tickets just are not working, €700 or more for the 3 of us roundtrip to Rome. Later, Dora tells me she has to work (in Barcelona) until 1 AM on the Thursday and then be in Rome for a (nominally) 9 AM class at the congress, further tying my hands on the tickets. Now I don't want to go, but her mother wants to go to see the Pope, and someone has to escort her mother while Dora is in the congress.
For some reason, Ryanair doesn't like my PC, had to use Dora's. Started to make progress on tickets, then the relatives from Sitges arrived, and Dora started serving food. Bought tickets to Rome, but no confirmation has arrived in my email. Paid €444 (at a extortionate exchange rate to USD: $531) for the three of us and slightly more than hand-luggage, roundtrip.
Got a confirmation a couple of hours later. So we have tickets to Rome.
The relatives gave us some fine foods from Peru, including a very expensive coffee that has been eaten by a ferret or something and then excreted and processed. Dora was laughing when she gave that one to me, but I know what it is. (It's from Chanchamayo highlands in Peru.)
Almost 1 AM, and it appears the relatives are sleeping here tonight !
2019-05-10 (Friday)Up at 9:15, and managed to miss most of the crush at the bathrooms etc.
Dora and I out at 10:20, to go see an apartment. Dora forgot the address and didn't have a phone number, so it took us a while to find it (FIP 159). Turned out to be a lovely all-new place on top (7th or 8th) floor of a building close to niece's school. Terraces on both sides, with great views. But only one bathroom (I'd like two), no air-conditioning (big problem for Dora), and rent €1500/month. Dora desperately wants an apartment just for the two of us, but I'm leery of paying an extra €1800/month (rent, utilities) on top of what we're paying already. I want to wait until the legal situation of the current apartment is resolved. And Dora's parents and niece really need someone living with them.
Trying to finalize the AirBNB for Rome, but Dora (and her sister and her mother) is out for the rest of the day. And she hasn't registered for next week's congress yet, either.
Out at 3 or so with the relatives. To VA metro, rode L5, out at Sagrada Familia. They took lots of pictures. But we don't have tickets to go inside. We walk around, more pictures. Lots of tourists everywhere. Then they want to go to Placa Catalunya, a little awkward to get to from here.
But into the metro, 2 stops, connect at Diagonal, 2 stops, Placa Catalunya. We come out and find a bench and it's time to feed the baby. So we sit there for about an hour. Pleasant at first, but a little windy and cool later. We watch a swarm of police gather across the street and searching a couple of guys.
Then up and into the plaza, which is loaded with pigeons and people. As I'm walking in, some idiot stampedes all the pigeons into flight, and I stand still and turn away as a thousand pigeons go rocketing close past me.
Lots of picture-taking in the plaza, with pigeons and feeding pigeons etc. Feels nice to be out in the sun.
We start to go into El Corte Ingles to shop for a stroller, but that gets vetoed. We go down through Placa Angel, and to the Cathedral plaza, which is a big hit. Loads of people everywhere. Lots of picture-taking.
Finally done, and we go down along the side of the cathedral and to Jaume I metro station. Wait for train, and it's very full, but we push onto it. After 1 stop the mother with baby gets a seat, after 2 more the grandmother gets a seat, and a couple after that we all have seats.
Out at Llucmajor and walk home. Home at 6:45, tired.
At 7, the relatives leave.
Message from Dora says her mother won't go to Rome without the niece, and we don't want the niece to miss 2 days of school plus gymnastics plus sessions with her tutor. So I may have wasted €148+ on a plane ticket. On the other hand, I'll have a better time in Rome without the mother, and our AirBNB should be slightly cheaper.
Dora is home after 8, and she has a kidney stone, with pain and frequent urination and later feeling worse.
Out at 10:30 or so with Dora and sister, to emergency room. It's full of people waiting. Dora gets in within 5 minutes, but only to drop off a urine sample, then we wait and wait. She's finally in by about midnight, and she's in for a long time. Out before 1; they gave her a pain shot and prescriptions and a "don't have to go to work" paper.
Home at 1:15. I'm straight to bed, and I think the sister is too, she has to get up at 7:30 to take niece to gymnastics. But Dora stays up for a while.
2019-05-11 (Saturday)I'm up at 10:15, feeling groggy. Dora's mother is firm that she won't go to Rome without the niece, and I'm firm that the niece shouldn't miss two days of school, a test at school, gymnastics class, and at least one session with her tutor. Ryanair doesn't refund tickets, so that's €148 down the drain.
Dora feeling bad again after dinner.
In midafternoon, finally got the Rome AirBNB apartment done. Took about 8 tries to pay, had to fall back to PayPal. A little more expensive than I wanted, but it should be nice. Also Dora paid for her congress and course, which required me to set up a PayPal account for her.
Out a couple of times for various groceries and other items.
In the evening, Dora doing facial treatment on her sister.
2019-05-12 (Sunday)Out at 2 with father and niece, to meet Dora and her mother at a Peruvian restaurant. It's Mother's Day.
Restaurant is full, and it's a small place. We wait only 5-10 minutes for a group to finish and we get the table, but then it takes a LONG time for the food to come. The tamales and soda are disappointing, the chicken and potatoes and salad and sauces are fine. Desserts, lounge for a while, home after 4:30.
Dora feeling bad. I did some taping of woodwork in the hallway, she did some phone calls. Then we crashed for a long nap. I'm up at 7, headachey, but ready to paint. Took a paracetamol.
Painted the hallway for almost 3 hours. Lots of doorways and fittings to tape, and then a lot of the painting was with the brush. Like the one wall in the living-room, it's over tan paint, and will need a second coat.
Done and into shower after 10. Still headachey. Took a Neobrufen. Later gave in and took a sumatriptan.
2019-05-13 (Monday)Dora out to medical association and Catalan class. I went out a couple of times in the afternoon.
In the evening, I put a second coat of paint on the one living-room wall and the hallway. Didn't intend to do brushwork, but some of the edges really needed it, so I did that. Done by 8. Dora and mother out to medical clinic. I had to go out to meet them to carry their groceries home. Headachey in late evening; took a paracetamol-plus.
2019-05-14 (Tuesday)Headache. Took a Neobrufen. Dora gave me a couple other pills. She and her mother are out to medical clinic again, then to beauty salon.
I cooked dinner, and it went over fairly well.
Headachey; took a Neobrufen. Out in the evening with Dora and her mother. To Pakistani phone shop, then mother went home and Dora and I continued. To Correos desk in ECI, then to Correos office by Llucmajor. Then to a jewelry shop Dora knows, where she's friendly with the people.
I thought she had picked out a ring to buy, for around €500. Instead, I found she wanted to buy "couples rings" for the two of us, plain 18K gold bands for a total of €400 or €500. I don't want to do this. Then we looked at diamond rings for her, pretty small diamonds, rings in price range of €1000. Lots of talking, then finally we got out without making any commitment. Home by 9:15. I want to do some research, and look online.
Headache; took a paracetamol-plus.
2019-05-15 (Wednesday)Woke up with a headache. Dora rubbed on all kinds of Peruvian miracle-creams. Headache gone an hour later, maybe because of eating breakfast, maybe not.
Out after 2, lugging a bag full of folders and papers for Dora. To VA metro, met Dora as she went past in a train. We went to Vall d'Hebron hospital, up the hill to the HR office, and she spent over an hour typing stuff into the computer and talking to a worker there. I dozed and listened to MP3s. When we came out, she said it had been a great visit, she got a lot accomplished and got a lot of questions answered. Home after 5.
Dora out to farmacia and (tried) to gestor. Back.
At 9 PM, apparently Dora's mother has decided to go to Rome with us. And after 9, I find out the niece is going, too. She doesn't have a plane ticket, but Dora is trying to buy one for her. Going seems to be no problem, returning is a problem. I'm washing my hands of it, it's Dora's problem.
Trip to Rome:
2019-05-16 (Thursday)Up at about 2:50. Dora packing feverishly. Called Cabify at about 3:35, expecting they would take 15-20 minutes to arrive, and they said they'd be there in 3 minutes ! Dash to get everything and everyone down to the street and into the taxi. A few delays, and Dora's mother forgot her phone, and I think we have one extra suitcase, but we're off by 3:45 or so.
No traffic but plenty of traffic lights. To airport by 4:15 or so. The women into the bathroom for a while, then out and into check-in line. A bit of a delay at the check-in counter, because indeed Dora's mother has brought two small suitcases instead of the limit of 1, and some of our suitcases are a little bigger than their limit. But we get checked-in, and the women head back into the bathroom supposedly to reduce 5 suitcases to 4 and throw one away. But they come out and we still have 5 suitcases.
I have arranged wheelchair assistance for Dora's mother, and that solved all our problems. Friendly guy who enabled us to bypass all the lines, arrive at the gate just before boarding started, jump past two long lines of people waiting, and breeze in with all of our luggage, no problems about number or sizes.
Despite the lines, I'm surprised to find we end up with empty seats in the plane. Niece and mother get to sit together, and Dora and I each have an empty seat next to us. Uneventful flight, but at one point we went over an island with a snow-capped mountain at one end, and I didn't know what it was. Later looking on internet, I'm still not sure, maybe Corsica, too small to be Sardinia.
Land, haul our luggage out of the plane, wheelchair waiting for mother. Through terminal and to taxi line. Lots of freelancers trying to get us to their cars, but we go to the official line. Friendly driver, and he's a pretty good driver.
Long ride through bad traffic, but fortunately we're going to one of the nearest corners outside the city, not into the city. Lots of winding back roads, but eventually we end up at the hotel where the medical congress is housed. €53 plus a small tip for the taxi. Arrived at 9 or so, Dora's class is starting now.
It's a Waldorf Astoria resort hotel, way out of our league, with attendants everywhere who would like to help us. But we get in and find the congress area, and they're willing to stash our suitcases until this afternoon. One problem overcome.
Then Dora is into a class, and niece and mother and I don't know what to do. When this trip was just Dora and me, I had planned to take a bus down into the city and walk around. But now I'm stuck with mother and niece and too much luggage to move.
We move outside onto the terrace, and rest on sofas overlooking the pool. Nice day, nice place. But we're tired and hungry. I go inside and order a Coke and a slice of lemon-cake for each of us, that's about the limit of the selection available. We eat and drink and feel better, but the niece wants more.
An hour later, when I pay, I find out that our little snack cost me €27 ! I go downstairs and check out the restaurant, and prices are at least as high down there, we're not buying anything more in this place. We sit and doze.
I get Wi-Fi on my phone, and send WhatsApp messages to Dora, but it's well after 11:15 when she comes out and meets us. She has a tiny bit of food from the class: a thin sandwich and a glass of orange juice. The niece eats most of it, maybe Dora's mother gets a little. Dora and I go back inside and stand through a line to get one more sandwich and a jar of juice, and take it out to the others.
Looks like Dora's class has another 2 hours to go. She goes back in, and I head out to see if there are any stores in the area. Dora has been here before, she says there are some down the hill.
I find the area without any trouble, but it's a bit far for the mother to walk, and I wouldn't have taken her on an exploratory walk anyway. I go into a small grocery shop and buy a couple of kinds of cookies and a couple of apples, and back up the hill to the hotel. We eat and feel better, but the niece wants something with salt on it.
Finally Dora's out at 1:30 or so. We hit the bathrooms, retrieve the luggage, haul it out front, and get a taxi. This driver is a stereotypical Italian male hotdog, flooring it, tailgating everyone (even motorcycles). But we get there in a hurry, and the ride costs only €15. I noticed he was driving with his door ajar and no seatbelt, and I couldn't see any meter. So I think this trip was "off the books".
Out at our apartment, but we're early, and hungry. So around the corner and find a nice Italian restaurant, almost empty. Mother has lasagna, Dora has Tagliatelle, niece has spaghetti Carbonara, I have a pizza "capriciosa" (ham, egg, olives, artichoke, mushroom). We enjoy the food, but then Dora tells me that her son is coming from Slovakia to join us, now. Trip for 2 has turned into trip for 5. Fortunately the apartment sleeps 6, but I have to pay more for each person.
The others go to the apartment, I stay behind to pay the €50 bill. To the apartment, and the owner is friendly, but collecting €52.50 accommodation tax that is paid to the govt, and tonight he'll be back for €120 to pay for Dora's son staying here too.
The apartment is nice, everything's fine, except few electrical outlets and the extension-cord and expander I've brought don't fit in the outlets. But our chargers all fit into the outlets, so no big problem.
Dora's son arrives after 4. After 4:30, he and Dora are out to get him something to eat. Looking around 20 minutes later, I see that niece and mother went out with them too.
I went out around 6:30. Kept half an eye out for the others, but it would be an amazing chance to find them. I went up to St Peter's, stopping at a couple of ATMs before I found one that would give me €200. St Peter's was closed as expected, but the plaza had lots of people.
Walked down to the river, and Castle St Angelo. Bought an electrical adapter from a street-vendor. Walked around the Justicia building, then got slightly lost, couldn't find our street coming out of the far end of Piazza Cavour. Not seriously lost, but my map doesn't show all the streets, and it took me 4 or 5 blocks to get right.
Home by 7:45 or so, and the others are home, and they're beat. They walked and shopped and got a bit lost too. Dora is feeling sick and has a headache.
Soon I'm out to the supermarket-coop on the back side of this block, and buy a load of groceries and supplies. Home, stash it, and soon back out for another load. And as I left the store I think they were getting ready to close.
Online with Ryanair, was able to get a ticket for niece to return to Barcelona on same flight as the rest of us. Paid $267 one-way, but had to do it, and it's a relief to have that fixed.
Then Dora's son tells me that Dora told him the wrong end date, so he's staying in Rome one day more than the rest of us, and has to find a place to stay on Sunday night.
2019-05-17 (Friday)Awake at 8:45, but Dora's mother is in the (only) bathroom, and the women in this family are notorious for spending 45 minutes in the bathroom. The other women barge in to join her, but I have to wait 15+ minutes to get a chance.
Then suddenly no one is using the bathroom at all, and I get a shave and shower. Can't figure out how to get the water to come from the showerhead, but Dora tells me the secret.
Out at 10:30 to walk Dora to the metro, down Via Ottaviano, a shopping street she knows very well, and I remember from our last trip. Then I headed for a supermarket, finding an ATM along the way. A little confusion finding the supermarket, but got there and got groceries and got home by 11. Dora's son still not up.
Out at 12:30 with son and niece and mother. Up 4 blocks and over 3 and into Piazza San Pietro, and we find a LONG line to get into the basilica, a line that covers half the circumference of the piazza.
We get on line, and it moves reasonably well, but still we're 15 minutes getting to the end of it and through Security. Up and into the basilica, which is a bit crowded.
We wander through, taking pictures etc. Pics By the end of it, Dora's mother is exhausted and never wants to walk anywhere again, and the niece is dying of hunger. I gave powerbars to both of them while we were waiting in line, and now give powerbars to them again as we sit on the steps outside for 10 minutes or so.
Finally up, and across the piazza and heading toward home. We pick a cafe in Piazza Risorgimiento, because I don't think the mother can go any further, and she agrees. A decent meal, but €70 and not as good as yesterday's dinner.
Home by 3:15 or so. Niece immediately wants more powerbars, I won't give them, she starts eating muesli.
Out late to see if the print shop nearby was open, and had trouble finding it, because it was closed with a heavy barrier pulled down over it, and the restaurant next door had parked a table of 10 people on the sidewalk in front of it.
Dora not leaving the medical congress until around 7:30, but she had down to walk to a bus stop, just missed one bus and had to wait for next one. I walked to the bus stop near Ottaviano metro, and she had already arrived and was sitting outdoor at a cafe. She's tired, and lugging 4 bags of stuff. She had a coffee, we got groceries in a small Carrefour Express next door, then home by 9 or so.
Dora cooked tagliatelle for us; she says no more eating out, it's too expensive.
Out with Dora after midnight; she wants to go to Piazza Navonna. We caught the 492 bus a block from our apartment, and I suspect it was the last run of the night. Ticket machine was broken, so a free ride. Off and the walked in wrong direction for a while, had to backtrack, but it's a nice night and we're in a fashion-shop district. Eventually got to the piazza, and sat for a while and took some pictures.
Then Dora wanted to head in the wrong direction, said we'd end up at Termini station where all the buses start. But I can't even find the station on my map. And we ended up in the center, near the north end of the Colosseum district.
Luckily, Dora found a stop for the night-7 bus, which will work for us, and it came in 5 or 10 minutes. On, and it retraced our route. Crossed the river and we got off, maybe one stop earlier than we could have. But across the piazza and up Crescenzio about 8 blocks and we're home. At 2 AM.
2019-05-18 (Saturday)Laid in bed until 11, not able to sleep, not wanting to get up. Raining. Dora out at 10 or so, taking the (only) umbrella I brought.
Up, shower, breakfast, rain has stopped and sun is coming out a little, but the others want to wait until later to go out. And Dora's mother doesn't want to go out at all today.
Got an AirBNB hotel room for Dora's son for Sunday night, and it also solves our what-to-do-with-the-luggage problem on Sunday. The place is only about 3 blocks from here, even better.
Out at 12:45 to print plane tickets and hit an ATM. And of course the copy-shop one block away closed at 12. Another I found is closed on Saturdays. Tried a couple of ATMs. Walked up and down, eventually found an ATM that worked for me, and 2 doors away an internet cafe where I did the printing. Home at 1:45.
Dinner before three, and then we're STILL not ready to go out, son has to take a shower. I go out and find a tabac shop to buy bus tickets.
Finally out after 4 with son and niece. To nearby bus stop, and a group of people have been waiting for the 492 bus too, I think. After we're there about 5 minutes, they give up and walk. We wait almost 30 minutes for the bus; I think one bus must have had a problem or missed a rotation. But then we're onto a crowded bus, and stand. We get off earlier than planned, and walk to the Pantheon.
Loads of people everywhere. And the Pantheon is closed 4-6 for a mass, so we can't go in. It's 5:15. We linger for a few minutes, then head across to the Trevi Fountain. Crowds everywhere. We go down to the lower level of the fountain area, and son and niece take pictures of each other and throw coins in the fountain. Pics
Eventually we break out of the crowd.. I stop in a church for a minute, but the others won't even go in. We start heading east. We do a little window-shopping; this is a shopping street Dora likes. As we near Piazza Barbieri, a little rain starts. We find a shop and get gelatos, and when we come out the rain has stopped. Wander toward the piazza, eating ice cream and looking at shops.
Get to the piazza, go to the fountain in the middle, and finish our ice creams. Then, looking around, we notice that every metro entrance is chained closed; the station is closed.
So we head back down, I buy bus tickets on the way, and then we wait 10 minutes or more for a bus. On, and niece and I get seats. But the bus is packed.
Cross the river, get onto street for our apartment, and son and I are trying to coordinate our exit. But he hops off before niece and I can get to the doors, and we're carried another 6 blocks and past our apartment before we can get off. But no problem, we meet at the apartment door. Home by 7:15 or so.
Dora is home, in bed, and groggy and very tired. I lie down and nap with her for more than an hour. Up by 9 and have some food, and after a while, others are stirring.
I'm out for a walk, down to the castle and up to St Peter's and then home. Nothing special happening. Tonight is the "night of the museums", but I don't think too many museums here are doing much for it, and none of them are near us. And we're all tired, with an early day tomorrow.
Get home, and good timing, Dora has just finished cooking.
2019-05-19 (Sunday)I'm up at 8:15. Apparently Dora and mother have given up on their plan to go to an 8 AM mass in St Peter's plaza. Dora packing feverishly. I try to go to the bathroom for a shower, but Dora wants to shower now, so I have breakfast instead.
Then everyone's upset with everyone else, about luggage and bathroom and where we're going today etc. No shave or shower for me.
Finally we get the luggage done, we're leaving it here until later in the day, and everyone but the son is out at 9:05. And of course it's raining. At the building door, Dora says she's off to the congress, and leaves. Her mother sends the niece back to the apartment to get a coat, so we wait another 5 minutes for that.
Then the slow walk up to the Vatican and Piazza San Pietro; Dora's mother can't walk fast. We find Security screening at the outer perimeter, and then the niece and I get separated from Dora's mother and her mother has to wait in a later group. Then the niece is talking to someone who's already gone through Security, and it's Dora ! What is she doing here ? She wants me to tell the police to let her mother go first, she's an old lady, but I'm not going to tell police what to do.
Then we're all through, and we go up to the basilica. Dora and niece disappear while I'm waiting for her mother. We get inside, and can't find Dora anywhere. Ten minutes later I call her on the phone, and she says she's going to the congress and taking the niece with her, they'll be back to see the Pope at noon.
Dora's mother and I look around the basilica a little, and watch a procession of priests and altar boys and I guess a cardinal come in and go up to the altar at the far end. A mass is starting at 10:30. I'm going in and out, Dora's son is supposed to be coming here soon. Pics
We go around and up to the front to try to see the mass, and can't get close to it, you need a ticket to get into the actual mass area. Then we get moved along on one direction, and end up going down stairs to the crypts, not what we intended.
Eventually through them and dumped outside again, and we go around and back in. Soon I find Dora's son, and we sort-of-sit on some stonework and relax for a while.
Around 11:40, the mass is still going on. We head out into the piazza to see the Pope. It's fairly full, but not as bad as I remember from 3 years ago when Dora and I were here. Mother and son get a corner of a column-base to sit on, I have to stand.
Then the Pope appears at a high window on the other side of the piazza, everyone cheers, and lots of people get up, so I grab a seat on a column-base. I can see the Pope on a screen, which is good enough for me. He gives a speech in Italian, mentions a bunch of groups who are here in the crowd, blesses everyone, and is done in about 20 minutes.
We wait 10 minutes until the crowd thins, then make our way out, the way we came in. Dora's mother buys some souvenirs, and a Coke to boost her blood-sugar.
Now we head for an AirBNB where the son is going to stay tonight. We find it, get in, and the owner/manager is completely confused. He expected one person, here are three, he thinks we are two different groups, then he thinks two of us are staying the night. But he speaks Spanish, so soon we get it straightened out. Son gets keys, pay accommodation tax, I use the Wi-Fi while they use the bathroom. Dora isn't responding to our messages.
We head back to the original apartment, only a few blocks away, and start looking for a restaurant. Most are closed, but we find a nicer-than-we-wanted place on the next street over. Order food and get Cokes and keep trying to contact Dora. She's staying at the Congress longer than she intended. We're running up against a 3 PM deadline to get our luggage from the original apartment. I have a nice pizza, and the other both have lasagna, and the food is good.
Finally Dora says she's on a bus, and we pay and head to the apartment. The owner is very friendly and helps me carry the luggage out, and talks to us on the street. Then he has to go.
It's about 2:45, and we start waiting for Dora, and trying to send messages to her. We wait, and wait, and wait. Nowhere to sit. At least it's not raining.
Finally she and niece show up after 3:30. She lied to us about the bus (we think), and stopped to buy a suitcase, and then went to the wrong street (but that should have added about 2 minutes). The niece has been thoroughly bored all day, but perks up when I give her a piece of pizza I saved from our lunch.
Now I'm trying to hail a cab, but we need a big one, and they're all not stopping for me. Finally I hail a small one, Dora and I are shouting at each other, she tells me to go to the piazza to find a big one. The son and I go about a block in that direction and then suddenly a biggish one stops for him. So we get in and drive a block and start loading luggage. Say goodbye to the son, and we're off.
To the airport by about 4:40, plenty of time for our 6:15 flight. But Dora has to re-pack the luggage to match the weight limits, and of course today she acquired 5+ kilos of medical brochures to add to our already-pushing-the-limits luggage, and she's brought the leftover shampoo and stuff I wanted to just leave in the apartment. She re-packs and throws away half of the brochures as I take suitcase after suitcase to a scale to get the weights. I'm hot and sweaty.
Fortunately a short line at check-in, but the agent checks everything, every weight and the sizes of the suitcases. But we're all legal. Nothing said about the niece having an adult ticket (I had to fake her age so I could buy her solo ticket); I'm sure the adult ticket cost extra anyway, so they have nothing to complain about. Check the bigger bags, go off to wait for a wheelchair-assistant for the mother. I take off my coat and hoodie and feel cooler. Wheelchair appears in about 5 minutes.
The others go to a special line, but I have to go through the normal Security line. Not too bad, and I get to the gate ahead of them. Hit the bathroom, grab a seat, watch all the stuff while the others use the bathroom. Niece eats the second piece of pizza I saved from lunch.
Before long, the flight starts boarding. Through the gate, down ramps, onto a bus. Wait for it to mostly fill, then long drive to the plane. Up narrow stairs and in. Stow the suitcase and sit in my middle seat.
But fortunately, again every seat on the flight is not full, and I'm able to move to the window seat and leave the middle open between me and some guy on the aisle. Uneventful flight. Lots of cloud and rain over Barcelona as we approach.
Land, I'm off quickly, sit and wait 10 minutes for the others to appear, with mother in a wheelchair. Through the terminal and to baggage claim, and get our bags. To taxi line, and there's no line, we get a big cab right away. A woman driver, and she and Dora talk nonstop all the way.
Home after 9, and haul everything up to the apartment. Soon a shower and then food. But Dora says her relatives from Sitges will arrive tonight to say goodbye before flying back to Peru. So I have to get dressed again, can't just go to bed. I take a Neobrufen.
No sign of the relatives. At 11:25 I interrupt Dora on the phone, and she says they're not coming tonight, they're coming tomorrow at 7 AM. Wish she'd told me earlier. To bed.
[So, not a great trip. Spent more than 2x what I planned (happens when you add 3 people at the last minute), and didn't get to any museums. But Dora did her congress, mother saw St Peter's and the Pope, we had some good meals, I learned about more areas of Rome, etc.]
2019-05-20 (Monday)Other than getting up briefly at 7 to put a new cartridge in the printer, I determinedly sleep through Dora unpacking, niece going off to school, relatives visiting, Dora going to medical appointment, etc. I'm up at 1145. Dora home at 11:50, but immediately has to go to Catalan class.
Dora home after 2:30, as I'm going out for a bit. Walked a little, sat a little, got groceries.
Home, and Dora is in jammies and watching TV after eating. She's falling asleep in front of the TV, too.
2019-05-21 (Tuesday)Dora's father cleaned everything while we were gone, and now the glass door to the front balcony is so clean that he keeps walking into it. I put some stickers across it at their (not my) eye-level.
Around noon, everyone's out for various reasons, and I go out to buy ribs and fruit/veg. Home, and I start cooking dinner. Salad, rice, vegs, ribs. Niece and father home at 1:15, but niece doesn't want to eat. Dora says she and her mother are on their way home, but before 2 I give up and father and I start eating. Dora and mother home 10 minutes later.
Out with Dora around 4:45. To VA metro, out at VdH, catch H4 bus, go to medical association building. I sit outside for half an hour while Dora gets some certificate. Back onto H4 bus, a bit of confusion as we get separated at VdH metro station, but we meet on the platform, take the metro to VA.
I thought we might go to a cafe, but at last minute we go to optometrist, where Dora's parents are being measured for new eyeglasses. Then niece shows up with a friend and friend's mother, they've been to visit a gymnasium. They talk and talk, I wait outside, it's getting cooler. Father goes home.
Finally the talking is done. Dora and I go home, mother and niece stop in a cafe to buy a slice of cheesecake for the niece. Home by 8:30.
2019-05-22 (Wednesday)Out with Dora at 11:30, late for our 10:30 at the jewelry shop. But then she says she has to mail a legal letter, and she has class at 12. So we head for the Correos counter at ECI. Get 3/4 of the way there and she's forgotten her phone with the address in it, so I have to hustle home and back. Then wait 15+ minutes while Dora sends the papers.
She heads off to get a taxi and go to class, I go home. Warm day, just about T-shirt weather.
Switched off the pipes to the leaking solar-heat water-tank.
Out after dinner, to walk and sit and hit ATM and get groceries.
Opened the U-trap under the kitchen sink and removed all kinds of gunk. The drain had started backing up a little.
Out at 6 to meet Dora and niece at the medical clinic. Got there and couldn't find them. They came in 10 minutes later, they stopped at some lingerie shop or something.
Waited 10 minutes or so, they went in to the nurse, and she told them it's no emergency, go away and make an appointment (which I've already done, for next week).
Up to the jewelry shop, and in there Dora loves to talk, while the niece and I are standing around bored. I prod Dora a couple of times, and they bring out the diamonds they have to offer. Dora wanted a thickish ring, a big stone, and for me to spend a lot of money. They've only satisfied the third point. Thin ring, natural (I assume) diamond of 0.27 to 0.30 carat, for about €960. I can buy an equivalent (maybe; don't know about cut and clarity) natural-diamond ring on Amazon.es for 1/3 that price. Or a much bigger lab-grown diamond ring. But Dora doesn't want to buy online, she wants to buy in the place where she's chatted with them for hours over the last few years. And I guess buying online is not romantic.
Eventually out of the shop, start heading home, then Dora takes niece and they're headed for metro and Placa Catalunya for something. I stop in a fruit shop, then home by 7:30.
2019-05-23 (Thursday)Dora out to banks and other errands. I went out in midafternoon to sit and walk.
Out at 5 or so to walk Dora to the metro, she's going to a medical congress this evening. Got groceries and fruit. Home, just got changed into comfy clothes etc, then got a message from Dora asking me to get books out of the library for her. So back into clothes and out to get two books.
Dora home at 11:30. And wants me to move photos from her phone to an external disk. Which turns into a huge pain because she has 5400 photos probably totalling 10 GB in the Camera folder of her phone, and when connected to the computer the file explorer wants to access all of them before letting me do anything. To bed just before 1.
2019-05-24 (Friday)Light rain. Dora out early, back at 10:30 or so.
Out at 11 or so with Dora and her mother. Very light rain. To medical clinic. Waited half an hour or more, Dora went in, came out with a referral to another place.
Out, and now it's raining moderately hard. Stand on a busy corner for 5+ minutes trying to hail a taxi, but no luck. Walked up to a bus stop, soon onto bus. We're only going about two stops, looking for an address, but we manage to miss our stop and have to walkl back about 4 blocks.
Into another medical clinic, wait 10 minutes or so while Dora does the talking, use bathrooms. Out, and we will get a phone call from a doctor later.
Into a restaurant next door, and have drinks. Dora and her mother talk, and talk on phone to her sister. After a while I'm ready to go, but Dora wants to rest.
Finally out around 2:45. Dora into metro to go to congress, I lead her mother home through light rain. Home after 3, hungry.
Raining pretty hard after 6 or so.
Filed my Spanish wealth tax return.
Dora home at 10 or so.
2019-05-25 (Saturday)Up at 7. Wet outside, maybe light rain. Out after 8, no rain, to metro, bought T-10 card. Soon joined by niece and father at the bus stop. Onto bus, to sports complex. Niece into gymnastics class, I went into main building. A small volleyball tournament this morning, not very interesting. Sat and listened to MP3s and studied my Spanish book a bit. Niece out at 11, very slight rain. To bus stop, bus came within a minute, home before noon.
Dora's mother not home, her father and I cooked separate dinners for ourselves.
Out after 3:30 to get groceries and fruit.
At 4, a message from Dora, please come to the congress at Sants Estacio and escort her mother home. So out, to VA metro, ride to Sant Estacio. Find the hotel in the station, which I'd never been to before, and it's decorated in a spaceship / astronaut theme. Find mother, call Dora, wait 5 for her, she gives me more stuff to carry home.
Out of hotel with mother, around and into metro, home by about 5:45.
In the evening, started my Spanish income tax return. More complicated this time because I got married last year. Took a while to figure out how to get the web page set up with info about both of us and Dora's son. But then it worked well and showed three columns: numbers if we filed jointly, and numbers for each of us if we filed separately. Stopped for tonight; will put in my actual numbers later.
Watched Copa del Rey, Valencia - Barca, and Barca was down 0-2 at halftime.
Dora home before 10. At 5 in the hotel, she'd asked me to wait one hour until she was finished. Glad I didn't wait.
Barca lost 1-2.
Talked to Dora, and the next 4 days are packed with about 6 medical appointments, it seems.
2019-05-26 (Sunday)Fairly quiet day. Dora out for several hours, niece out too. I went for one walk. Lovely weather, a little warm for wearing a hoodie.
2019-05-27 (Monday)Up at 8. Confusing morning. Out with Dora around 10, to bank where it took almost half an hour to do her thing, to niece's school where she talked to teacher or director for more than half an hour. Then we collected the niece and headed toward Janeiro medical clinic. But we stopped for lunch, then split up. Dora and niece to clinic, I headed home with a bunch of stuff. Home at 1:15.
After a false step, Dora got a taxi and came home to pick up the mother and me. Off across town to the big Sant Joan de Deu hospital. Spent several hours there, out at 5:15, into a taxi, and down to an ENT clinic in Sarria. In, and we just beat a crowd by about 5-10 minutes. Out in about 45 minutes, and we're lost, this part of Sarria is a dead zone for mass transit and most of the streets are not labeled on my map. Up a couple of blocks, no better, went into a bar and had drinks and a rest. Took a paracetamol.
Out, hit ATM, over to Via Augusta, down to Mitre, caught H6 bus with about 5 seconds to spare. It's jammed, but Dora's mother gets a seat, and soon Dora and niece get seats. I stand all the way.
Out near VA plaza, I want to go home, Dora wants to go to a shop to pick up a coat she left for repair. First they go into a cafe to use the bathroom. When they come out, I say I'm going home, and take off, carrying a couple of heavy bags.
Stop in the fruit shop. Home before 8:30. Dumped my stuff and into the shower. Niece and mother home 10 minutes later.
Later, still headachey. Dora gave me a Lyrica and a diazepam, and I took a Neobrufen.
2019-05-28 (Tuesday)Niece has a fever and is staying home from school, and in bed.
Out at 9:30 with Dora's mother. To VA plaza, where Dora is supposed to meet us and we'll all get on a bus to the ENT clinic. But turns out Dora is in a hearing-aid store with her father, and I have to wait. By the time she comes out, we're late and I'm mad and we go without her anyway.
Bus comes quickly, long ride, off and slow walk to the clinic. Get there about 10 minutes late, but it doesn't matter, they're just opening for the day. I sit in the nice waiting-room and mother gets a treatment.
Out, walk to a bus stop, bus comes quickly, long ride back to near Cotxeres clinic. Head for home, but stop in a cafe to use the bathroom and have drinks. Home by 12:35, and we're tired.
As soon as I get comfortable, messages from Dora saying make medical appointments for tomorrow, come bring an umbrella to me, etc. Lots of back-and-forth over WhatsApp, make and then cancel appointmens, finally I get appointments. Get dressed again and go to meet Dora nearby. Give her an umbrella, take a bag of stuff to take home, and I go. Home, lie down. Take a Neobrufen with dinner. Dora home as we're finishing eating.
Online, doing my Spanish income tax. Not too difficult (although the place to put capital loss carryover took some effort to find), but the new wrinkle is that we're married now. I push a button and get a three-column display of how things would look if we filed separately or jointly. But the numbers don't match Dora's printed return, and they say we should file separately, which doesn't make sense to me. She earned a salary and I have mostly a break-even return, so I thought a joint return would save money. But her situation is complicated, she worked part of the year as both autonomo and salaried.
Out in early evening, Dora and I and father to the eyeglass place. We pick up his glasses, mother will pick up hers some other time. I pay €300.
Go with Dora to try to see gestor about taxes, but they're closed. Dora goes off to phone shop. I go to metro to buy T-10 cards, then to pharmacy, then to Dia for groceries.
Go home, stash the groceries, and Dora didn't go to stationery shop. So I go out, try another pharmacy, and then pick up stuff she ordered and paid the small bill the niece has run up. Home.
Well, got €400 out of the ATM yesterday, spent €365 this evening.
And later Dora tells me that, after we left the eyeglass shop, her father went back and returned the glasses, saying he didn't like them. So maybe we wasted €150.
Later, still headachey, took paracetamol.
2019-05-29 (Wednesday)Niece has flu and is staying home from school, and in bed.
Out with Dora to pharmacy at 9:45 to get lots of medicines for niece and mother and rest of household. Home around 10:15, Dora is off to a medical appointment for her son.
But we forgot to transfer the niece's medical card to me, so I'm back out to find Dora at a clinic. I overshoot it and do a lot of extra walking, but get there and get the card, and home by 11:15.
Out at noon, to take niece to pediatric-urgent, and Dora's parents to medical appointments later. Gave up trying to get a taxi after 10 minutes, called Dora and she did Cabify. Back to apartment, car came, in and to medical clinic.
Waited about 45 minutes for someone to see the niece. Later she was out and to bathroom to give urine sample. Dora showed up (she left class early) and took her parents upstairs to their appointments. Niece in to have a blood sample taken. Dora and parents back. I took a paracetamol. Some more talk, then downstairs for some paperwork.
Eventually out, need two taxis, because Dora isn't going home, she's going to a lecture at work ? She called Cabify for her, I think, and I managed to flag down a taxi for mother, niece and me. Home around 2:45.
Dinner, then out to pharmacy, but the missing item hadn't arrived.
Out after 5 with Dora's mother. Slow walk to the bus stop, long crowded hot ride to the ENT clinic. Was trying a new stop today, a wheelchair was coming on, so I had us get off at what I thought was one stop early, but it was two stops early. Longish slow walk to the clinic. Still headachey; took a Neobrufen.
Out 20-25 minutes later, walk to bus stop, bus very crowded, I had to stand almost the whole way.
Out, over and across VA plaza and to the eyeglass shop. Waited while mother had her glasses fitted, then found I could have left 15 minutes earlier, because Dora was back there with her. Home by 8:30.
Still headache. Took a Lyrica and a diazepam, and they mostly worked.
2019-05-30 (Thursday)Niece still sick, but improving.
I tried the expensive coffee from Peru, the one whose beans have been eaten by a ferret or something and then excreted and processed. It's from Chanchamayo highlands in Peru. Dora was laughing as I brewed it. It tasted smooth and nice. I'm not sure if she tried any of it. I was going to joke "it only tastes a LITTLE like feces" after she tried it.
Dora out to bank, and gestor about taxes. Online, I did tickets for her son to come here from Slovakia next Tuesday.
Out to pharmacy. Home, out to Dia for groceries etc. Warm day.
Dinner. Later, out to carry bags home for Dora, at 4. I asked her if she drank the coffee this morning, and she said she gulped it as she dashed out the door, doesn't remember how it tasted. So I said the feces joke, and she protested.
Headache; took a paracetamol.
Out around 5:15 with Dora's mother, walk to bus stop, long ride but not too crowded. To medical clinic, in, wait, out. Long bus ride back, and I had to stand about half of the way. Home, and I'm immediately back out for groceries and fruit. Home again by 8:20.
2019-05-31 (Friday)No internet access in my Linux laptop; maybe last night's update broke something ? Dora's laptop works okay. Fiddled around, rebooted mine, it works.
Niece still home from school, she's not 100% and they're having a class trip today, I think.
Around noon, people going out to medical appointments, Dora in metro and then going to get a taxi when she gets out and meet them at clinic. But I'm staying home, I don't feel like getting involved.
Dinner, then Dora home later.
Out after 5 with Dora's mother. Walk, bus, walk, ENT clinic, walk, rest, bus, walk, rest, walk. Home a bit before 8.
Niece still a bit sick, so we don't have to get up early tomorrow to take her to gymnastics class.
2019-06-01 (Saturday)Dora and mother out to city center for something. I went out after noon, to hit ATM and buy ribs at the carnisseria. Hot day.
Dora and mother stayed out, and finally I cooked dinner for niece and father and I.
Out twice in afternoon. To Mercadona for various things, home, out again to Dia.
Out before 8 with Dora to buy cake-baking pans.
Thought of going out to a bar/cafe to watch the Champion's League final, but decided not to bother.
Dora started cake-making around 9, and the baking continued after 11. She mixed up big vats of mix, and then I found it was for two cakes, my birthday cake and something else ? The first big layer did some kind of volcano thing, but the next couple came out okay. Then Dora backed a thin layer and sliced it horizontally, and made some kind of roll-cake with peaches and caramel or something. Pics.
With cleanup, finished with the cakes after 11:45. Assembly and icing to be done tomorrow.
2019-06-02 (Sunday)Dora up early, maybe at 6, and finished the cakes. When I staggered out at 8:30, the table was set for a breakfast birthday-party (two things that should not be combined, IMO). But I got dressed and Dora took pictures as I opened presents and blew out candles, and everyone was very happy. We ate the peach roll-cake, which was okay. Three big chocolate cakes for later. Pic.
By 10:30 or so, Dora crashing to sleep for a couple of hours. I joined her for a while.
Dinner at 1:30 or so, very nice pork ribs and more.
In the evening, out for a walk by myself, then out again later with Dora for a long walk and talk about various family issues (health, where people are going this summer, etc).
2019-06-03 (Monday)Stayed up too late last night, and I had hoped to sleep slightly late this morning. But no such luck, up at 7:45, several minor medical crises, so today will be full of medical clinics again. Niece not going on her long-reserved 3-day school trip, so that's some €250 down the drain, but that is nobody's fault, can't predict sickness.
Dora arranging a private-medical visit since the NHS lost her reservation for a scan. Her mother not feeling well, may skip the normal daily visit we've been going to by bus. As usual, the burden of everything is falling on Dora.
Out after 9:15 with Dora and niece. Walked to Janeiro medical clinic, got there after 9:30. Dora in to see her doctor fairly quickly, and got a paper saying she doesn't have to work. Downstairs to the pediatric floor a little before 10, and they said niece will be seen at 10:20. But she didn't get seen until 11:30. Long, hot, noisy and boring wait. They're in and out in less than 5 minutes, I don't know if anything was accomplished.
I hustled home to grab stuff, and met niece and Dora at tax gestor's office. In and I tried to see if the gestor was correcting the mistakes in Dora's income tax return and why the gestor's numbers are the opposite of what I printed from the Renta web site, but it was impossible. Neither of them wanted to listen to my questions, the gestor was typing away, Dora kept squelching me. The current numbers look very favorable but I don't understand the discrepancies. Later Dora said she added a whole set of income to her return after I looked at it and printed the three sets of numbers; maybe that's true.
Gestor filed the joint return and printed it, and started talking with Dora about other business while I looked at the printout. He misspelled my first name (not a problem, my ID number is correct), the return consumed almost none of my carryover capital loss (good for me for next year, but I don't understand why, it should have offset some of Dora's income or some of my interest/dividend income), and it says we still were renting in Jerez last year (totally wrong and I hope it doesn't cause a problem for our former landlord there, his ID number and the apartment's ID number are in our return, but gestor says it doesn't matter). Sloppy and unsatisfactory, but done and Dora will get a big chunk of money back.
Home at 12:45.
Out after 3. Walked a big triangle-plus, to ECI to mail a letter, to niece's school to pay the tuition, to metro to buy T-10 cards, to Dia, to fruit shop.
Out at 5 with Dora's mother. Walk, bus, walk, ENT clinic, walk, rest, bus, walk. Home by 7:50.
Napped after 9. Headache; took a paracetamol-plus.
2019-06-04 (Tuesday)Niece to school today, first time in a week. Dora off to three medical appointments at a private hospital. Dora's son arrived at 9:30 from Slovakia.
At 11:30, son and I off to medical clinic to see doctor and nurse about Dora's mother. Good news on one item, but came away without new prescriptions we wanted.
Dora still at private hospital at 2; home by 4 or so.
Headache in the evening; took a paracetamol.
2019-06-05 (Wednesday)Headache, took Neobrufen. Wanted to sleep in a bit, but SNAFU, and I had to get up briefly at 6 and then longer at 8:15. We've lost a sample bottle Dora brought from the hospital, and then I had to find and print and copy four Peru DNIs. Fortunately I'm not getting tagged to take Dora's parents to the Peruvian consulate; her son got rousted out of bed and tagged for that.
Out to Dia for groceries. Package arrived for me: new keyboard for my laptop. Started cooking dinner.
Niece staying at school and eating there. Dora's mother, father and son not home until before 3, and the son won't eat now, he has to go out.
Out to ATM and Dia and fruit shop.
Dora and son home at 6:30. She's tired but in good spirits; I thought she would be dragging.
Out for a late-evening walk; lovely cool weather.
2019-06-06 (Thursday)Dora out all day, mostly at hospital. I went out several times for groceries etc. Dora home briefly 3-4, then out again until 9:45. She did about 4 medical appointments today, plus 1 or 2 with her son.
2019-06-07 (Friday)Dora out to medical appointment.
At 12:15 or so, I had bad kidney pain in my left kidney. I knew what it was; I have a long history of kidney stones. Laid down and felt a bit better. Lousy timing; Dora is going to have a kidney stone procedure this afternoon, and we're starting vacation on next Wednesday.
Dora home, and gave me a Dexketoprofeno to take. It worked pretty quickly.
Out to Dia for laundry detergent etc.
Out at 4, late as usual. Dora has to be at hospital by 4:40 for the procedure at 5. Her mother catches up with us at the bus stop; didn't know she was coming. Onto H6 bus. Long ride to CIMA hospital, arrive a little before 5. Up to 2nd floor for Dora, then I take her bottle to lab on 0, back to 2 to wish her luck as she goes into the room. Then I'm down to -1 to Urgencies.
I show my card, get a number, wait a little, into Triage. Tell my story, nurse takes temperature, off to pee in a bottle. Wait, get called into main area of urgencies, wait. Examined by someone, IV tap put on my wrist, wait. Out to main area, wait.
Eventually a nurse takes my vital signs. Wait. Wheelchair guy takes me to x-ray, where I think they do both kidneys. Back to urgencies, and wait.
Dora's son shows up and tells me she's fine, just a little sore and groggy after the procedure. Wait more.
Dora shows up, and she looks sore and tired. Some talk with the personnel, then she leaves to go hit the cafeteria for coffee, she hasn't eaten all day.
Wait. Dora's son comes back and stays with me, and he knows at least one of the nurses here. We wait and wait.
I'm reaching my limit, but finally his friend shows up with the results and explains them to us. X-ray didn't show a stone, but I had blood in the urine. Prescriptions for various medicines. A nurse takes out my IV tap, and we leave.
Up to street level, find Dora and mother, decide to take the bus home. Long ride, but not bad. Home at 10.
Dora's sister has arrived from the south.
In late evening, Dora doing a medical treatment to her mother. Then her mother wanted to do all kinds of packing and such, but Dora slipped diazepam into her mother's IV and she fell asleep. They had to muscle her into bed, and she slept very well, and they all were laughing, and laughing again the next morning when they told her.
2019-06-08 (Saturday)Quiet morning. But after exercise and shower, I started feeling some kidney pain. Out to carnisseria, home, feeling more pain. Out to Dia for groceries, more pain, skipped fruit shop, home.
Took Dexketoprofeno and laid down, but the pain stayed bad. Dora gave me an injection of Nolotil, and a skin-anaesthetic pad, and some cream. Within 10 minutes or so, the pain was greatly reduced, but not gone. Rested, eventually found that lying on my stomach made the pain go away, slept.
Niece and sister and father out to niece's gymnastics exhibition, but Dora and I are staying home, we're not feeling well.
Up at 4:15, a little pain came back now that I was standing. Food.
Out after 6 for groceries.
Out with Dora at 9 or so. I joked that we've done so many trips to medical places in the last two weeks, I'll be lost going out and NOT going to a medical place. To stationery shop, to farmacia, then to a cafe in HCC for coffee and ham and bread. A band playing in the center.
2019-06-09 (Sunday)Dora wants me to take painkillers regularly, on a schedule. But I don't want to take them unless I feel a lot of pain. Took a Neobrufen and a Tamsulosina Teva.
Out for a couple of fruit/veg items. Dora cooked up a storm for dinner, chicken and then cilantro-rice with a spicy Peruvian yellow-sauce.
Massive luggage-packing going on, two people leaving for Peru tomorrow.
Out for a walk around 8.
Kidney pain after 9, took a paracetamol-plus.
2019-06-10 (Monday)Kidney pain at 6 AM, took a paracetamol-plus. Up at 9.
Dora and sister and father heading out at 10:15, to do a couple of errands and then meet us at the airport. The flight is at 4 PM; they're going to be way too early, and Dora wants us to be early too. Dora's mother and niece are flying to Peru.
At noon, lugged two enormous suitcases down to the street and into a Cabify taxi. The others came down with two small suitcases and a backpack. Off to the airport. Driver severely tailgating everyone ahead of us, even motorcycles.
At the airport, I soon had to eat crow. The niece's name on her ticket was wrong, and could not be changed for love or money. Back and forth between check-in and central Avianca desk, on the phone with Expedia, because I bought the ticket through them. Avianca refused to fix it and Expedia said there wasn't enough time to fix it. Fortunately we have about 2.5 hours to deal with it.
And I've screwed up by not bringing a printout of all the travel details, including itinerary and ticket numbers. I did print one copy for Dora's mother, but she lost it. I can't get Wi-Fi to work here, so my email in my phone won't show me existing messages, where I have a copy of the details.
I suggest changing the tickets to tomorrow. Dora insists they have to fly today. And they have to fly together, no question of separating them. But no empty seats on the flight they have tickets for.
Finally decided to bite the bullet and buy another ticket; somehow a seat may be available. So my ticketing mistake will cost me about $1500. Dora and I try paying with our credit cards, but the machine rejects both of them. Mine is rejected instantly, as soon as it's put in the reader, so Dora says they don't accept Mastercard.
Between us we have about €500 in cash, not enough.
We head over to a couple of ATMs, but they reject both of my ATM cards and Dora's card, even though 2 of the 3 cards are for the banks which own the ATMs.
I'm back on the phone with Expedia, we keep going to the Avianca counter, but no luck. I go downstairs and try two other ATMs, but one says it's empty, other rejects my card (which is for the bank that owns that ATM).
Finally Dora gets it done, I don't know how. We head to check-in, the two enormous bags are accepted. I go off to buy a Coke for Dora's mother, we all munch some powerbars I've brought along, then suddenly the wheelchair attendant is there. Mother into wheelchair and piled up with bags, and off to the wheelchair entrance. We say good-bye, then the others watch them all they way through Security, while I'm itching to go home.
To a cafe, where we buy coffee etc on son's credit card; we have almost no cash. Sit down, and eventually Dora tells me how she fixed the ticket. She was putting the wrong PIN into the ATM, it locked her card, she called her bank and got it unlocked, and got €1000 out of the ATM.
Eventually out of the cafe. To shuttle bus, to train, to St Andreu Comtal, to metro, one stop, walk home. Stop on the way at an ATM for same bank as in airport, and my ATM card works fine. Home a little before 5. Bathrooms and water and then food.
Contact credit-card company, and they say Mastercard declined the transaction, because Avianca airline is blacklisted by Mastercard. Nothing is wrong with my card.
Log on to Expedia, and I can't see enough detail to see which parts of niece's name are in which fields. Like people in Spain, she has four names: given name A + B, surname C + D. The problem is that the ticket ended up with D as her surname, which didn't match her passport. If it had been C or C + D, no problem.
Call Expedia, talk to an agent, and their systems are having technical difficulties, call again later.
Out for a walk. Home, then online trying to do documents for Dora's sister, got a little accomplished.
Called Expedia again late, same story, systems are down.
2019-06-11 (Tuesday)Raining. Up at 7. Dora and her sister getting ready to go to health center. Locksmith coming at 9:30 to put locks on all doors and windows.
Out after 9, to ATM, groceries, fruit.
Mother and niece arrived safely in Lima.
Got through to Expedia on phone, they consulted an Avianca agent, and as I expected I'm out the $1500 or so for the extra ticket. They offered a voucher refund of the one remaining leg of the bad ticket, I'd have to pay 150 to change the name on that, and we're probably not going to fly there again in next 9 months. Told them to change nothing, I don't want any chance of messing up Dora's mother's return ticket.
Dora's son pointed out I probably made the same name-mistake on August's tickets to Romania, and he's right, will have to fix that.
Online, did check-ins for our trip to Prague, starting tomorrow.
Out at 11, in pretty hard rain. Down to Meridiana and a branch of my Spanish bank. My ATM card for their bank doesn't work in the ATM inside the branch. Sat down with an agent and she said my card was turned off in January, I think because they had a data breach. They tried to phone me, but they didn't send a message on their web site. New card will come in the mail in a week or so.
On the way back, had two duplicates made of the mailbox key.
Lock man arrived after 11:30. He had been waiting for our call, Dora thought he was just going to come over.
Dora and sister home around 12:15. I went out with the sister 10 minutes later. Up to government center, where we were lucky that there were no lines, and they only made us jump through one hoop that delayed us for 20 minutes for no reason. Got the digital certificate info we needed and home after 1:15.
Dora stressed and snarling at everyone. But soon she and sister were back out, leaving us men in peace.
Lock guy done after 2. I paid €435. Ribs and rice for dinner. Later found a lot of steel shavings on the floor in several places where the guy had worked; spent some time cleaning them up.
Called Expedia, they walked me through procedure to change name on outbound ticket to Romania, have to wait 48 hours, probably will cost money. Had to send separate message to airline for return flight, probably will cost money too.
Out in rain around 6:30. To lock shop, got factura for the big payment today. Had them duplicate the elevator key for me, €7.50.
To another lock shop, made duplicates of two door keys, €9 each. Home, and the new door keys work but the elevator key doesn't, won't even insert into the keyhole. Back to the shop and got my money back.
Out with Dora at 8:30, through very light rain. To gym for an errand, then to farmacia.
Trip to Prague:
2019-06-12 (Wednesday)Up at 4:45. Last-minute call to credit-card company; they've locked my card because I called them through Skype in the last couple of days. Got it unlocked.
Wanted to get into a taxi by 6 or 615, but Dora is just getting into shower at 6:15. I have to exercise willpower to keep from shouting. Finally we're in a Cabify taxi by 6:45, with two big suitcases and two small (one is empty) and our personal bags.
To airport by 7:15 or so, for 8:30 flight, and fortunately everything works perfectly, mainly because we have "fast track" / business-class tickets. We avoid a long line at check-in, check 3 of the bags. Bathrooms, through Security, to gate area, and boarding starts within 2 minutes. We're in the priority line, so no waiting, soon aboard.
Business class is nice, enough legroom, well-fed, and best of all an empty seat next to each of us. We're in separate rows, which is fine. But even in row 4 of the plane, it's too noisy to listen to my MP3s through my crappy earbuds.
Land at Madrid, bathrooms and then 45 minutes in a cafe. Walk 5 minutes or more to our next gate. Again in priority line, little waiting. Again free seats next to each of us, again in separate rows, well fed. Although the only meal left when they get to me is black pasta stuffed with salmon, and black pasta is weird.
Land at Prague. Airport seems pretty empty as we walk in from the gate. Hit an ATM and get 12,000 CZK (about $600). Into baggage claim, and plenty of people there. Soon have the bags, and through nothing-to-declare.
Find the transport office, and buy bus-metro tickets for 32 CZK (about $1) each. Out, and it's HOT here. Across the street and just miss the 100 bus, it didn't stop for more than 10 seconds, and I was looking for a ticket-validation machine before I saw the "validate on bus" sign.
Wait 5-10 minutes for next bus, and we have to hustle to get the bags on and hop on before it zooms away. The buses here don't give you much time, and they drive fast and roughly.
But the bus only goes half a mile until it stops at end of line, and all 6 of us aboard have to get off. Some confusion, then we figure out we have to cross the street and wait for next 100 bus. Hot.
Wait 5 minutes, bus comes, hustle off, zoom off. I'm starting to feel bad, headachey and sweating and tired.
Pretty long bus ride, only 3 stops to end at Metro station Zlicin. Out and into Metro, where fortunately there is an elevator down to the platform. A little confusion about the signs, and the trains come too quickly, but this is the end of the line and it's hard to make a mistake. On, and the train zooms off, same guy who drove our bus must be driving the train.
Long ride, 14 stops to Florenc. Which is a massive station, lots of levels. Longish wait for an elevator, then up several escalators, lost, but hope that up has to mean out eventually. Bathroom, then up to street level.
Get oriented a little, cross street, but still no street signs anywhere. Hot. Down slightly wrong street, but see a supermarket that is on my map, move across to what should be the right street. Still no street-signs. Ask a couple of people, one says we're on the right street (Za Poricskou branou), go 100 meters, there's a restaurant that's on my map. Suddenly one of the two sets of house-numbers makes sense, and we've arrived.
Takes 10+ minutes for our host to arrive, and it's hot and we're sheltering in a narrowing strip of shade. But she arrives, lets us in, is very friendly. Dora wants to talk and talk to her, but I'm feeling lousy and want to cut it short.
Host leaves, and I'm using bathroom and into shower. Starting to cool off, but my headache is getting worse. Apartment is okay, but no air-conditioning and only one fan, and electrical outlets are sparse and a but different from Spanish outlets.
Fortunately we've been well fed, and I had some snacks in my luggage, so we don't have to go anywhere soon. We rest and try to relax. Dora starts a load of laundry. There seems to be a water-leak from the toilet.
But soon I'm in bed and feeling worse, stomach not good, headache getting worse. We have plenty of medicines; I was joking that one suitcase was for our clothes and the other was for our medicines. After a while my headache is very bad. Take a sumatriptan and two diazepams, and eventually to sleep.
Wake up at 1 AM, and my head feels okay. Dora has been sleeping too. Soon back to sleep.
2019-06-13 (Thursday)Wake at 6:30, and Dora is giving me a cup of tea. I ignore it and go back to sleep. Up at 7:15 or so, and into shower.
Starting to feel human again.
Out at 8:45 or so. Around corner and explored a little. Loads of shopping right nearby, two supermarkets and a small mall. Looked around, then into Albert supermarket and got groceries. Prices pretty cheap (compared to Barcelona) except for laundry detergent.
Home, ate a bit, then out after 10. Walked down Sokolovska / Na Porici into the old town, looking at shops etc. Streets curve, intersections not square, so we're just heading vaguely into the center. Get to Nam Republiky square. Come across the municipal theater, lots of guys trying to pull everyone in. We go in, look at prices, go out again. Down a block or two to a friendly tour operator, buy tickets for a boat-ride tonight. Back to the theater and buy tickets for tonight.
Through an old gate-tower (powder tower), and down Celetna and into the tourist-center. Random pics. Looking into some shops. Get to Staromestskenam square. We can see top of a big synagogue, but can't seem to find an entrance. We wander around the square, trying to stay in the shade. Dora finds a bathroom in a restaurant.
I'm starting to drag. Into a small modern cafe which seems to be the only place with reasonable prices, but their air-conditioning sign is a lie. Paninis and drinks for CZH 406, about €18. I take a Neobrufen; Dora takes about 3 pills.
Out after a while, still can't find entrance to synagogue. Sign says catholic church is closing right about now, I think. We start heading home slowly, with stops in many shops and then in a modern mall.
Home after 2:15, a little headachey and tired and hot. Showers.
Napped. Headache, took paracetamol.
Dora sleeping after 6. I hustled out to the supermarket to buy fixings to make spaghetti, but got home only for her to say she would cook later, after we went to concert and boat. Then she got on a Skype-call to her mother in Peru for a while.
She finished, and suddenly we realized it was almost 7:40, we have to be at the concert hall by 8. Quickly dressed and out, and hustled down to the place. Got there with 1 minute to spare, plenty of empty seats, music started about 5 minutes late.
Lovely classical music, nice orchestra. Mostly standard favorites, which is fine with us. Longest rendition of The Blue Danube Waltz I've ever heard.
Out after 9, and we lingered to take pictures etc. Pics.
Down to Staromestskenam square, right turn, and to the river. Stopped at ticket office and then to dock for boat. Waited 5 or 10 minutes, boat appeared and emptied out, and we were last on. Everyone ahead of us took all the seats on the top deck, so we stayed on the lower deck. We could have joined someone at a table upstairs, there were some empty seats here and there, but we were fine downstairs, and sat in an open door to get a cool breeze and unobstructed view.
Gentle, quiet cruise up and down the river, several other boats out cruising, historic buildings ashore all lit up. Went past a flock of white swans, but I was too slow to get a picture. Pics.
Done before 11, off the boat, slow walk home, stopping once for sit for a bit. Pics. Dora still having pain from her kidney procedure, still taking painkillers 3x per day.
Home by 11:40 or so. Showers and food. Didn't get to bed until 1.
2019-06-14 (Friday)Groaned out of bed at 9:15. Out the door after 11:15, and saw some guy who seemed to be heading for our door, must be the owner coming to investigate the leaking toilet.
Hot day. Half a block to the metro, Dora bought some clothes at a booth outside. Onto train, two stops, out next to National Museum. Enjoyed the view from the steps, then in. Bought tickets to go up to the cupola, waited 5 minutes, soon up top and seeing more views.
Down through the museum, which mostly is a spectacular building with all kinds of marble. But lots of bronze sculptures of dead Czechs, some nice paintings, skeleton of a huge whale. Pics.
Out, next door to the new building of same museum. Asked and found that our tickets, which are good for 9 buildings of the national museum, can be used over a 5-day period, not just today.
Into the bistro. Dora had a coffee, we shared a panini, and I ordered a "cider", which turned out to be a beer (standard lager). Drank, ate, rested. Pic.
Into the exhibits, which turned out to be nice (about Celts) but not too big.
Out, into Metro, 2 stops to Florenc. To supermarket for lots of stuff, stopped at fruit stand, home after 3:30, tired and footsore.
Showers. Dora made spaghetti. A bit afterward, I collapsed into bed.
Napped. Headache, took paracetamol. Watched football on TV.
Out after 11 with Dora. Walked in a direction away from the center. More shops and stuff than we expected. Nice park with a huge church; sat for a bit. Warm and humid. Home after midnight.
Dora Skype-calling Peru late.
2019-06-15 (Saturday)Dora Skype-calling Peru again, long call.
Out at 1130 or so. I wanted to take trams to the Lapidary museum, but it's pretty hot waiting for the tram, and Dora wanted the metro. So we took the metro across the river to Nadrazi Holesovice. Came out of the metro, disoriented, very hot. Trying to read the stops on the tram-route sign, but nothing made sense. We could walk the 5+ blocks to the museum if we knew the direction. Then a tram comes, we hop on, it's comfortable and relatively cool. Dora is happy.
But after consulting with a couple of people, it's clear we're going the wrong direction. So we change plans, and head for a church that Dora wanted to go to later in the day. We go around to a much different side of town.
Out at Malostranske Nam, and wander around a square for a minute. Pic. Then Dora spots a church with an open door, and we go there and go in. Sant Tomas church. Lovely inside, and quiet and cool. I lose my grumpiness and start to enjoy the trip. Pics.
As we finish looking, they start closing the church at 1. Out into the heat. Start looking for bathrooms and a place to eat. Everything seems pretty full and a bit expensive. Eventually we get out of the square and things calm down.
We end up in a Subway sandwich place, of all things. Simple and (downstairs) cool and quiet. We relax and linger.
Eventually out, and head to the Church of Maria Victorius (approximately). It's close by, and so is the Music museum for which we have free tickets.
Into the church, and we're there at 2:30 but the Spanish mass Dora wants to attend doesn't start until 5. Beautiful church, and an infant Jesus which they dress in different clothes every week or two, outfits donated from around the world. Also a small museum of the clothes. We take lots of pictures and relax. Lots of tourists in and out. Pics.
Then, just before 3, a mass starts. Dora says it's in Portuguese. We sit through that, and Dora is delighted to take Communion and then pray at the shrine with the priest and take pictures with the priest etc.
Out before 4, and down a block or so to the Music museum. Which turns out to be cool and quiet with a nice cafe and free bathrooms. We go through the exhibits, which are pretty nice and have a few nice hands-on opportunities. A working scale-model pipe-organ which I enjoy playing with, and a cheap mockup harp which I get to strum. Pics. The only downside is several Communist-era women watching everything who growl if you step back to a previous room or deviate in any way. The "free to play by anyone" piano down on the ground floor of the big atrium is played a couple of times by people who definitely know what they're doing.
Bathrooms again and cafe, and Dora buys some souvenirs and chats up the guy running the place.
Back to the church at about 5:10, and Dora attends the mass in Spanish. I get bored after 5 minutes and sit outside listening to MP3s on my phone.
Dora out, hits some souvenir shops but prices are outrageous. Back to the square and see a huge church we somehow overlooked, St Nicholas church. But only the tower is opened, the rest is closed now.
We head down and across Karluv bridge, pedestrian-only and thick with tourists and locals. Some nice statues, nice views of boat-traffic and such. And grey clouds have come over, so the weather is a bit nicer. Pics.
Off the E end of the bridge, Dora looking for a bathroom, and the street is jammed with people. Finally she gets into a restaurant, then we start heading N toward a metro station.
Down into Staromestska station. Longish wait for a train, go one stop, connect at Mustek, go two stops to Florenc. We always come out the wrong exit, so I try a new one this time, and it's even worse. Come out at the bus station, takes us a while to get oriented, then have to cross busy streets with no crosswalks. But we're close to home.
Home before 8. I went right back out to supermarket, home by 8:20. Shower. Food; Dora cooked spaghetti again.
2019-06-16 (Sunday)Cool grey weather this morning, it rained last night.
Out at 11:45, and down several blocks to the big church (Cyril a Metodej ?) we saw 2 nights ago. No noon mass that we were hoping for, but the church was open and empty and big and gorgeous. Pics. By the time we came out, the sun was out and the day was warming up.
To a cafe on the corner for coffees, but Dora ordered something that turned out to be a whole cutlet of chicken plus fries.
Out and down the street. Past some strange bar or something: pic.
Up and over to Krizikova metro station, and rode it under town and across the river to Andel stop. Dora falling asleep from pills she took. Out and a bit disoriented, but Dora quickly found a clothing store and went into it for a long time, beckoning me in to give her money, and coming out with a bag of clothes. Meanwhile, I had found the synagogue we were mostly looking for, around the corner and with a sign saying closed all weekend "for operational reasons".
Walked down to the river, and across on the Palackeho bridge, not very interesting. Rested in a park on the other side, then to a nearby monastery (Emmaus Monastery) that turned out to be closed on Sundays, and to a church (Jan Nepomucky) across the street that looked closed and locked.
Sat in a park for a while, and Dora dozed. Then up and over to a big gorgeous church (Ignocy something) that was not on the main map I was using. Pics.
Out, and across the street and into a burger place. Ordered and ate more food than I had planned, but it was good, especially the barbequed pork ribs Dora ordered. Pic.
Out and up past new Town Hall, and it's hot and sunny out. Around the corner and found the tram stop. Waited 10 minutes or so for one of the right trams to appear. It took us home exactly as I planned, hooray. Home by 5:45. Shower. Put out laundry to dry. Dora soon sleeping heavily.
Out with Dora at 11:45, looking for a dance bar she saw on the way to the church this morning. Not warm out, pleasant evening. Walked the same route as this morning and didn't see the bar. Bought fruit at a shop and home by midnight-thirty.
2019-06-17 (Monday)Out at 11:15 or so. Metro across the river, to try again to get to the lapidary museum. Came out of the station on a different side, had to ask a couple of people before we got going in the right direction. Walked to the museum, which turned out to be in some kind of big amusement-park complex or something. Pics. But workers are carting everything out of the museum, closed today, and the exhibits are some kind of Swiss statues, not the minerals and jewels I expected.
Across the street and caught a tram. Longish ride, with Dora sleeping much of the way (later, she told me she didn't get to sleep until 4 AM, and got up at 6 AM). Got out where I planned, at the upper corner of the royal gardens. But my plan to walk the length of the gardens was thwarted; a big building and fences block the gardens 1/3 of the way down. We went through a security check and into the garden near the building, where there was an outdoor photography exhibit commemorating the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Nice to relax on benches in the shade.
Then out and up along the street to the corner. Sat at a cafe and had a soda and panini.
Then through security and into the royal palace complex. Confusing; the ticket office is just the cashier counter inside a tiny gift-shop. Came out and was disoriented, we've made a couple of left turns. Dora hit a museum shop, then we went into St Vitus cathedral. Which was nice, lots of bright painted stained-glass, but lots of people too.
Out, down a bit, and managed to grab seats on a bench in the shade. Rested a while. People were doing stupid poses for pictures in front of the cathedral. Eventually we got up and took pictures too, but no jumping or silly poses. Pics from the whole complex.
Next was the "old royal palace", which mostly was a big hall, the rest of the rooms not very interesting.
Then to "the story of Prague Castle", which was a series of rooms with historical information and artifacts, fairly interesting. But the only place to sit was some very primitive flat-rails that formed the seating to watch a video.
Out, and across the square to a cafe. Coffee and a very nice hot apple strudel with nuts in it. Sat there for a while.
Finally got going, down 50 meters to the "basilica", and just as we arrived they were kicking everyone out. Dora wheedled them into letting everyone in for 5 minutes more. The interior was fairly unimpressive.
Down to "golden lane", which I guess used to be artisan's workshops, and now is just gift-shops. Lame, and forced us to go down and out and come back up to try to get to the last item on our tickets, Rosenberg Palace. Which turned out to be closed.
So, eventually out of the complex in a river of people, a few last pictures. Then down, down long flights of stairs to the street, and down a block or two to the metro station. Thought of taking a tram, but the ticket machines are well inside the metro station, and it's cool inside.
So, waited a minute, onto a train, two stops, walked to connect, waited a minute, onto next train, two stops, two sets of long escalators up to street level, and popped out at the perfect place, half a block from the apartment.
Home by 5:45 or so. Footsore and sweaty and tired. Showers. Laid down for a while. Food.
Out after 11 with Dora. Walked down into the center, hitting an ATM on the way. Lots of people out, slightly cool evening but still quite humid. Some very loud German kids. We wandered and looked in shop windows. Dora wanted to go further and further, but I wanted to go home, my feet and ankles are tired. Home by 12:30. Opened a bottle of beer and enjoyed it.
2019-06-18 (Tuesday)Dora prodding me to get up at 7 and then 8, but I didn't go to sleep until about 2:30 last night. Finally groaned out of bed after 9:30.
We're out after 10. Into metro, one stop to main train station. Where things go about par for the course for first time in main train station in a new station: Train I found on internet doesn't exist on the schedule-board. Into Information/Tickets, and went to an agent for business class or something, very unfriendly, tried to sell us tickets to the wrong place far away. Into line for domestic travel, got to agent, she says place we want to go doesn't have train service. I guess the web site showed me a bus route instead of a train route ? No idea where the bus might be. Too late to try to find it. [Later figured out the bus went from another station. And the web site mostly was lying to me about the train, it went to a different town and I guess you're supposed to connect to a bus or something, but the site said zero connections.]
We wander around the station, buy some stuff in a pharmacy. Put on sunscreen, buy more metro passes. Pick a spot on the map and into the metro. Up and over to the right direction of the metro. Take it 2 or 3 stops to Vyshad.
Out and to a cafe for bathroom and drinks. Watching some people drinking beer, some of them half-liter beers, with lunch. Beer generally makes me fall asleep.
Up and to a congress (conference) building Dora wants to check out. I get tired of waiting for her, and go site outside and listen to MP3s on my phone. Apparently she comes out later and waits for me somewhere else. By the time we meet, I'm well irritated. Then she has to go use the bathroom again.
Down and find our way into the park/church area I'm looking for. Stop for some scenic overlooks and such. Come to the church through the back way, and it's a fancy cemetery. Dora manages to disappear for another half-hour or more, and I end up going into the church by myself. Eventually we meet again, and I slowly lose my bad temper. She went looking for my family names among the headstones, and found none of them anywhere.
Eventually out and down a hillside, stopping at various scenic spots with good views of the river and parts of town. Pics from the whole complex.
Down to the main street, and just missed one of the trams we wanted, had to wait 10 minutes or so for the next one.
Out at Florenc and across to the Albert supermarket, coming out with lots of food.
Home before 4. Showers and big salads and then big bowls of soup. Laid down for a couple of hours.
2019-06-19 (Wednesday)Up before 7, because Dora wants to avoid the mid-day heat. Out at 7:30, took the metro the wrong way for one stop, out and over, back three stops, to Holesovice. Found the stop for the 0800 bus to Terezin with 5 minutes to spare. On and pay and we're off to the north.
To Terezin before 9, off the bus, follow the crowd to the big fortress / concentration camp. In and paid, and started wandering. Not too interesting at first, but then a long passage through the interior of the fortress walls, and out into space in the middle. To a cinema showing videos about the WWII days.
To bathrooms and the cafe, and had drinks and a panini and strudel. Quiet and not crowded, nice.
Out, and the place is mobbed with student groups. Over to the camp pmuseum. Nice enough, and an art gallery upstairs. But Dora is fascinated by this place, and I doze outside for 45 minutes or so while she watches a video and goes through everything. Fairly hot now.
Finally she's out, and she talks to someone as I use her phone to try to find times for the bus back to Prague. I find we have 5 minutes to catch the 2:07 bus, so we hustle out there. A crowd waiting at the stop, so we haven't missed it. Bus comes maybe 5 minutes late, confusion as everyone tries to crowd on. But then we're on and a smooth trip back to Prague.
Wander the train-station part of Holesovice for a few minutes, then into the metro and onto a train. Out at Florenc, to Albert supermarket for half a dozen things. Big raindrops starting to come down as we reach our apartment door. Home at 3:35.
2019-06-20 (Thursday)Dora out at 9, going to a medical congress at that congress center we visited the other day. Maybe someone gave her a free pass ? I had to clear out space on her phone before she left, it's always nearly-full.
I loafed most of the day. Out after 3 to try to buy tickets to Swan Lake, but they're sold out.
Dora home around 7:30, and she had a good time at the medical congress, learned a lot.
Chicken and rice for dinner, cooked by Dora.
Switched from amitryptilina to propranolol; we'll see if it does better at preventing headaches.
2019-06-21 (Friday)Out at 9:45 or so. Into metro, long walk inside the station, two stops to Mustek. Hard to find the university Dora is looking for, I suspect one of the streets made a couple of right turns and still kept the name. Found it and she went in to talk about medical PhD programs. I waited outside.
And waited, and waited. Started going for walks and coming back to the university to see if Dora had come out. Finally around 11:30 I met her on the street, looking for me. Pics from the area.
Over to the main plaza, which is full of people today. Found the hard-to-find entrance to Tyn church and went in. No pictures allowed. Nice church, nice wood-gold statuary and such, not much stained glass.
Out, stopped to look at concert offerings. Back toward the university, down some alleys, found a nice restaurant called something like "Maljcek". We shared a Coke and a dark draft beer, Dora had a pork schnitzel that was big but disappointing, I had leg of duck with cabbage and potato-gnocchi that was pretty good. Dora falling asleep by the end of the meal. CZK 500 (€23) plus tip.
Out, to concert office, paid CZK 980 (€45) for concert tickets in a church tonight.
Up and into Palladium shopping mall, and I waited while Dora shopped for makeup. Finally out and home by 2:30.
Out at 5:20 or so. To metro, long walk inside station, catch train, 2 stops, connect, 2 stops, out at Malastranska. 5-10 minute walk to St Nicholas Church. Got there with several minutes to spare for 6 PM concert. Only about 40 people inside for the concert, and no sign of the musicians. But they were high above us, hidden behind a balcony. The music started, and it was nice. Fairly beautiful church, lots of sculptures and other things to look at as we listened to the music. Pics.
Between two pieces, we moved to the other side so we could look up and glimpse the musicians. Surprisingly small pipe-organ for such a big church. The organ parts were nice, the baritone singer was good, and the trumpet was terrific. The Ave Maria was almost totally a trumpet piece, and it was great.
After the concert ended, we hovered for 5-10 minutes to take pictures of the church.
Out, and down to the Maria Victorius church a few blocks away, but it had closed. Sat for a while, then eventually to Karluv bridge. Into a cafe at the W end for coffee and ice cream and a muffin, and we sat on their back terrace for a while.
Slowly wandered across the bridge, which was jammed with people as usual. The waters of the river were jammed with cruising boats, some of them coming close to others at times.
Wound our way through the old town, through throngs of people, only getting lost once. Came out at the main square a few minutes before 10, so we stayed to watch the astronomical clock strike the hour, with windows opening and Apostles parading past. Pics from the evening.
Eventually up to Namesti Republiky, and sat for a bit. Dora walking badly, one of her boot-heels has lost a piece.
Headed for home, looking for a big disco but failing to find it where I thought it should be. Home before 11.
Later found that disco is somewhere completely different from where I thought. I had been looking at a map in a magazine; either the map was wrong or I read it totally wrong or something.
Drank a bottle of Kozel dark beer; very nice. Ate leftover chicken and rice.
2019-06-22 (Saturday)Groaned out of bed before 8:30. Out at 9:45 to dump garbage and try the ballet ticket-office again (closed). Out with Dora before 10. Into metro, 1 stop to main train station, bought round-trip tickets to Plzen (CZK 430 total). Dashed to try for the 10:19 train and either missed it by 2 minutes or went to the wrong place. Back out and found the platform for the 10:45 train and got on.
Then confusion. It turns out our tickets are general flexi-tickets without a seat assignment, and many people have reserved seats. So we sit down, until someone arrives and says they have a reservation for that seat. Then we hustle to find another open seat.
Dora and I find separate seats. Then a group of German guys arrive at my seat, and say they have reservations for 5 out of 6 seats in my area, all but the seat I'm sitting in. So everyone else leaves, and I keep my seat. Looking at the signs, I'm pretty sure they made a mistake, I should have been told to leave instead of the guy sitting next to me. But I get to keep my seat.
Dora gets kicked out of her seat, and can't find another. Twice I offer my seat to her, but she ends up getting CZK 100 from me to buy a reserved seat somewhere else from the conductor.
Arrive at Plzen train station, half of the people get off, including us. Confusion about where to go, but follow signs to center. Where it turns out there is some major series of outdoor rock concerts today, a couple of stages blaring out music. Looks like all the shops closed at noon. Probably half of the people from the train headed to the big Pilsner brewery, but we're not interested in that.
We head for the main church, which has a major concert going on in front of it. I find some kind of regional Tourist Info office, go in, and find the main two things we're interested in are closed: the church is being reconstructed, the synagogue is closed on Saturdays.
We head to a religious art museum, which is deserted and cool and quiet and nice enough. We linger there for a while. The whole big first room is dedicated to beer; I guess the Franciscans here started the brewery or had their own brewery ? Pics.
Out and start looking for a restaurant. Eventually find one near the theater and across from the synagogue. In and try to translate the menu, using Google Translate, and one of the words translates to a bad word. Then we get menus in English.
We order, ignoring the waitress as she prompts us to order the most expensive items and huge beers. We order pork ribs marinated in dark beer, spicy frankfurters with mustard and horseradish, a Czech cola (they don't have Coke), and a small Kozel dark beer (same I drank last night, but this one is draught, not bottle).
Food comes. Hard to tell the beer from the cola just by looking at them. Pics. Dora loves the pork ribs, which are big and soft and rich and fatty, but she hates the mustard and horseradish and the Czech cola (which is not as sweet as Coke and has some lemon or other fruit in it). This is the food of my heritage (I'm 5/8 German and 3/8 Slovak according to family reckoning), and I love it all. The "spicy frankfurters" are kind of plain, not great, but otherwise it's all terrific. Total came to CZK 465 (about €18). The few sips of beer that Dora had made her sleepy. Moderately hard rain outside for 10 minutes or so.
Out, and there's a few drops of mist/rain every now and then, but it's grey and cool and actually quite nice. We wander a bit and take pictures, then start heading for the train station. Pics from throughout the day.
Get there at 3:40, and as I hoped there is a 4 PM train. Not too many people waiting, so we don't upgrade to reserved seats. Which almost bites us, because the train is 3/4 full when it arrives. I grab a seat that the electronic sign says should be empty, but immediately someone shows up with a reservation for it, and he says those signs only show seat reservations if the seat was bought more than a few hours ago. Move to another seat, immediately get kicked out of that one too. To a third seat, and get lucky, keep it.
Headachey, from the beer I'm sure. Take a paracetamol and listen to MP3 and try to doze.
Out at Prague central station, find Dora, out through the station with a large crowd. Buy tickets and down to the metro also with a crowd. One stop, out, home by 5:45. Drink water and lie down and nap.
Out at 8 to buy groceries. Grey and cool out. In the supermarket, totally mystified by the butter/margarine selections, and when we got home we found I'd bought lard.
Tried to move pictures out of Dora's camera, and she has so many (20K+ ?) that my computer's software keeps blowing up.
2019-06-23 (Sunday)Out after 9:15, over a couple of blocks to the big church (St Cyril of Metod). Got there a few minutes after the 9:30 mass started. It was a quick mass, done a little after 10, and I didn't understand a word of it. Maybe 75 people in attendance. Took pictures afterward, but most of them are no good, too dark. Pics. Saw a photo exhibit showing that in August 2002 the river flooded and put water about 2 feet deep through the church. Which means the buildings closer to the river and lower down probably had 10+ feet of water in them.
Interesting shop window: pic. To a cafe for coffee and cookies. I had a couple of cookies made with ground poppy-seed filling like my Slovakian grandmother used to make. We also had a pastry with a fruit filling, probably called lekvar, and I think my grandmother used to make that too. Pics.
Down the street and Dora plunged into a secondhand clothes store. I waited, and waited, and finally paid a bill of CZK 1940 (about €78) as she bought a lot of stuff. Home by noon. Dora cooking kielbasa and rice etc.
Around 4:30, on the TV appeared a huge demonstration, and I figured out it was taking place less than 2 miles from here, on the other side of the river. They're calling on the prime minister to resign, because of fraud and corruption. They called for 500K people to attend, maybe they got half that, still a stunning amount of people.
Dora sleeping hard after 8. I went out at 9:30, for a long walk on streets we mostly haven't been to before. Saw a few protesters going home, but no big crowds. Home before 11.
2019-06-24 (Monday)Got a slow start this morning, Dora doing work online, I'm feeling groggy and laying down for extra rest. Looked up museums and churches I want to see, and most are closed to today for one reason or another. Out before noon, and it's warm out.
Walking over in the direction of the train station. Found the Jerusalem Synagogue, closed as expected. Pic.
Found a nice catholic church (Church of St Henry and St Kunhuta) nearby and went into that for a while. Main part of it was built circa 1350. Pics.
Out and over, heading for another church, but got diverted into a souvenir shop, and then into a fancy mall. Pic.
Coming out of that and heading into the church, Dora disappeared and I couldn't find her. Loads of people everywhere. Eventually called her on the phone and found she'd gone several blocks up the street. Went there and still had trouble finding her, circled and eventually found her.
Walked home, stopping for a lot of window-shopping. Home after 2, hot.
Headache later, took paracetamol. Dora sleeping. I laid down and listened to MP3s.
Dora slept hard in bed from maybe 4 to 10. Then she got up and laid on the sofa. I suggested we go for a late-night walk, she said yes, then fell asleep again. She woke up once or twice, again said yes to a walk, again fell asleep. Finally at 11:45 she was up and ready to go, but she thought it was morning, not almost midnight. Pretty funny when she saw it was dark outside.
We went walking, away from the center. Pleasant but still very humid. Home by midnight-40.
2019-06-25 (Tuesday)Out at 10:45 or so. Started walking toward the center, but saw a church down a side street and investigated. Closed, but a nice little park next to it. And a big city gate too. Pic.
Over to the Jerusalem Synagogue, only to find the "closed until 24th" (yesterday) sign has been updated to "closed until 29th" (after we leave Prague). Around the corner and into the St Henry church for a while.
To an Italian shoe shop, where I bought Dora one pair of sneakers for about €60 and she bought another pair of shoes for about €80.
To the mall we were in yesterday, to use bathroom and rest. Out into the main street, and sat on a bench in the shade (still warm) and watched all the people flow by.
Over to the main square, and into a church on the corner that we haven't tried before, Church of St. Nicholas. Nice. Pics.
Out. Nice view of Tyn church across the square: pic.
Then up around the side of Tyn Church, and found another church I was looking for, St James church (Bazilika sv. Jakuba). And it was spectacular, but rope attached to alarms kept people from sitting in most of the pews or straying out of the central aisle, pretty hostile. Pics.
Up to home, stopping in a print shop and then in Lidl for a couple of groceries.
Home after 3, sweaty hot and tired. Showers, food.
Online, checked us in for the airlines tomorrow. Then dressed and out into the heat at 4:30, to a print shop several blocks away. Printed everything no problem, 5 pages for about €2.
Dora out at 7:30 or so to look for a print shop, but the one I used closed at 5 and she didn't find another.
Around 10:45, I thought of us going out for a walk, but it's hot and humid outside, and Dora is sound asleep on the sofa.
Making first steps to pack, we're leaving tomorrow morning.
2019-06-26 (Wednesday)I'm up at 8:15. Dora has been up for an hour or more, packing.
Dora out at 9:30 to get a couple of page printed, and doesn't come back until 10:30, she's bought a bunch of souvenirs.
Soon we're out the door, not much after my planned 10:30. Then hit a snag: we're supposed to leave the keys in a mailbox next door, but none of the mailboxes is labeled with our apartment number or the name we know. Dora phones the contact and finds out what to do.
Hump 2 big heavy suitcases, 1 medium suitcase, 1 small suitcase, and our 2 personal bags into the metro. THe big suitcases are very heavy; Dora believes in using every last ounce of the airline's weight allowance. Soon onto a train, and 1 stop to the main train station.
There, we don't know where the airport bus stops, and make one false start before hustling and finding it up a couple of floors. We manage to get onto the 1100 bus just ahead of a crowd, and we're lucky to get seats and lucky to be aboard at all. If we had to wait half an hour for the next bus, we'd lose any cushion we had at the airport. Somehow I've managed to mash one fingernail bloody, wrestling with the two big suitcases and my personal bag.
Longish, sweaty, crowded ride to the airport. I hate to start a long day of travel by getting sweaty and smelly and tired. Off the bus, bathroom stop, into a short but slow check-in line at British Airways. I'm delighted when they check all four of our suitcases for no extra charge; I thought they'd ding us for two extra. But in the process, Dora saddles me with carrying her laptop, making my personal bag very heavy.
Another bathroom stop, then to Passport Control, and the non-EU side of it is mobbed and interminable. Takes me a whole half hour to get through, and Dora is waiting and tells me I could have gone through with her on the EU side.
Through a big store, losing Dora in the process. They announce our gate, and we find each other there. They do the Security check just before the gate, costing us another 10 minutes. The flight starts boarding. Good thing we didn't miss that 1100 bus. But Dora hasn't had much if anything to eat this morning, and all I have to offer is water and powerbars.
Uneventful flight to Heathrow, with Dora very tired and trying to sleep.
Off the plane, and our baggage has been checked-through so we don't have to do anything with it. Through transit and Security and into a mall full of people. Bathroom stop, then we find some decent food and have a welcome meal.
Eventually to our gate, but there's a delay, the flight was half an hour late getting in from Helsinki. Eventually on, then they announce Heathrow is having ground-control problems, and we lose another 25 minutes or so. This is bad, Dora needs to make a connection to yet another flight when we arrive in Barcelona, she's going to a medical congress in Malaga. Now her 1:55 connecting interval is cut down to less than an hour. And in that time I think we'll have to get through Immigration and baggage claim.
The plane makes up some time, and lands at 8:30 instead of the scheduled 7:50. We hustle through Immigration, using the EU line. But then lose 10 minutes or more waiting for the baggage.
Out and up to Departures, and now Dora is dumping stuff from one suitcase to another, she thinks they won't let her carry the medium-sized one onto the plane. Then she dashes off to Security. I pick up the pieces and go sit down, waiting to see if she makes it onto the plane.
Finally messages from her, she made it. I wheel my cart with 2 big suitcases and 1 medium and my personal bag down to Arrivals and to the taxi queue. Soon into a taxi, where I do fairly well at conversing with the driver in Spanish as we drive. Expensive ride, at about €44, but there's no way I could handle these 4 bags through shuttle bus, train, metro, then walking 8-10 blocks to home.
Home at 10:30. Shower. Toilet in one bathroom is running forever, valve on water hose to it doesn't work, had to turn off main water supply. Food. Dora arrived okay at Malaga airport.
[So, we had a good time in Prague, despite some issues: Dora still in pain from kidney stone problems, taking lots of medicine, sleeping strange hours. Fairly hot, very humid weather. Dora using my Skype to deal with legal issues in Peru, and preparing for her talk at the medical congress in Malaga.]
2019-06-27 (Thursday)Out at 11 or so. To ATM for cash. Stopped at 3 or 4 places looking for a fontanero (plumber), only left son's phone number at one place. To Dia for groceries.
Out after 3. To library to return books. To ECI to buy big storage/shipping boxes. Home by 4, sweaty and hot.
Out at 8:30 to buy groceries and fruit/veg.
Online, had to change Dora's return flight from Malaga, at cost of $100. Also called about the Romania flight name change. Seem to spend a lot of time talking to airline customer support these days, and paying fees and penalties.
2019-06-28 (Friday)Hot this morning. Supposed to go up to 33C (93F) today, which is hot for Barcelona, especially in June. But I keep hearing alarmist stories about coming extreme heat (40C or more) here, and no forecast on the internet agrees with those stories. Weird. Okay, the forecast for Toulouse France tomorrow is 41C (106F); that's hot.
Gave myself a haircut.
Fontanero (plumber) showed up at 12:15 and soon evaluated the situation (he knows the trick to get the tops off these European toilets; I didn't know it). One toilet needs to be rebuilt, other is okay. He'll replace/rebuild the stuck valves into the walls on both toilets. Looked at the (leaking) solar hot-water exchanger tank and said just replace it, don't try to fix it, which is what I expected. He went to get toilet parts and a price estimate.
Plumber back before 2. He did only the one toilet (and not a complete rebuild) and its valve into the wall; the other is okay. Finished before 2:30, paid him €90, he left, toilet didn't flush. Called him and he came back right away. Soon he said a piece was broken, he'll get a new one and come back.
Started drinking lots of water. Out around 3:20. Slow walk, staying in shade as much as possible, to the H6 bus stop on F-i-P. Long ride to near the CIMA hospital. In and to radiodiagnostics by 4:20 for my 4:45 appointment. Still guzzling water; I'm having a kidney-stone echography done, and they want lots of urine in my system.
Called in a little before 5. Between my Spanish and the doctor's limited English, we got it done. I have a large stone at the top of the bladder, an unusual position. The pain in my kidneys seems to be due to fluid backup. Done with the scan by 5:15 or so.
Upstairs to Urology for my 5:30 appointment. In at 5:45 or so, and this doctor speaks VERY good English. He showed me the scan on his computer, and I have one very large stone with about 3 smaller ones behind it, in descending size. If I was in a lot of pain, he'd recommend a cysto-urethroscopy (although he didn't call it that, he called it "surgery", which was alarming). But since I'm not in much pain, he scheduled a shockwave lithotripsy (same thing Dora had about 3 weeks ago) for about 3 weeks from now. If that doesn't get everything, maybe I'll need a cysto-urethroscopy later. I'm a veteran of many kidney stones, most of them many years ago, and I've had both of these procedures before. Not fun, but not bad. And I'm sure the procedures have been refined since I had them decades ago.
Out and down the hill to the main road, and found the H6 bus stop. Wait 5 minutes for the bus, get a good seat, long ride home. Hot walk from bus stop. Home after 7:15.
Plumber came back while I was gone and finished the toilet job.
Out at 8 for groceries and fruit.
Dora and sister gave their talk at the medical congress in Malaga and it was a great success.
2019-06-29 (Saturday)Headache; took a paracetamol-plus.
Quiet day. Out in evening for groceries. Not as hot as yesterday.
Dora home at 10:45, about 2.5 hours later than I expected her. And she's acquired another huge heavy suitcase full of stuff somehow, I guess from her sister and from the medical congress. She's tired but in better spirits than I expected after such a delayed trip.
I opened the windows and let the apartment get too hot, had to close up and run the AC for a bit, first time this year.
Having some kidney pain.
2019-06-30 (Sunday)Ran AC a bit. Having some kidney pain; took a paracetamol-plus. Dora cooked a big Peruvian chicken-cilantro-rice-potatoes dinner. We seem to need the AC on all day now, just maintaining 26C (79F) in the apartment.
Going through medical appointments, and Dora has a horrifying number of them in the next couple of weeks, including 7 appointments on Tuesday.
Doing various computer work, including starting to sort through the 25K or so photos I moved from Dora's phone to her computer.
2019-07-01 (Monday)Achey before dawn; took a paracetamol-plus. Dora up early, heading for medical appt. I'm out before noon, to library to get books for her, then to Dia for groceries.
After 1, I have dinner ready (half of it leftovers), and am wondering where Dora and her son could be, her appointment at the hospital was after 8 AM. I send messages, and find they're in IKEA of all places, buying all kinds of beds and stuff, without telling me. Now she wants me to move stuff out of a closet onto our bed. I refuse to have anything to do with it, and eat dinner.
After 4, Dora and son home with a truck full of stuff and some guy to assemble it.
Dora out again at 5:30. Guy and son moving mattresses and stuff around, guy assembling furniture.
I'm out at 7:30, to walk and sit in VA plaza and buy groceries and fruit. Home at 8:45, and the guy still is assembling furniture.
Furniture guy finished around 9:30. Dora home at 9:30; she had an extra X-ray done, after her echography. Apartment back to a semblance of normality by 9:45 or so.
2019-07-02 (Tuesday)Dora had 2 out of 7 medical appts cancelled. She's out at 10:15 to go to the first 4 appts. I'm out at 12:30. Bought a new battery for the thermostat (didn't help; thermostat is very difficult to turn on or off, but once on it works fine). Paid niece's school tuition (€145). Bought groceries. Another of Dora's appointments got cancelled because she missed it, she was at another appointment.
Dora home before 3. Dinner. Dora out at 4:30 to hospital again. Later, messages about another procedure for her, and rescheduling mine to be with her doctor and a week earlier than planned.
I'm out at 7:45 or so. To ferreteria, but all of their thermostats are 2-wire and I think we have a 3-wire. To Caprabo for groceries, fruit shop for fruit. Home, and found a little USB fan I'd forgotten about; that will come in handy now.
Dora home at 9:30. After 10:15, we carried out a cheap old folding sleep-sofa to the recycle bins.
2019-07-03 (Wednesday)Cool morning, but warm by 10:30 or so. Out before noon, met Dora at NHS clinic, where we had simultaneous appointments with different doctors. I told doctor about kidney pain, she wrote prescriptions for ibuprofen and nolotil, and I'll get letters scheduling blood, urine and echography tests. [Letter arrived on 15th.] All the same stuff I did on the private insurance, but it will be on the record with NHS, and probably done a lot slower. Home before 1.
Dinner. Dora out again at 3:15.
Sudden message from Dora at 6:20, she's about to get into the metro coming home, but she's having bad kidney pain. And apparently she's not carrying any of the pain pills I gave her to carry, or she doesn't have water to drink with them, or both. I rush out to fill the prescriptions I was given today, which include Nolotil.
I meet her at VA metro, but she doesn't want the pills or water or anything I've brought, and now she's on the verge of vomiting. We go to a cafe for the bathroom, then she wants to go home and inject the Nolotil. We get there, and she can't find any syringes. She must have 50 of them in this apartment, but her stuff is all jumbled up in bags and suitcases that I've been nagging her to sort out. Finally her son finds a syringe and they inject Nolotil. She takes diazepam, Neobrufen too.
I'm out again at 7:45. To shop to leave niece's tablet for possible repair, buy a cover for Dora's iPad. Groceries and fruit and home.
Dora slept until 2 AM, then up.
2019-07-04 (Thursday)Dora out at 5:15 for 0600 and 0630 medical appointments.
At 9:30, Dora is sending me messages that my lithotripsy, which we were trying to advance from July 17 to 10, has been advanced to tomorrow afternoon ! So I'm on a liquid diet starting now, and no liquids at all tomorrow.
Soon I shower and then out. To ATM, to farmacia, then onto H6 bus and longish ride to CIMA hospital. Check in at anaesthesiology, start waiting, soon Dora joins me.
In early for my 1200 appointment, questions about allergies and medications etc, then an EKG which is done VERY quickly. Out by noon or so.
Down to a cafe for sodas and rest and bathrooms. Eventually down to L3 metro. To Placa Espanya, find an office, register niece for another round of gymnastics lessons.
Into metro, ride to Diagonal, connect, crowded ride to VA. Home after 2:15.
In the evening, son and father to airport to pick up son's friend arriving to stay for several days. They get home at 11:30 or so, and Dora has been cooking up a storm for them. A ton of dishes to wash.
Dora slept only 2-4, I think; she's studying for a Catalan exam for which she's woefully unprepared.
2019-07-05 (Friday)Sort of awake at 8, and I get caught up in Dora's latest emergency, she's going to the Peruvian consulate, needs a lot of documents printed at the last minute, can't find Peruvian passport, etc. Then she's out, and I'm back in bed. I'm not allowed to have any liquids from now on, no food, nothing.
I'm out at noon. To metro to buy a card. To phone shop but they're busy. To Dia and fruit shop. Hot.
Messages from Dora around 1; she's in pain again, heading to Urgencies at CIMA (doing errands along the way), had to skip her Catalan test.
I'm out after 2, earlier than I planned. Bus to hospital by 3, but Dora still hasn't arrived. I sign in with the scopy/lithotripsy department, but it doesn't look like I'll get in early as I hoped. My procedure is set for 5. They call me in after 4:30, I get into gown etc and start waiting, Dora shows up. She's still in pain but they gave her a shot downstairs, so after a while she's starting to feel okay.
After 10-15 minutes, they wheel me into the lithotripsy room, and feed a sedative into my IV. I don't feel anything but calmer and sleepier. I doze as the machine pounds at my stones. Finally done, back into the dressing room, and after 10 minutes or so I'm starting to feel normal but tired. Use the bathroom, dress, my balance seems to be okay. They give me a bottle of water, then a small carton of apple juice, to drink.
We go out, sit, son and friend arrive, Dora doing paperwork. I use a bathroom again. I'm feeling cold. Eventually we go downstairs. I eat a powerbar. Out and I warm up a bit as we wait for Dora again.
Across the street into a pastisseria for a while. I'd like to go home, and I"m feeling cold again. But Dora wants to relax, and a coke and criossant perk me up a bit. Use bathroom again.
Finally out, catch a taxi, home after 8. I lie down for a little while, then Dora gives me some fruit.
I'm feeling pretty good, happy to be able to eat and drink again. Over dinner I happen to say to Dora "you know, no one told me the results of the procedure". But it turns out they told HER, and the news is all bad. The doctor wasn't able to break up the big stone, I'll need an x-ray or echography to get a new look at the situation, and like Dora I'll need a cysto-urethroscopy procedure. Mine should be a lot easier than hers, since my stones are a lot further down than hers. But, crap, I thought I was cured. [Finally got a copy of my echography from about a month ago: pic. The white blobs coming down from upper-left are a chain of 4 stones in the bottom of the ureter.]
Started taking an antibiotic, Cefixima.
2019-07-06 (Saturday)Out before 11. To phone shop, to recharge my phone SIM. To carnisseria to buy ribs. To fruit shop. Hot. Guy has arrived to take apart the furniture we're selling and put together various others.
Dora is telling me that, for kidney health, we all should eat a lot less meat, I should stop eating chocolate, etc. I keep telling her I'd rather have a kidney problem every 6 months than give those up. [I don't eat a LOT of meat, at least by US standards, but I like meat.]
Out again for groceries and fruit.
Huge dinner cooked by Dora, with furniture-guy (from Ecuador) and son's friend; six of us at the table, nice.
Headache in the evening; took paracetamol-plus.
2019-07-07 (Sunday)Son and friend out at 11 or so to go to a pool. Dora and father and I out around noon. To VA metro, connect at Sants Estacio, out at Placa Espanya. Hot. Wait for 150 bus, take it up Montjuic, walk down to MNAC art museum by 1:15 or so. Free this afternoon, but only open until 3.
Headed for the modern art floor, and it's huge. Dora wants to take a picture of every piece of art, so progress is slow. We're starting to drag by 2:15, but only halfway through. We rest a little, drink some water and eat some powerbars, and keep going.
By 3 we're happy to leave. Hot walk down the hill and over to another museum, CaixaForum, where we have free entry. In and up to the restaurant, and have a nice dinner. Pics.
Out of the restaurant, see a couple of sections of the museum, then we've had enough. Down to the metro, long walk inside the station, hot on the platform, ride to Diagonal. Long walk inside the station, wait for train, to VA, walk home. Home by 6, tired and hot and sweaty.
Watch 2nd half of Women's World Cup finals, USA beats Netherlands 2-0. Son and friend home before 7.
Dora crashed hard into bed. I laid there for an hour or more but couldn't sleep. Later had a headache, realized I haven't been taking the Propranalol I should be taking.
I woke Dora up at midnight, thinking she should drink some water etc. But then she ended up staying up all night.
2019-07-08 (Monday)Dora out at 0815 for an 0800 medical appt ? I'm up at 0830, headachey.
Pouring rain after 10:15. Nice; we need the rain. Dora home after 2.
Out at 7 to walk and get groceries and fruit.
2019-07-09 (Tuesday)Lovely cool weather in early morning. Dora out to Catalan exam. I went out at 12:30, now it's warm out. Bought lightbulbs and groceries and fruit. Dora home for dinner, and thinks she did okay on her test. Raining pretty well at 3:45. Out in the evening for a walk and to buy fruit.
2019-07-10 (Wednesday)Up at 7, found out it was a little earlier than needed. Out at 8:30 with Dora. She insisted on taking the metro; her son took the bus a little later and arrived before us. Into CIMA hospital and Dora had a procedure. Out, he went home, Dora and I went down to ECI. She mailed a document to Peru. We went to a cafe for coffees and snacks/lunch. I went home, arriving before 2. She has to go to a medical class.
Got tired of waiting for Dora to get home, cooked dinner and we four ate at 3:30. Dora home before 4, and she ate and then went out to the hospital again.
Online, reserved an AirBNB apartment for our trip to Romania in late August.
Out after 7. To ECI to look at microwave ovens. Walked across and up FIP. To Dia for groceries. Warm.
Online, ordered a microwave oven from Amazon.es.
2019-07-11 (Thursday)Dora out in the morning to hospital yet again. I was out to do some errands such as paying the water-bill. Got groceries.
I cooked dinner again.
Started building a Firefox extension: ContainersExportImport.
Out with Dora after 5:30. To phone shop, then bus to hospital yet again. Arrived early, so of course they took her 45 minutes late. Back onto a long bus through lots of traffic, home after 9:15.
2019-07-12 (Friday)Dora out early in the morning to hospital yet again. I'm out after noon. To finca office, where my Spanish skills were not up to the task, but someone there spoke pretty good English. Got receipts for what I paid online yesterday. Got groceries and fruit/veg. Hot.
I cooked dinner, and overcooked the meat etc because I was turning down the wrong burner.
New microwave oven arrived, looks good.
Out with Dora at 7:30 or so. To a pharmacy for a lot of medicines, home, then out to a bookstore to buy a Catalan textbook. To a cafe for coffee and pastry. Eventually out, to fruit shop just as they were closing.
I thought Dora would get a break this weekend, but she has yet another blood test scheduled for early tomorrow morning.
2019-07-13 (Saturday)Dora out early in the morning to hospital yet again.
After 12:30, all five of us out to get lunch. To Thai place, but they're just opening, not ready to serve yet. A block more to a Catalan / hamburger place where the food was decent. Nice conversation.
Out at 2:30, a block over to the train station, son and friend missed a train by 2 minutes, will wait 30 minutes for next one. Dora and I went home.
On the computer, doing more work on the Firefox extension I'm making.
Out with Dora at 8 or so. To HCC, where we found lots of people watching a magic-show, sort of. To Mercadona for a few groceries, then sat in the center for a while. Not too warm, but still pretty humid.
2019-07-14 (Sunday)Out at 10:15 with Dora. To VA metro, up to Vall D'Hebron, and soon got picked up in an SUV by two of her friends, Miguel and Maria Antonia. Off to the south, to Port Ginesta harbor at Castelldefels.
To their sailboat there. A Beneteau 347, I think. Nice boat, kept very well. They really pack the boats into the limited marina space here, at least in this section, they're rubbing fender to fender much of the time. Good day for some sailing, grey so we won't get fried by the sun, and a reasonable amount of wind.
They got the boat ready and then we headed out. Once out of the harbor they unfurled the sails, turned off the engine, and engaged the autopilot. And we're off on a long southerly close-reach (I've forgotten many sailing terms since giving up my sailboat about 2.5 years ago).
A few other boats out. Reasonable swell running, and we're mostly parallel to it, so some motion. A few times I felt a little queasy, but nothing serious. Lots of good conversation. Pics.
Out on that tack for maybe 90 minutes, then turned around and headed back in. Wind easing slightly. I'm getting tired. But eventually we're back into the marina. Dock and then we snack and chat for a while. Sun starting to come out.
They close up the boat, eventually we're back into the SUV. Bad traffic at a couple of points on the highway, then we miss a bunch of turns as they try to deliver us to our apartment. Finally we get out a few blocks away and walk the rest.
Home before 5:30. Shower. Food.
2019-07-15 (Monday)Dora finally is starting to sort through all the boxes and bags of junk she's been accumulating, and soon she's in a rage, we're all yelling at each other, she can't find something she's looking for, she's pulling stuff out of my two boxes and mixing it into everyone else's stuff, etc.
Later Dora announces she and her father are going to the south for 2-3 days for some religious holiday. Fine with me. She goes out to do errands and buy tickets.
Out at noon. To ECI to mail a letter, then Mercadona for groceries. Getting hot.
Dora home before 4, and she had a horrible time getting to/from the bus station, because she used the wrong way (trains, and there's a train strike today, she should have used the metro). And there are few seats to the South for the holiday. So she has bus tickets to Madrid, and now I buy BlaBlaCar seats for Dora and her father from Madrid to Jerez. Glad I'm not going on the trip. They're catching a bus at 11, get to Madrid at 0600, car out of there at 1430, into Jerez maybe 2000 ?
And around 7, Dora tells me she just found out from her sister that the main part of the religious holiday, the Virgin arriving on a boat, is happening tomorrow morning instead of tomorrow evening as she expected, so they're going to miss that anyway. Typical.
Plumber supposed to be arriving at 5 to deal with the toilet again. Then arriving at 7. Finally buzzes at 7:20. And he's done in 5 minutes, something in the toilet sticks sometimes, and he showed us how to unstick it. Hope no one breaks the tank-lid in the process.
After 9, walked Dora and father down to the local train station, trundling a huge suitcase. Got there at 9:20 for 9:33 train to bus station. Said good-bye and they went down to the platform.
2019-07-16 (Tuesday)Dora and father made it to Madrid okay.
I loafed all day. Out in evening to sit and walk and scrounge a piece of lumber and buy fruit.
Dora and father arriving in Sanlucar. She sent some pictures of them on the final bus, looking far more cheerful than I would after 22 hours of travel.
2019-07-17 (Wednesday)Quiet day. Out in early afternoon to sit and then get groceries and veg.
Around 7:30, lots of rain and some thunder.
Dora going to stay in the South a few extra days. She's doing various errands, visiting with her sister, and seeing some religious stuff, such as: pics.
2019-07-18 (Thursday)Out before 2 to walk and buy groceries. Stupidly left my keys dangling out of the mailbox lock, but fortunately no one took them and Dora's son was home to let me back into the building.
Out for a couple more walks.
2019-07-19 (Friday)Quiet day. Out after 5:45 to sit and walk and get groceries (but Dia having problems, air-con is off, most cold lockers are stripped of all food). Getting a bit hot. Supposed to be pretty hot (33C, 91-92F) next Tues and Wed.
2019-07-20 (Saturday)Quiet day. Laundry. Out a couple of times. Dia still has empty refrigerated lockers; went to Mercadona.
2019-07-21 (Sunday)Quiet day. Ended up not going outside at all. I did do my exercises, mostly.
2019-07-22 (Monday)Out in midafternoon. Hot. Sat and walked and bought fruit/veg. Out again around 7 to walk and look in a ferreteria. Out again at 10:30 to throw away the old microwave oven and go for a bit of a walk, but it's hot and humid out. Weather supposed to be fairly hot (30-31C, about 86-88F) and humid for the next week or so.
Dora on her way home, on a bus from Jerez to Madrid. Not sure what bus she can take from there, she may have to wait a while.
2019-07-23 (Tuesday)Dora got lucky in Madrid, short wait to get onto a bus to Barcelona.
Dora thought her bus would arrive at 3, but then at 1:50 she sends a message that they're 40 KM from Barcelona. So I hustle out to the metro, ride, connect, ride, out at Arc, to bus station by 2:30. Only to find that they arrived first at Sants Estacio. So I had to wait half an hour or more for them to arrive at North station. Not a problem. Dora out with one enormous heavy suitcase, one small heavy suitcase, two heavy knapsacks/bags, and a bag of sheets or clothing or something. Bathroom stop, taxi, home after 3:30.
Food for Dora, then I went out to buy groceries, then food for both of us. Soon we crashed for a long nap. Dora woke up thinking it was tomorrow morning, but it was only 7:30 in the evening.
Dora getting on my nerves later, so I said I was buying her a bus ticket to go right back to the South, and she laughed.
I went out for a late-night walk; warm and humid outside.
2019-07-24 (Wednesday)I had Dora phone our ISP to see if we could replace their router with our own and save money (answer: no savings), and to find out why we can't log in to our ISP account online. In the process, she found they're charging her a ton of extra money each month.
Out with Dora to school and cafe and dentist. Out again later to walk, then out with Dora to buy fruit/veg/etc.
Couldn't sleep hardly at all during the night; maybe slept for 1 hour.
2019-07-25 (Thursday)Dora out to medical. I'm up because someone in next apartment is doing drilling.
About 6 weeks ago, I bought a new keyboard for my laptop. Just now got around to putting it in, and found the PgDn button was popped out (managed to press it back in). Then found there is a big slash across the ribbon-cable; keyboard is totally dead. Put old one back in. [Vendor won't take the bad one back, I guess too late.]
Cut a piece of lumber to fix a chair.
Dora home around 5, after doing lots of errands. She's pretty tired.
Out with Dora after 8. Various delays going to ATM and phone store, so we got to the ferreteria 5 minutes after they closed. To stationery store, picked up some free potted plants that a community garden was giving away, home. Out again right away, to fruit shop.
Took a diazepam before bed, to help me sleep. Slept well.
2019-07-26 (Friday)Up at 7:30, breakfast, back to lie down for a while. Dora out in midday. I didn't go out until 7, to ferreteria, then to walk and sit and get groceries.
2019-07-27 (Saturday)Up before 7:45. Out at 9. To metro, out at Jaume I, to Santa Maria del Mar church. We're here for a special Peruvian mass of thanks, supposed to start at 9, but Dora was right, we arrived at 9:40 and really they were just starting.
Warm and humid inside, but otherwise the whole event was nicer than I expected. I've always liked this church, and they had some nice speeches etc. The music was good, and although there was a whole teenaged chorus, really all you could hear was one lead singer, and she was very good.
Dora was very happy, she met a lot of people, she knew the priest, when they asked for people to give special requests she went up and asked everyone to think about several worthy causes.
Out at 11:15 or so, and across to a restaurant for bathroom, coffee, snack. Then she wanted to go to Poble Espanyol on Montjuic, where the festivities are continuing 11-11 today. This is the weekend of Peru's national day, there are celebrations here and all over Peru. I'm not excited about going to Poble Espanyol, it's a pricey culture-of-Spanish-regions place where all the interesting shops have "no photography" signs in them, but we went.
Into metro, one stop, long walk, connect, ride to Placa Espanya, out at the perfect exit, wait 5 minutes for the bus up the hill.
Two stops and off the bus, just as it started pouring rain. I have brought two folding umbrellas, but they're barely adequate, and the rain is very hard and blowing in various directions. We get into the wall of the place and shelter in the exit archway with other people, but the wind is funneling through here. I'm soaked and cold.
Soon we head around to the ticket booth, but they're not selling, apparently the event starts at 12 not 11 ? We shelter in the entrance archway with 20 other people. We manage to snag seats up a stairway, which is good. Eventually the guard closes one set of doors, which stops the wind and warms us a bit. But I'm pretty miserable. Dora still wants to go to the event.
It pours for half an hour, eases a little, pours some more. Eventually it gets light, and we all leave the archway. I want to go home. Dora goes to the ticket booth and finds the event doesn't start until 2, the time was changed in the last day or so. And the person at the booth is rude to her, this is not their event, they just rented the whole facility to the Peruvian group, times and tickets are done by someone else.
Finally she comes away and we go to the bus stop. More people pack in as the rain picks up a little. Finally onto a bus, down to Plaza Espanya. Raining more. We head into the metro, and the stairs and everything are slick with water, then the stairwell has an area flooded about 3 inches deep. We go out and into another entrance. Long trip home, but we manage to get seats everywhere.
Stop at the Peruvian chicken place on Molist to buy a chicken to take home. Home at 2:40. Shower, dry clothes, food.
A not-too-expensive ring I bought for Dora arrived, and I gave it to her. She likes it, but it's not as pictured online. It's sapphire, supposed to be blue but in reality it's such a dark blue that it's almost black, supposed to be two heart-shaped stones but they mostly are round with a slight notch cut out of each. Disappointing.
Crashed for a nap. Dora having a lot of pain in hands and feet, as she has been for the last week or so.
Out at 8:30 for a longish walk, and then a fruit shop. Slightly cool, but very humid.
Before bed, took a diazepam to sleep better. Slept well, lovely cool night.
2019-07-28 (Sunday)Out at 2:30 or so with Dora. Metro to Vall d'Hebron, connect, one stop to Montbau. Followed people in Peruvian colors (red and white) to a park where there's a Peru-day fiesta. Dora enjoyed it, but by the time I stood through an interminable line to get some bad tamales, I was not in a good mood. I retreated to a plaza across the street to listen to my MP3's, while Dora went back and forth to the fiesta, meeting people and enjoying the music and dancing. Eventually she'd had enough, and we went back to the metro. Home by 6:45.
Repaired a chair with a collapsing seat. A tricky job, not great access, had to do a bunch of slant-drilling. Broke one drill bit, but got it done and it seems good. But who knows, maybe it will break tomorrow and dump me on the floor.
Out at 10 or so for a nice walk. Pleasant but humid out.
At night, couldn't sleep at all. Finally took a diazepam at about 3 AM.
2019-07-29 (Monday)Up after 10. Out after noon to health clinic to pick up a specimen jar. Cooked dinner. Out before 8 to sit and walk and get groceries.
2019-07-30 (Tuesday)Up at 7, and Dora is in a frenzy already. She's supposed to be at the hospital at 8 or something to have a procedure at 9 or something, I think, and somehow she's franticly copying and scanning documents. She couldn't have done this last night ?
I'm out at 8:15 to go to local health clinic, and Dora and son still haven't left to go to the hospital.
I get to the clinic, and other than being at the right place, everything is wrong. Dora told me the wrong desk to go to, told me the wrong thing to do with the urine-sample thing, and the paperwork didn't say they were going to do blood tests so I ate breakfast. They say I have to get a new appointment to try again, I go to front desk and they try to give me a date a whole MONTH from now. I get them to change it to tomorrow.
To metro to buy tickets, then onto H6 bus. To CIMA hospital, find Dora and son. She screwed up her schedule, this morning is just a consultation, her procedure will be at 5. Son and I go down to radiodiagnostics and they take me in for the x-ray I was supposed to have at 4:30 this afternoon. Good to get that out of the way.
Meet Dora in cafeteria. She's going to hang around in this area, doing errands and such, until she has to go back in at 4. I decide to go home and come back later. Walk and catch H6 bus, walk, fruit shop, home before 12:30. Son arrives a few minutes later; I thought he was going to stay with Dora, but I guess not.
Food etc. Then out again at 3:15, with son to H6 bus and to hospital. Met Dora in the entrance, soon down to surgery area. Confusing, then suddenly she's called in, she's late and they were waiting for her.
Son and I go upstairs and find out what room Dora's being admitted into; she's going to stay overnight. Up to her room and dump all our stuff, and start waiting. Quite a nice room, nice sofa and TV. Sixth floor, so decent view out the window. Slightly cold in the room.
Then I go downstairs for my consult with urology. The doctor says the lithotripsy I had done 3.5 weeks ago did nothing at all to the stones; he shows me the x-rays from 1.5 months ago and from this morning, and they're just about identical. So they will schedule for me the same procedure that Dora is having right now. I go back up to the room.
Around 6:30, I think, we're told that the procedure went fine, Dora's being taken to recovery and still is under anaesthetic. Around 7:15, we're told she's awake, and after 7:30 they're wheeling her up to the room. She's tired and slightly groggy, still on IV, dry throat, but fine. She has a specimen bottle with four pretty big chunks of kidney-stone, and four more much smaller stones. She talks on the phone to her mother in Peru, but quickly gets tired.
We visit with her, I go out to a pharmacy to buy toothbrush and toothpaste for her, then by 9 or so we leave. To bus, long ride mostly in cold air-conditioning, home around 9:50.
And now I'm on a water-only diet until I go to the health clinic tomorrow morning for tests.
2019-07-31 (Wednesday)Out at 8, and to health clinic. Waited, finally showed my paperwork and they found me in the computer. Handed in urine sample, went in and they took blood, home by 9. Now I can have breakfast.
Dora is okay, has to stay in hospital this morning until seen by doctor, should be out before noon.
Out at 10:30, to metro and to hospital. I find Dora in good spirits, but still waiting for doctor to appear. Fortunately, he appears in 15 minutes or so, says she can go. So she grabs everything, takes out her own IV, and we head out.
Into a taxi, and off to a clinic of the same medical chain. Wait for a while until she has an appointment for something else. I'm starting to doze.
Finally out, and eventually to a cafe for sandwiches and drinks. I'm running out of energy for some reason. Dora is talking more and more, maybe a side-effect of her medicines, or maybe I'm just wanting some quiet.
Finally out of cafe, to metro, home after 3. I crashed for a nap. Later, food.
Out after 8 with Dora. To a couple of printer-cartridge shops, and paid a huge chunk of cash as usual. Walked up and down F-i-P. Hit an ATM and home. I'm in a bad mood. Soon out again to sit in VA plaza, then to fruit shop.
Before midnight, lights/electric flickering a couple of times.
2019-08-01 (Thursday)Dora out all morning and into afternoon. I went out for groceries. Dora home. Then dinner, then we crashed for a nap. She's still in pain from her kidney procedure. I'm out after 7:30 for a walk and sit and groceries.
2019-08-02 (Friday)Dora out to more medical appointments and other errands. She's still in a lot of pain. After noon, I went out to try to pay niece's school, but again it was closed. Got groceries.
After expecting Dora all afternoon, I found she's across town, had long waits for medical appointments, had to take lots of painkillers. I go out to sit in VA plaza, and finally she arrives, and we're home by 7 or so.
2019-08-03 (Saturday)I was up way too late last night, didn't matter because nothing to do today. But Dora's trying to get me up at 8 to go all the way to Hospitalet to help her pick up business cards ? No. And now she's annoyed with me.
But later she managed to drag me out anyway; she called and said she was going to Clot metro (an awkward location, the metro between here and there is down for repairs), where she'd be stuck with lots of heavy boxes. So I had to go out, longish walk to F-i-P metro, all the machines there are unavailable because of work on the station, had to ride special bus down to Clot hoping a ticket-checker wouldn't catch me (one in a million chance of that). Trouble finding her inside the station. Found her, got out of there, had to wait for bathroom stop. Onto bus, wait, to near F-i-P, long walk home trundling very heavy suitcase full of paper. In a bad mood. Took a second shower and laid down for a while.
Out in evening to sit and walk and buy fruit.
2019-08-04 (Sunday)Out with Dora after noon. To Llucmajor metro, to Jaume I, and to city hall. It's open for free today, but turns out it closes at 1. So we got in for about 20 minutes, which was enough to see some pretty nice art and architecture.
Out, and down to a restaurant across from Santa Maria del Mar church. A pleasant meal, food not overly good, but fine. Took our time.
Wandered through an odd bit of old town that we're not very familiar with. An ATM you probably don't want to try: pic. Bought a few souvenir fridge-magnets. Street art: pic. Eventually to Born CC.
Two temporary-exhibit museums in here are free-entrance today. One about some Barcelona artist named Renau who mostly made anti-capitalist posters and murals; not so interesting. Other about the history of Barcelona, and it had some nice stuff and a nice video. I need to read up on the history of Barcelona.
Out, and it's 4:30, and suddenly Dora says a friend wants to meet her near home at 5. So to the metro, to Llucmajor, I leave Dora at a bus stop and head for home. She'll go about 2 stops to meet her friend.
Dora not home until after 7. I have a headache, and am tired. Took ibuprofen, then paracetamol.
2019-08-05 (Monday)Dora out to banks etc. I went out several times, for errands and walking etc. Out to pharmacy and fruit shop. Out with Dora in the evening, but I got exasperated waiting for her to do errands, and left to walk and sit. Home, then out again, walked, bought groceries.
2019-08-06 (Tuesday)Out after noon to walk and sit and buy groceries. Warm. Dinner. Dora out in late afternoon to medical appointments.
I've been building another Firefox extension: DecentraleyesSimpler.
Out at 9:30 for a walk and sit and buy fruit. Quite warm out.
2019-08-07 (Wednesday)Out at noon with Dora, to cafe and then market and fruit shop. Out in evening, warm and humid.
2019-08-08 (Thursday)Dora out at 9:45 to medical appointments. She was supposed to be back in a couple of hours, but stayed out until 5:45. I went to NHS clinic at 4. Out in mid-evening to sit and walk and buy fruit. Warm and humid. Took a late shower before bed.
2019-08-09 (Friday)Dora out to banks. At 1:30, I was out to ATM and groceries. Hot out. Out after 7, to sit, still hot. Got groceries.
After 10:45, Dora's sister and twins arrived from the North.
Around 11:30, out with Dora and sister. Warm and humid out. Walk to VA metro, to Vall d'Hebron, long ride to the far end of L3, Zona Universitaria. Down a couple of blocks to a big disco which seems to have or have evolved through several names, as most of them here have. Internet says it's "Up and Down", various signs outside say "Legends" or something else.
Short line, show tickets a couple of times, through Security, get wrist stamped, and we're inside.
Crowded, and we're in standing-only section (because tickets at a table are €95 instead of €28). A DJ is playing music and I think there is a singer or two. Salsa music, and the crowd is happy, and often singing along with the songs. We dance, get sweaty, mill around, my feet start to hurt. Main act supposed to start at 1, but I think it's late. Sometimes the music is pretty good, but I'm still mystified by the beat in salsa, don't know how to dance to it.
We hit the bathrooms, buy a couple of drinks, move to a slightly clearer area, find a ledge where we can take turns sitting for a little while. Start to feel better.
Eventually the main act, Oscar DeLeon, starts. Everyone goes wild. Some good music and singing. Dora and sister are dancing up a storm. I dance with Dora a little, but I'm running out of energy.
Finally heading out around 2:45; probably the event will go another 45 minutes, but I've had enough. Out and start walking up toward the night-bus stop, but then we flag down a taxi. We'll get home in 20+ minutes instead of 90 on various buses.
We wind through some side-streets. Go past Camp Nou, the big football stadium for Barca, and outside are 3 prostitutes, one with her top totally down to her waist to advertise her wares.
Home before 3:15. Drink water, shower, flop into bed.
Bad headache by dawn. Take paracetamol.
2019-08-10 (Saturday)Bad headache. Eventually take sumatriptan.
Finally headache is down to a slight dull ache, and I felt like getting up. Everyone else is going out, to the supermarket because apparently the groceries I bought yesterday are not acceptable to the kids. I look at the clock on my phone and it's 1 in the afternoon.
Out at 7:30 for a sit and walk and buy fruit. Warm and humid, but lots of people out.
2019-08-11 (Sunday)Up at 7:40, supposedly going to the beach early. But Dora and I are the only ones stirring. I went back to bed for a while later. The kids and sister stirring at 10:30 or more.
In early afternoon, they went out, and later I went out for a sit and walk. Home, and cooking dinner was hectic, but everyone got fed.
After 6, heading out to a beach. Longish walk down to Meridiana and then catch the special bus since this metro section is closed. Bus is jammed full. To Clot, out of the bus, and the boy-twin is asleep, his mother has to carry him. Into metro station, long walk the whole length of it and then up and around and over to the train station part. 5-minute wait for the R1 train, 15-20 minute ride to Montgat Nord.
Off the train, and to get to the beach we have to walk down stairs, underneath tracks, up stairs on other side, through a crowd on the platform, out the exit, down along the tracks, find stairs down to street, through underpass under tracks again, finally we're at the beach. Plenty of people but not crowded; nice.
Soon I'm coaxing the twins to the water, which is warm. The niece is okay with the water after a minute, but the nephew refuses. Soon I pick up the niece and we go out 20 feet, beyond the breakers, and have a great time. I have to hold her the whole time, but she's splashing and kicking and talking about everything. Soon Dora joins us. The niece wants to stay in the water a long time. Finally I'm done, and carry her out.
Lots of grey clouds coming over. We rest for a while and snack and the kids play in the sand. Then we start packing up, and showering the kids is a big production, especially because the nephew has broken blisters on his feet from bad shoes a couple of days ago, and he's in pain.
Up to the train station, and we miss a train by 30 seconds. But another comes in 10 minutes. I have to stand for 5-10 minutes, but then get a seat. Whole ride is only 15-20 minutes.
Off at Clot, out and onto a special bus, which is very crowded (but we have seats) and very slow. We try to stay on one more stop than the last time we took this bus, but it's a different bus somehow, and we get carried down to near Onze de Setiembre metro station.
No problem, F-i-P is one block over, with buses to home. We head that direction, but then go into a big kebab shop and have a ton of pretty good food. I stuff myself. The kids are full of energy again by the end of the meal.
Eventually out. A long block over to F-i-P, 34 bus comes in 5 minutes, up to near home. Home by 11:20, and the kids are full of energy.
2019-08-12 (Monday)Out at 11 or so with Dora. To niece's school (closed) and to Lidl for groceries. Then she tried to drag me to a cafe and then a bank, and instead I went home with the groceries.
Out after 7 for a nice sit and walk. Lovely cool weather.
Kids and sister and son out to Macquinista for the evening; nice and quiet in the apartment.
Dora made homemade tamales.
Woke up at 4 AM or so and unable to get back to sleep.
2019-08-13 (Tuesday)Up at 5 because I couldn't sleep. Did computing, then back to bed at 7. Up at 11.
Dora out in midafternoon to medical appointments, and taking sister and twins with her. They didn't get home until 9:45.
I went out in early evening to sit in plaza and go for a long walk. Lovely weather.
Ouch ! Passed a big jagged kidney stone around 11:15. It's the main huge one seen in my x-rays, glad it came out.
Took an ibuprofen. Then unable to sleep for a couple of hours, up to the bathroom every 5-10 minutes, pain.
2019-08-14 (Wednesday)Others off to Tibidabo at 10:45, and Dora wanted me to go too, but I'm sleeping and in some pain and still urinating frequently. So I stayed home. Up before 11:30.
The others home after 5. They didn't go to Tibidabo, they ended up in CosmoCaixa science museum, where the twins had a great time.
Still having urination and kidney-stone problems by midnight.
2019-08-15 (Thursday)Lots of kidney pain at 3 AM or so; took Nolotil. More pain at dawn; took paracetamol. At 9, passed another jagged stone, bigger than the first one, and now seem to urinating much better. Back to bed.
Up at 10:45. Kidney pain, took Nolotil.
Everyone heading out at noon, to Tibidabo. I head back to bed for a while.
Out in early evening to sit and walk and buy fruit. I feel weak, but okay. Weather lovely.
Dora home at 9:30 or so, and she's tired. The others home at 10:30.
Went to bed at midnight, but couldn't get to sleep until maybe 3 AM, and even then didn't sleep well.
2019-08-16 (Friday)Having occasional bad kidney pain. Still have stones in several places, I think. Various pills during the day, and laid down several times. Out for a nice sit and a little bit of a walk in early evening.
Barcelona is becoming a more dangerous place. There have been several shootings and stabbings in the last year or so, and just last night a man was stabbed to death not more than 15 blocks from here; don't know any details. Sometime in the last week someone stabbed or slashed a couple of homeless people, not too seriously I think, somewhere in this district.
Took diazepam, eventually slept okay.
2019-08-17 (Saturday)Sister and twins out early, back to the North. I loafed, went out in early evening for sit and walk and to buy fruit.
2019-08-18 (Sunday)Dora's mother and niece are on their way back from Peru. I received an alarming email that a ticket was cancelled, but I think it's part of the bad ticket I bought months ago and we had to replace. They left Lima okay, but we don't have contact with them as they're waiting in Bogota to get on the next flight, to Barcelona.
Headache when I woke up (took ibuprofen) and still after noon (took paracetamol). Took a sumatriptan around 4:30.
Out for a couple of walks in the evening, and a late run to a grocery store.
Son out to airport. We're to bed at midnight. Dora's mother and niece home from Peru at 2 or so.
2019-08-19 (Monday)Up at 7:15. No breakfast because I might have an echography or x-ray today, I hope. Took an ibuprofen.
Out at 8:15. To metro to buy cards, then met Dora at bus stop. To CIMA hospital. I went to urgent, Dora went to another floor. I told them about my kidney pain and showed the stones I'd passed, and soon was giving a urine sample. Back in a little later, they put in an IV, took a blood sample. Dora joined me. They put a painkiller drip in. Waited. Eventually they took me for a CAT-scan. Out and more waiting. They keep the place cold, and I haven't eaten, and I have a headache, but I can't take pills or water in case they do a procedure.
Eventually get results, and it's as expected. Blood analysis is fine, blood in urine, one big stone rolling around inside my bladder. Prescriptions, schedule another appointment. Out.
Nice to be out in the warm air. Take a sumatriptan. But soon into a bus, which has air-conditioning working too well for my taste. Take a paracetamol. Long ride. Home before 2:30. Food and a lie-down revived me a bit.
Out with Dora to pharmacy and groceries. Home, then out again to sit in VA plaza and go for a long walk; lovely slightly-cool weather.
2019-08-20 (Tuesday)Headachey. Felt better by midday.
Out after noon for two trips to grocery stores. Dinner. Loafed.
Out at 5:15 with Dora and niece. To bus and longish ride to hospital. Dora in for an appointment, and she was in there a long time.
Finally out, and onto the 34 bus. Planning to go to Gracia and do some gift-shopping etc. But then Dora gets a call that there's some real-estate legal emergency in Peru, and wants to go home to call Peru. I talk her out of that, and we get off at Diagonal metro and walk up into Gracia.
Which turn into a bit of a fiasco. It's nearing the end of Festa Major Gracia, and the place is mobbed, with long lines to get down the streets that have nice decorations. We stop in a few interesting shops, but mostly stumble around through crowds. Want to find Joanic metro, but none of the streets are showing up on my map.
Finally get across to Bailen, and into an Indian restaurant, where we have quite a nice meal. Pic
Down Bailen to Verdaguer metro, and to VA. Dora and niece head straight home, I stop in fruit shop. Home by 10.
2019-08-21 (Wednesday)Out after 11 with Dora. Heading to hospital, but she has to stop at a bank, and I had to go back to fetch my kidney-stones. Onto bus by 11:30, arrive only 5 minutes late for my 12 noon appointment. In to the doctor 5 minutes later, out in 2 minutes. Take the stones down to the lab. Will do a urethroscopy in September.
Down to a church for a while, then down to L'illa shopping center. Looking for some kind of art or artisanl shop, but it's all clothing shops and standard mall stuff. Finally onto a bus and head home, tired and hungry.
Dinner, rest. Dora's sister arrives around 6:15.
Out with Dora after 6:15. Heading down to San Andreu, but suddenly Dora remembers she has a 6:30 dentist appointment. So we go there, and have to wait, and out by maybe 7:30.
Across Meridiana and down to Gran Via San Andreu, and look in several shops. Buy some gifts to take to Romania tomorrow.
To a cafe for coffees and pastries. Eventually out and home by 9:30.
Packing to go to Romania.
Trip to Romania:
2019-08-22 (Thursday)Up at 7:15. Shower, packing, food.
Niece and sister went out to a shop "for 5 minutes", 15 minutes before the taxi was to arrive, and were out for 20 minutes. Taxi didn't stop in front of our door, but out of sight 100 feet down the street. Finally got everything and everyone loaded, off by 9:10. Two blocks away, I asked if everyone had their ID documents, and of course no one had brought the niece's documents. Back to apartment, where it took 5+ minutes to dig up the documents. Off again.
To airport, arrived before 10 for 11:30 flight. Relieved to get through check-in; been having problems with niece's name on tickets lately. Long line through Security; they've been having some kind of partial strike. I had to do passport control, too.
Got to the gate just as they started boarding at 11. Took my time, got aboard, plenty of empty seats. Then we had some kind of delay and took off around 12.
Uneventful flight, except for the cheapest airplane meal I've ever had, just noodles with a tiny medallion of meat, and a chocolate wafer that was pretty nice, actually.
Landed at Bucharest. Long line for the women at the bathroom. Got the luggage. Out, and the person picking us up is delayed. That's fine with me, I want to check at a desk here about the niece's return ticket, 10 days from now. The desk is ALL the way at the other end of the terminal, but we find it, and they say the ticket is fine.
Back to Arrivals, and our ride shows up a minute later. Load up into an SUV and start heading north. But traffic is thick, have to U-turn and try another route at one point.
Arrive in Fieni around 6, I think, local time (5 in Spain). Meet the relatives, have a simple but nice meal. Nice chat, but only Dora and one relative speak multiple languages, so there's a lot of partial communication. I'm getting tired and a little headachey. And it turns out there's no room for Dora and I to stay here, we have to go to a relative's hotel, where we stayed last time we were here.
After 7:30, into a car, stop at a market, then to the hotel. Get settled by 8:30 or so. Same room we had last time. Adequate, not great. We're over top of a bar/disco, so probably there will be noise on Friday and Saturday nights. And I think the Wi-Fi is down, I'm getting a slow public Wi-Fi from the park outside.
2019-08-23 (Friday)Up slowly. Out at 10 or so to nearby small supermarket for fruit, yogurt, soap, toilet paper.
Out later to walk around town a bit. Hotter now, in the sun, but lovely if you're in the shade. We didn't go far, but we did get to the cemetery where a relative is buried. Lots of pretty flowers and decorations. Pics Noticed one grave where the death-date seems to be in the future ("19.11.2019") ?
Lounging around, sitting on a park bench, when the others called from the house, they're hungry. And we realize that Dora's watch is still on Spanish time, 1 hour behind Romanian time. So back to the pension, and soon picked up by car.
At the house, lots of meat on the grill, and soon we're having a big meal. Nice conversation, but 4 different languages (Spanish, Italian, Romanian, English) make things awkward at times. Dora speaks 3 of the 4, and one relative speaks a different 3 of 4, so we can get through anything.
We loaf, and I'm feeling tired and headachey from so much talk, and several kinds of alcohol. Eventually I go lie down, I think others are doing the same, Dora has a shower. I take a Neobrufen.
In early evening, we head out to the river (creek) a couple of blocks away. There they wash the dog (pic), and the women get into a big water-fight, as they did when we were here 3 years ago. One relative back at the house is flying a drone that hovers over us taking video.
Back to the house, and the women variously try to change clothes or dry out. Niece and her mother disappear for hours. Dora and I and a couple of others chat and snack until we're tired.
Driven home by 9. And the bar downstairs already has music going; we're told we're going to hear it until 4 AM. It's not too bad. But it continues until 3:30 AM or so.
Headache; take a paracetamol. A couple of relatives want to meet us at 10:30 downstairs for dancing, but I'm not up for it. Dora goes. I take a sumatriptan.
2019-08-24 (Saturday)Picked up around noon, and taken to the house. By 12:45, we're piling into the car and SUV and heading for the mountains. Up to near Sinaii, but by the back or western way, I think. We stop for 10 minutes to let some bad relay in the car cool off, and the niece takes selfie after selfie with a selfie stick her cousin lent her, a novelty for her.
Going again, and up to Bucegi pass or park. Out at the park HQ, and after some confusion we sit down for a nice meal.
Dora hears from her son back in Barcelona. The electricity in the apartment has failed. Later we're told the stove/oven has failed somehow and takes down the whole apartment; maybe the breaker for it is bad too. Eventually they get the rest of the electricity working, minus the stove/oven.
When we're done, I want to do a little hiking in the hills. So all of us except Dora's sister head out. We go further than I expected, and I'm in sandals, so when we started climbing steep grassy slopes, I'm slipping. But we get some exercise and enjoy the views. Pics.
Eventually down, and eventually into the cars, and home by 6 or so. I go to lie down for a while and listen to my MP3s.
Up at 8:30 or so, and niece is still sleeping. We chat and have some food. Then Dora and I are driven home after 10.
Dora is going to be picked up at 1 to go to Bucharest airport to pick up her other sister and the twins and bring them here.
As usual, loud music from the disco downstairs until 3:30 AM or so.
Alarm at 12:45, Dora out before 1, goes to airport. Then sends message that the flight is delayed 2 hours. She and the others arrive here at 7 AM.
2019-08-25 (Sunday)Dora groaned out of bed at noon. Most of the others waiting down in the park. Moved the suitcases for the sister and twins down and out to the SUV. Eventually we were all gathered, and 8 of us piled into the SUV, the three women in the back seat with the three children on top of them. To the house.
We loafed. Niece enjoyed catching the chicken and carrying it around. Joined by a cousin who lives nearby, another beefy Romanian guy, many of them are built like oxen around here. Had a nice meal.
Then all of us visitors headed down to the river/creek, where everyone had a lot of fun for a long time. The twins were reluctant to go in at first, but eventually plunged in. Dora and one sister got totally soaked; the other sister and I mostly stayed out, going in only up to our knees. At one point the niece took a smartphone into the water to take selfies, and I was sure she was going to drop it in the water, but it came out okay.
Back home, and crashed for naps/rests.
Up, and some snacks and fruits while we chatted. The twins scared by the dog here barking loudly at people next door; it's a pretty ferocious dog. Lovely cool evening, but dark clouds coming over. Eventually there were occasional raindrops, and lightning not too far away.
Dora and me into the SUV and home by 9. Dora not feeling well.
I thought the disco would be shut down tonight, but no such luck. Somewhat less-loud music until 2 AM or so, I think.
2019-08-26 (Monday)The people at the house said they would pick us up at 11, but then plans changed. I went to store for a couple of items, swung by the bus stop but still can't get any info about buses. We were downstairs and waiting by 11:20 or so, but then back up to the room by 12:30.
At 1:30, we went down and met a taxi, and to the house. Not much happening there, people loafing and napping. A little to eat, but Dora still is feeling bad. We lie down for a while.
I thought we were going to the river again, but it's getting later and later. I go for a short walk in the back orchard with the grandfather, then over to the workshop they've built two doors away. Back home, nothing happening, I walk down to the river and back. Dora stirring, so I go walking with her, and the grandfather joins us. Eventually home, and we meet the other coming out. To the river, and they swim a little, but the kids say the water is too cold (I don't think it's more than a degree or two colder than yesterday, but there's no sun now).
Home, with the kids being scared on the way by a big dog who follows us curiously.
6 medium+ pizzas are delivered, and I pay equivalent of $40 for them. But only about 5 of us are eating, so they'll have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.
Dora still feeling bad. Finally we're into a car and back to the pension by 9.
No music downstairs tonight; nice.
2019-08-27 (Tuesday)Slow getting started. I'm up at 10, Dora groans out of bed at 11. But she's feeling better today.
Out at 11:30, moving out of the room. I leave money for the maid and press money on the owner of the hotel, who is family and tries to refuse money but I insist.
Dora and I go to a nice hotel restaurant for lunch, and have a very nice meal. I have roast mushrooms and pork ribs, Dora has beef. We eat too much. Pic.
Out before 1, and I hustle to an ATM, then up to the hotel vestibule to grab our suitcases. Down, and a taxi is there, but no driver. Soon we find a driver, but also both of Dora's sister's and their kids. I'm afraid they all want to go to Bucharest with us in our taxi. But then it turns out they ARE going to Bucharest, but in a second taxi. We thought they were going to go early, and make a day-trip of it. But here they are at 1, just leaving.
We get in our taxi and off by 1:15 or so. I'm a little anxious that we arrive by 3, since our AirBNB host has a doctor's appointment at 4. Long, slowish trip with not much air-conditioning. We arrive at 3:05, soon the host shows up and lets us in, the apartment is nice, he leaves by 3:15. Unlike the hotel room in Fieni, this apartment has fully-functioning plumbing.
Dora sends a message to her sisters, still in their taxi, and now they're going to come here.
But they never show up. I hear various fragments of info, they've stopped for a meal, they're going around town, they've found a hotel room.
I go out around 5. Find Tourist Info inside the nearby metro station. I get maps, and ask where the nearest big supermarket is. I get directed to the next plaza to the south, and start walking there. Big complex across the boulevard from our place; I think it's a hospital: pic. Next plaza is about 4x as far away as I guessed, and the supermarket is another block or two around the side of a mall. It's a Carrefour hiper-market, but the layout is strange, spread over at least two floors. I get meat and cheese and yogurt and fruit, but can't find bread or cereal. Upstairs seems to be clothing.
Finally out, and long walk home. Dora has the AC on "arctic". I turn it to "reasonable", and take a shower, and lie down for a while, but I'm feeling weak and have some chills.
Around 8, we give up on the others and head out to see a little of Old Town. I get about 100 feet from the apartment building and start feeling bad. Turn back, find a convenient stone planter that has nothing but soil in it, and vomit several times. Back into the apartment to clean up.
Soon out again, the others say they're at the nearby metro station. But as we walk toward it, it's clear they're wrong, their description matches the mall/plaza I was at earlier, where I got the groceries. Then they're not answering messages.
We go into the metro, buy tickets, get a train, one stop to next station. Up and make phone contact and wait 15 minutes or so until they arrive.
Then wait another 10 minutes as the niece and sister are shopping. I'm feeling weak and a little queasy. They're out, we head for McDonald's, the two sisters head off to do grocery shopping. When we finally get some food and drink, my soda and ice cream steady my stomach a little.
Eventually out and rejoin the others, and they want us to go to their apartment with them, but it's a taxi-ride away, two taxis for all of us, and I just want to go home. So we put them in a taxi, Dora and I go back into the metro, out, stop at a small store for soda etc, home by 10:30. I lie down. Later soda and paracetamol, Dora says I'm running a bit of a temperature.
I slept fairly well. Dora fell asleep in front of the TV, I think, and came to bed very late. And she was feeling chills.
2019-08-28 (Wednesday)A bit headachey and still some GI distress. Took a Neobrufen. Up at 9 or so, showered and out after 10 to buy shampoo and conditioner for Dora.
Out at 11 or so. To metro, two stops, out at Piata Victorie. Huge traffic circle/intersection, and no signs to the museum. We ask, and get directed. To Grigore Antipa museum, which turns out to be a natural history museum, not an art museum as I expected. But we go in. Guy at ticket -machine asked if I wanted a "senior" admission, first time that's ever happened to me (I declined).
Toured 3 floors of taxidermed animals and skeletons and various other exhibits. Pics. Nice, but I'm still feeling a little weak and then headachey. Take a paracetamol.
Eventually out, and take metro back to near home. Find a vietnamese restaurant, and have a nice meal. Pic. Sounds like the others are just arriving at the museum we left 20 minutes ago.
Out of the restaurant, and into an antigues market. Dora has lost the hat she bought in Fieni, so I bought her a new one. Walk a couple of blocks into Old Town, but it's hot, and none of the streets have street-signs. Eventually find our way back to known territory, and home by 3. Lie down.
After 5, I'm up and researching places in Bucharest on the internet. But today is the hottest day of the week (35C) and most museums close at 6. Still a bit headachey.
Then the others want to give us tour-bus tickets to use for a couple of hours for free, but I'm not feeling up to it, especially on a hot afternoon.
I take Nolotil and lie down for a while. Up at 8, and the others want us to come to their apartment. But it turns out to be sort of in the middle of nowhere, a fair amount of walking to get there, and nothing of interest to do when we get there.
Out after 8:30, to meet the others at Piata Uniri at 9:30. We stroll through part of Old Town, stopping to buy a couple of souvenirs. Lots of cafes, including a lot of Guinness-serving bars and restaurants.
Down to the Piata fairly quickly; I guess it's not as far as I thought from my first experience walking it. Into the mall and wander through 3 floors of it, just glancing in windows.
Down and out to street at 9:30, and the others are still waiting to get a bus, apparently. So we cross the street and go down to a huge "magic fountains" area. The only colors are blue and pink, and there was a tiny bit of music at 9:30 only. But we sit and enjoy it. Pics.
The others say they've arrived by 10 or so, but we don't see them. Eventually we get up and look for them, cross a huge boulevard, eventually find them completely on the other side.
We sit for a bit, taking pictures. Then head up toward Old Town, because at least the boy-twin says he's hungry. We get to a kebab shop, order a lot of food, take it out to the others. And then it turns out that really only the niece and Dora and I are eating much. We do a pretty good job of demolishing the food, so I guess we didn't really order too much, but it was more than I wanted to eat.
I continue to be surprised by the number of money-exchange places in this town; there's one inside this kebab shop, one just down the street from our apartment, etc. Don't people just use ATMs ?
Then at 11:30 Dora's sister is showing us a brochure and saying they want to go on a castles-tour tomorrow, can I speak English to the tour company ? Bus leaves at 0800 and it's a 12-hour trip. She dials, I talk to a sleepy person who we caught just as they were going to bed. Only 3 seats left and there would be 5 people going, not going to work.
Then suddenly the girl-twin is vomiting; she's been sick on and off the last couple of days. No way she should be on a 12-hour trip tomorrow, I'm thinking.
Finally we get out of the cafe, and confusion about where we're going. Then the others are heading home, first supposedly by bus, but we think their usual bus probably is not running at this hour. They get into a taxi and are off. Dora stroll home, and it's not as long as I thought from my first experience. Home by midnight.
2019-08-29 (Thursday)Out at 10:30 or so. To metro, one stop to connect at Unirii, one stop to Izvor. Across a fairly dry park in heat, and walk to the Palace of the Parliament. Heaviest building in the world, second-biggest in the world.
We're there by 11:25, get tickets for the 12 noon tour. Some nice modern art, mostly for sale, in the lobby area. Free Wi-Fi, and I was able to make a reservation at another palace for tomorrow. Apparently the others got up early and are on a bus to go see the Dracula castle.
Tour started. They gave us badges to wear, on metal chains, then put us through a metal-detector. The chain set off the detector for each person, so every one of us had to be hand-scanned; bad arrangement.
The palace was enormous and full of marble and chandeliers, but very little art. Big but boring. And almost nowhere to sit down and rest. Pics.
Finished the tour and sat down for a while. Out around 1:15. The Contemporary Art museum is supposed to be behind this building, and a guy who gave me directions said it was 500 meters or so away. Well, we walked and walked around the perimeter of the palace wall, in hot weather, through totally uninteresting streets, and couldn't find it.
Found the address I'd found on the internet, on a billboard at a cathedral under construction, but the guard said we'd gone too far, go back. We went back a bit, and another guard said no, keep going in the direction we were going, it's only another 1-2 kilometers. We gave up.
Back to the front of the palace, across the hot park, still not a single cafe anywhere. Into metro, to Unirii, long walk to connect, to Universitate.
Home before 3, sweaty and hot and footsore. Water, shower, relax.
Out before 4. Into Old Town, through a couple of streets we haven't tried. Looking for a restaurant. Pic. Wound around a bit, and ended up going through an alley full of hookah-bars and such. Out and around and found a nice Lebanese restaurant, sat inside and the owner (I think) was sucking on a hookah while using his laptop.
Nice meal, a bit too much food. Delicious and comfortable. Pics.
Out around 5:45, into the center a little more, watched some girls practicing some kind of street-dance routine. National bank: pic. Home by 6.
Out after 10. Over a couple of blocks and down into the main part of Old Town, which I'm starting to realize is not so big, maybe 10 blocks by 6 blocks. Bars and restaurants are doing good business, and loud music in several places. Football game on lots of TVs. We see the back end of a street concert over on the west side, but it sounds like recorded music when we were there, must be between sets.
Back over to the center, sit for a bit. Then into a cafe. I had wanted ice cream and Dora wanted coffee, but somehow we ended up at a place with no ice cream, and Dora had a fruit smoothie. Pleasant enough, but no view and a bit warm outside.
Eventually out, sat a little while. Headed for home but found some loud discos a block south of our street. Home by midnight-15.
2019-08-30 (Friday)Out at 10. To Universitate metro, and up 4 stops to Aviatorilor station. Long walk to the Arch de Triumph (pic), then a bit more to the "village museum". Had to wait for 5 minutes for someone to appear to sell us tickets. Wandered through lots of traditional/ancient houses and barns and mills and such, including some interesting water-wheel-for-gold-sluicing constructions. Pics.
Then out, long walk back to metro, to Unirri, connect, to Politehnica. Long walk over to Museum Controceni, and as I feared it's in the middle of nowhere, no cafe inside or nearby. But a vending machine, and we brought water and powerbars, so we had a small meal while we waited.
Into the museum/palace, and a bit irritating that they don't allow photography in the central courtyard, I guess they want to sell pictures themselves. Tour guide a bit laborious with giving historical names and dates and giving weights of some of the big tables and such. And she didn't like that often I and a couple others were lagging behind to wait for others to get out of rooms so we could take pictures or see what they'd been standing in front of.
But an interesting place, lots of beautiful rooms, some nice sculpture and art, plenty of nice furniture. Pics.
Almost nowhere to sit down, and then at the end we had to go to the gift shop as a group, which meant that 1/3 of us with no interest in the shop had to wait for the others.
Finally out, and we caught a tram-bus that the tour guide told us about, saving us a lot of hot walking and connecting and time. Found out our paper tickets don't work in the bus, but no one caught us.
Out near Universitate. Stopped at a small shop in the metro station, and home by 3:30. Hot, sweaty, footsore. Food, shower.
Out at 10:45 for a walk with Dora. Up in a direction we haven't been. Interesting theater-arts center. Looked in shop windows. Found a nearby biserica I saw earlier today (pic), but it looks closed for renovations. Home around midnight.
2019-08-31 (Saturday)Out at 10:30 or so. Stopped to go into a couple of bisericas; small but nice. Hard to take pictures, but: pics.
Up to two art museums next to each other (pics in the area): Romanian Museum of European Art (pics), and Museum of Romanian Art (pics). Both quite nice, and big. But I was having pains as we came out of the second. Took a Neobrufen.
Down to the side of Old Town, and to a nice cafe (Paul's) for lunch. Blueberry tart was so nice that we ordered a mixed-berry tart, but the second was not as nice as the first. Pics.
Out and down the street, and stopped into a biserica where there were having a baptism, with another baby lined up to be next.
To the Romanian History Museum. Confused to find a wedding party milling around the front door; I was afraid the museum was closed for a private party, but no, it's just a popular place for post-wedding pictures.
The history museum was much nicer than I expected, with big sections on WWI, treasury, moon landings, and toys. Pics. I was in pain for a while, but felt better later.
Out, and saw CEC Palace across the street: pic.
Stopped into another small/tiny biserica on the way home. This one was really small, and more tourists started pouring in as we tried to get out.
Stop at a mini-market for various items, including a tub of chocolate ice-cream for me. Home before 6.
2019-09-01 (Sunday)Out at 11. Up to metro, used it to cross the street, then started into a small biserica, then a big one (Saint George New Church). Lots of people, loud singing through the PA system, nice biserica. Pics.
Tried to get to Coral Temple synagogue, and at one point we could see part of it, but the streets are impossibly twisty and we never could get to it.
Eventually came out at Piata Unirii. Into a small biserica there. Then down and around the fountains and up a small hill to the Patriarchal Cathedral complex. Lots of people coming out after a mass. Beautiful church. Pics. Cool and breezy in the shaded portico; Dora dozed for a while, she's hot and in a little pain.
Down the hill and up to Old Town. Another biserica there, but a wedding is taking place, and the interior is not big, so we didn't stay long. Pics.
Found a cafe (La Mahala) and had a nice meal, but it was a little too warm outside for Dora's comfort. Misc pics.
Out, and walked about 6 blocks through Old Town to our street. Home after 2:30.
Out at 8. Through metro station and to other side of the boulevard, to check out airport bus stop, and a free symphony concert going on. But the bus stop showed no schedule, and the concert had bad sound amplification and was next to a busy road. Pic.
Into the metro, tried to ask about tickets for the airport bus, got nowhere. Down to the platform, caught a train to Unirii, connect, train to Eilevor, connect, to Politehnica. Walked a couple of blocks to huge AFI Conocentri mall. Lots of attractions for kids, and plenty of shops of all kinds. Pics.
Out at 10 as everything was closing. To metro, to Unirii, connect, to Universitate, stopped at a small store. Home before 11.
Online, tried to do the check-in for the airline tickets tomorrow, but the web site is demanding every scrap of info they can possibly ask for, and Dora's sister has a new passport that I am missing the dates for. [Later, realized I should have switched to use her DNI instead. And still later, found out she let her passport expire, she needs to get a new one.]
2019-09-02 (Monday)Started the morning with an email message saying they've closed my US credit card because it has a Spanish mailing address on the account. Wonderful.
And can't check in online for the plane flight any more; have to do it at the airport.
Out after 10. To metro station to buy a bus ticket (found a bus ticket booth up on the street) and to store for one item.
Leaving apartment at 10:45. Walked into the center a little, trundling two suitcases, and killed time for an hour or so.
Then to metro station, and had a snack in the small cafe there, and got rid of most of our Lei-coins on them.
Up and to the bus stop, and only had to wait a few minutes before the 784 bus appeared. On, and long ride to the airport, but we had seats.
Into the airport, and it's crowded. Sister and niece are here already, and eventually we join up with them. Our relatives from Romania are here to say good-bye, too.
They leave, we sort out luggage, then head to check-in. Where, after getting through a line, we find that our tickets include NO luggage. We have one huge suitcase, one big, three smaller suitcases, and various bags and knapsack.
Off to a counter, to pay €120 for the two big bags. Unclear if we'll be able to board with the other 3, they're pushing the size limit.
Through a very slow Security line, then an even slower passport-check line for me. Eventually to gates, with about an hour to spare.
We find a cafe and have some food, and our flight is late getting listed on the board. Some other flights are getting delayed or having gate-changes. But eventually ours is listed, we head there, get through line and onto a bus without having our bags flagged.
Out to the plane, and by the time we're on, all the overhead space is gone. 2 of 3 of our bags have to go underneath, but that's fine with me, no charge for it.
Longish flight to Barcelona, and I doze as much as possible.
Land, long wait for door to open, passport control again for me, quickly through baggage claim, took a huge wad of cash out of an ATM, out and into a large taxi.
Some traffic, but generally a smooth ride home, and the charge is only €40, I'd expected €55 or something. Home after 9, greeted by Dora's son and mother.
So, Romania was nice. Our relatives in Fieni were very good to us, and Bucharest was fun. Maybe next time we'll get to a symphony concert and some theater.
Situation in the apartment not as bad as I feared. While we were gone, the oven/stove quit and took the electric with it, the air-conditioner controls finally failed completely after being balky for a long time, and today I was told the internet had failed (maybe Dora didn't pay a bill). But now I find they've replaced the stovetop (today, I think, and covered by insurance), and the internet is fine. The air-conditioner controls are dead, and might take a while to replace, that's a bummer.
Very heavy rain starting before midnight; nice.
2019-09-03 (Tuesday)Out at 10 or so. To bank to pay for mother's transit card. To niece's school to pay for two months of tuition (€285). To Dia for groceries.
Home, shave and shower, hustle out with Dora to bus stop. Got on bus, then noticed that time was wrong on Dora's phone. Soon we figured out that no, the time was wrong on my computer, still on Romanian time, and we were going to be early for my appointment at the hospital.
Got to the waiting room at 11:43 for my 12:30 appointment, and were in to see the doctor less than 5 minutes later. Friendliest doctor I've met here, and ver informative. Out 5 minutes later, upstairs to schedule a procedure, out to bus stop and right onto a bus.
Out near home. Stopped in ferreteria, then Chinese shop, then fruit shop. Home by 1:15 or so.
Out with Dora in early evening to buy planters and flowers, to put on the balcony.
Out to sit in VA plaza for a while; lovely cool weather.
Skype-called my credit-card company about why they closed my account, and pretty much got nowhere.
2019-09-04 (Wednesday)Up early, thinking Dora had 4 medical appointments, only to be told all my information is wrong, it's all been changed. So why didn't she tell me that yesterday when I handed her a print-out of all our appointments ?
I'm starting on a low-fiber diet, for several days, until I have a colonoscopy. I'm sure I'll dislike the diet, but maybe it will help me lose some weight.
Out at 9 or so with Dora. To bus, to hospital, did her stuff, out and to a cafe for a little while. Then bus to home. I went to metro, ATM, groceries.
Headachey in late afternoon, from heat and diet. Took a paracetamol.
Out in evening. Sat in VA plaza for a while, walked. To pharmacy and had sticker-shock: €38 for some cleansing medicine I need to take before my colonoscopy. To Chinese shop for something, to Dia for groceries.
Headache; took ibuprofen.
2019-09-05 (Thursday)Loafed much of the day. Insurance guy came to look at the air-conditioner, but was here for about 2 minutes, saw not an electricity problem, won't be covered.
Out at 5:30 with Dora to pick up first 4 schoolbooks for niece.
Out at 7 to mail a letter, walk, sit in VA plaza. Home at 8:15, just before the skies opened up and heavy rain started.
2019-09-06 (Friday)Mostly-liquid diet today. Out at 1 to sit in plaza, and then go to fruit/veg shop. Out again at 5:15 to Dia for groceries.
Took the first dose of CitraFleet at 5:45. Started drinking lots of water. About an hour later, things were moving along nicely.
Dora's father home from the South at 8.
To bed early, then up at 2 to take another dose of CitraFleet.
2019-09-07 (Saturday)Out before 9 with Dora. Cool weather, and we're not dressed warmly enough. To bus, and to hospital by 9:40 for my 10:00 appointment. But they didn't take me until about 10:30, I think. I was sedated, and Dora says the procedure didn't take long, but somehow I don't think we got out until noon. Headache; took a paracetamol. To a cafe, then to the bus, and home before 2. I seem to be missing an hour or more somewhere. But later Dora says we weren't taken in until almost 11. Tired and GI tract still messed up.
Out at 8 for a walk. Lovely cool weather. VA plaza full of booths for something, and too many people walking on the sidewalks. Walked, then to Bon Area for groceries.
Took a diazepam and slept well.
2019-09-08 (Sunday)Dora's son out at 6 AM, on his way back to medical school in Slovakia. Headachey: paracetamol.
I cooked dinner. Not my best effort: the chicken was pretty tough.
Heavy rain starting before 3, lasting a while.
Out for a walk at 7 or so, but it's cool and spitting rain, not very comfortable.
2019-09-09 (Monday)Out after noon, to Dia for groceries, then to pick up niece at tutor. Paid €120 for another set of lessons for her.
Out at 5 or so. To an ATM, and it ate my US ATM card. The bank is sending me a new better card, and said the old card would work until the new one is activated, but apparently not. Had just enough money in my pocket to go to ECI and pay the water-bill (€160 for 2 months) and then to a pharmacy to buy ibuprofen (€2 for 30 x 400 mg). Sat in the plaza for a bit.
Out at 8, walked down to Meridiana to use ATM for which I have a card, then to fruit shop. Nice weather, and loads of people out.
Heavy rain a couple of times around 3 AM - 4 AM.
2019-09-10 (Tuesday)Weather grey and threatening rain. Heavy rain starting around 11:15.
Out before noon with Dora, in rain. To bank to recover my ATM card, and it took a while. It wasn't in the ATM I used, but somehow had migrated into an ATM inside that I definitely had not used. Strange. Anyway, got it back.
To phone shop to buy case and cover for Dora's phone, then to cosmetics shop, then to flower shop to buy more flowers for the balcony. Home by 1:30, feeling cold.
Washing machine seems to have stopped working. Sigh.
At 7, dragged Dora out into the rain and to a used-appliance store a couple of blocks away. We put down €50 on a 7 KG Bosch washing machine with 1-year warranty, to be delivered Friday, total including delivery €180. I went to Dia for groceries.
Raining all evening. Cool night, lovely weather for sleeping.
2019-09-11 (Wednesday)Weather grey, cool, and threatening rain. Heavy rain starting at 9:15. Sunny, clear and very windy by 11:30 or so.
I cooked dinner, chicken-noodle casserole. Nourishing but unexciting.
Out in midafternoon to walk and sit; nice weather.
Took back plate off washing machine, hoping to see some obvious problem such as a disconnected wire, but no such luck.
Out in evening for a walk and sit, but loads of people everywhere. And some people wearing Catalan independence colors; today was Catalunya day, and 600K people demonstrated near Placa Espanya.
2019-09-12 (Thursday)Beautiful sunny day. First day of school for the niece. Before noon, I went out to get groceries.
Dinner was a SNAFU: Dora and I cooked turkey-rice-zucchini for everyone, but then niece wanted salmon cooked by her grandmother, Dora's father had leftover spaghetti, but then he ate the turkey anyway I think.
Out to sit in the plaza for a while, then get more groceries.
Online, booked AirBNB and plane tickets for my brother and I to go to Sevilla for 5 days in October.
Typical bank nonsense: Received a new ATM card from my US bank, as requested. But they truncated the apartment number off my mailing address (fortunately I got it anyway). Skype-called, tried to activate it and couldn't. Turns out that instead of a new card, they first sent a duplicate of the old card. A new card was mailed last Friday, so that one is in transit.
Out after 6:45 with Dora, and it's a mess. Stopped at several beauty parlors but they're all closing, then her shoe broke so she had to buy new ones, then to metro photo booth where she struggled for 15 minutes to take photos (I've been nagging her all week to do it, she needs them for an appointment tomorrow morning). Finally I left her and went to an ATM, then walked and sat in VA plaza for a while.
2019-09-13 (Friday)Up before 8. Out before 9. Metro Llucmajor to Trinitat Nova, to national police, so Dora could renew passport and DNI. A smooth experience, fees €42. Metro back to Llucmajor. To HCC, to check on her gym membership and look in a clothing store. To niece's school, to pay €83 for books. And found out a refund of money I paid for school trip last year went to sister's bank account, so probably never to be seen again. To fruit shop. Home before 10:45.
Went to sit in the plaza after dinner, but it's spitting rain, went back home.
New/used washing machine delivered after 5.
Out at 7:30 or so for a sit and walk. Loads of people out, and some kind of opera-music promotion going on up and down F-i-P, music speakers out in front of some businesses.
2019-09-14 (Saturday)Up at 7. But then niece appears at 7:35 and says all her muscles/joints hurt, she's not going to (first of the year) gymnastics class this morning. Argh.
Thinking of doing a family trip to NYC next summer, and I'm a bit shocked at how little Dora and her son and niece know about USA or NYC. They just know they want to go there. Asked son what he wanted to see in NYC, and all he could say was "all of it". Dora wants to see the sidewalk with all the stars and famous names on it. I said I'm going make them pass a test before I let them go on the trip.
Out in middle of day for a long sit and walk. Lovely weather.
Dora and parents watching some huge slavery-in-Colombia movie all day long on Netflix; she's often watching movies or (true-crime) TV shows that make me squirm.
Out in evening with Dora to watch about 30 minutes of first half of Barca game. But we weren't comfortable, perched on barstools in a bar with the TV a bit far away. Went home at halftime.
Niece healthy enough to stay up past 2 AM watching TV.
2019-09-15 (Sunday)Dora and parents binge-watching that TV show/series again. I guess it's sort of a telenovella or drama, but it seems never-ending. They watched it ALL day.
I was out several times for long walks. A big fiesta taking place in VA plaza today, and it's by a Ukrainian association, of all things.
2019-09-16 (Monday)Dora watching an hour of that TV drama again this morning, but fortunately she had to go to Catalan class at 11, back before 2. I did find out that the drama mentions the life of Simon Bolivar, so it's interesting to the family (who all are from Peru). And at 2:15, they're back to watching it !
Out at 7:30 or so with niece and Dora and mother. To ECI, to buy swimsuit and other school-clothes for niece. Home at 9.
2019-09-17 (Tuesday)Headachey in morning; took ibuprofen and laid down for a while. Out in midafternoon to sit and walk a little and get groceries.
Received new ATM card from US bank. Called to activate it, couldn't, called the main customer number, eventually they said it's already active, nothing to do. I asked why it didn't have a CVV on it, and they said only debit cards have those, and they don't send those to foreign addresses, so I get only an ATM card. I wasn't told that when I changed address on the account.
Out at 6:15 with niece and father. To H6 bus, and to gymnastics class in Gracia, near Parc Guell. Niece goes in for 7 - 8:30 class, father and I have nowhere obvious to wait. Street pic. So I lead him 6 blocks or so across to a church I've seen before, nice outdoor plaza to sit in. And this time the church was open, I've never been inside. We went in and attended 7:30 mass; I ducked out halfway through. Pic.
Back to gymnasium, picked up niece, to bus stop, D40 bus, home before 9:15.
2019-09-18 (Wednesday)Headachey in morning; took paracetamol-plus. Laid down for a while.
Out with Dora at 12:30 or so. To several air-conditioner-repair type places, but all we got was phone numbers for other places. Dora to dentist, I went to Bon Area and then fruit shop.
Out a couple of times to the plaza and walk. Insurance guys came at about 5:30 to look at the water-tank, and said it's all our problem.
Eating lighter, getting ready for a kidney-stone procedure tomorrow.
2019-09-19 (Thursday)Liquids only, today. Going to hospital this afternoon.
Out at 2 with Dora. To bus stop, to hospital (managing to miss our stop and have to walk an extra couple of blocks). Got there at 2:50 and were informed that my procedure was scheduled for 5; this appointment has been handled a little carelessly and rescheduled a couple of times. I'm having endoscope-laser destruction of a big kidney stone in my bladder.
So we wait in reasonable comfort, eventually go downstairs, and I think they took us in a little early. I change into a gown, onto a gurney, and say good-bye to Dora.
I get wheeled into a prep/recovery area, I think. Soon some confusion because we didn't do any paperwork about anaesthesia, but I sign the papers there. Then they start to do a spinal injection, but I stop them, Dora and I agreed general anaesthetic was best.
So maybe some delay because of that, but I only wait maybe 10 minutes. Then into operating room, within 5 minutes I'm knocked out, wake up in recovery area feeling pretty good. Not even thirsty, really.
After 30-45 minutes there, I'm wheeled up to a room on 5th floor to stay overnight, and Dora is there. I find out the time is about 7:30. Orderlies slide me across into the bed and get me settled. Dora is staying the night with me, which is nice, and I was surprised when she said so at the front desk earlier.
As I expected, the worst part of this is that I have to spent the night with a catheter stuck in me, which is uncomfortable and leaks. Also have an IV into my hand.
Nurses come in once to check vital signs, and later to add to the IV and give me a pill to sleep. I think I'm getting anti-biotics and paracetamol through the IV. The sleeping pill doesn't really knock me out, at least not quickly. Dora is uncomfortable, the room is a little cold for her. But eventually we both sleep.
2019-09-20 (Friday)Awake around 8:30. Someone in to change bedding, which the catheter has made a mess. All I want is to get the catheter out, and fortunately someone comes in and does that. Into the bathroom to clean up and shower etc. Doctor comes to check on my while I'm in the shower, but Dora handles him, and when I'm dressed, a nurse takes out the IV and we leave.
To front desk, to bus, home by noon. Feeling okay, a little tired. Start drinking water and trying to get everything back to normal.
After dinner, out to sit in plaza and then to Dia for groceries.
In early evening, took apart the heater/AC control panel, expecting to see a switch that maybe could be un-soldered and replaced. Instead I found the switches are all just conductive pads that complete a circuit when pressed against the circuit board. Nothing wrong or special about the power-button, it's just like all the rest. So now I'm starting to think the problem is not the control panel, it's the unit up on the roof. Power-cycled the entire electric for the apartment; no change.
In late evening, out to metro station to buy a card, and then for a walk. Grey and maybe trying to rain a little.
Took a diazepam to sleep better. Headachey around 5 AM; took a paracetamol.
2019-09-21 (Saturday)Up at 7. Out after 8 with niece and father, through light rain to bus stop. Bus to sports center at the beach, and niece into gymnastics class 9-11. Nothing happening in the center, only some rugby to watch out on the field. Dozed and listened to MP3s. Picked up niece at 11, stop at vending machines, then to bus and home by 11:50.
Soon out again, to carnisseria to buy ribs.
Raining fairly hard at 1:30.
Out at 6:30 or so. Pleasant but cool out. Loads of people everywhere; hard to walk on the sidewalks. To Dia and fruit shop.
Out at 8:45 with Dora. One block down to a big bar, and watched first half of Barca - Granada game. An ugly half, players sliding around on a wet field at first, Granada scoring at the 2-minute mark. Then a lot of collisions and injuries. 0-1 at the half; Barca lost 0-2.
2019-09-22 (Sunday)Quiet day, even quieter than usual because it's "Dia sin Coches" (day without cars) here. Cooked ribs for dinner. Out for a nice sit and walk in midafternoon. Tried to walk in the evening but it's spitting raindrops. Then rain starting at 10.
2019-09-23 (Monday)Out a couple of times. Weather getting cooler, in the evening wished I was wearing long-sleeved shirt.
2019-09-24 (Tuesday)Holiday today.
2019-09-25 (Wednesday)Quiet day. Out a couple of times. Lots of fun on the computer, adding CSS to the web site, and trying out Thunderbird.
2019-09-26 (Thursday)Out a few times. Put together a family tree for Dora's family, working mostly from their memories. To ECI to look for noise-cancelling headphones, but no luck. Finally got my US ATM card working again. Out at 8:30 to meet Dora's father and pick up niece returning from gymnastics class.
2019-09-27 (Friday)Up at 8, out after 9 with Dora and mother. To metro, to VDH hospital. Mother has three appointments from 10 to 1, and time dragged. Done before 1, but then Dora and I had to go to several offices to see about administrative stuff for Dora's sister getting a job here. Finally done, metro, home by 2:30.
Online, trying to renew a Catalan govt digital ID certificate. Their site always has been wacky, and now it says only browser you can use is Internet Explorer. Went to Dora's (Windows) laptop, and there IE says "this site has a bad security certificate, won't load it". Back to my (Linux) laptop, tried to use User-Agent Switcher (on Firefox) to fool the site, works halfway but then fails. Gave up. [Tried next day with User-Agent Switcher on ungoogled-chromium, still no go.]
2019-09-28 (Saturday)Up at 7. Then at 7:45, I'm told niece isn't feeling well, we're not going to gymnastics. Typical.
Normal day, some sitting in the plaza, some walking, grocery shopping, computer, etc.
2019-09-29 (Sunday)Gave myself a haircut. Quiet day. Out several times to sit and walk. Did lots of computer, as usual.
Online, ordered noise-cancelling headphones. I listen to MP3s so much that I really should have done this a long time ago, instead of using junky throwaway earbuds.
2019-09-30 (Monday)Quiet day. Out several times, nothing special.
After midnight, couldn't sleep a wink. Laid in bed until 2:45, got up for 2 hours, back to bed and slept, mostly.
2019-10-01 (Tuesday)Up after 10:45. Lots of interesting stuff happening in the park construction across the street: 4 or 5 pieces of equipment operating right near each other, they took down a tree, etc.
Received the headphones I ordered. They look big on my head, but I guess I'll get used to them. Bluetooth with my phone works fine, the sound quality is good, will have to see about the noise-cancelling.
Out to sit and walk, to niece's school to pay tuition, to Dia for groceries.
Using the headphones at home. They're nice, I like them, but I think they're not noise-cancelling. Probably I got a little fooled by a similar term "anti-noise" or something. [Well, I checked, and the description says these have CVC 6.0 noise-cancellation, but as far as I can tell that applies to the microphone, not the speakers.]
At bedtime, took a diazepam to help me sleep. Slept okay.
2019-10-02 (Wednesday)Dora to Catalan class.
Out in midday, wearing my new headphones. Felt strange, but I don't think people were looking at me in particular. The headphones are better than earbuds, but they don't keep out all the noise.
Air-conditioner guy came at 5:30, but he mainly said we need an official tech for our brand of unit, it's old and specialized.
2019-10-03 (Thursday)Normal day.
2019-10-04 (Friday)Normal day. :-) Dora to Catalan class.
Actually, I've been having tooth pain for a while, will have to go to a dentist soon. Something I've been putting off for a long time.
At 1:45 AM, power went out for a couple of minutes, in the whole neighborhood.
2019-10-05 (Saturday)Didn't have to get up early; we've cancelled the niece's Saturday morning gymnastics class because she was skipping half the time and then using it as an excuse not to go to her school tutor.
I had planned to go somewhere and take pictures, but the weather this morning is grey and threatening rain.
Headache; took a paracetamol. I think I forgot to take propranalol last night.
In the evening, felt tired and maybe a little feverish. Took an ibuprofen. Took a diazepam before bed. Slept well.
2019-10-06 (Sunday)Weather still cool and grey and looking like it wants to rain.
I cooked baked chicken-potato-misc for dinner, and it seemed to be accepted.
On the computer, been doing a lot of fiddling with new email server, DNS records to point to it, email clients on Linux and Android using IMAP to email servers.
2019-10-07 (Monday)Dora to Catalan class.
2019-10-08 (Tuesday)Trying to get Bluetooth working on my Linux laptop, and it's a struggle. BIOS says my laptop has Bluetooth and it's enabled, but Linux doesn't see the device. Rebooted, and things got worse.
Headachey; took a paracetamol.
Out at 5. To ATM, and it ate my card, with no message except "transaction cancelled". Got halfway to another bank to try a different card when I realized I had used my old, cancelled card in the previous bank. Used my new card in the second bank, and it worked.
Met Dora at a farmacia to order flu shots, but it's too early to order them. To phone shop. To bus stop, waited, Dora got on to go to medical appointment. I went to another ATM and paid fee for father's transit card. Sat in plaza and then home.
2019-10-09 (Wednesday)Out at 9:40 to dentist; Dora caught up with me there. Wait, in for X-ray, wait, examined by dentist, I have two cavities (I think where old filling fell out) in upper-left back molars. Come back in a week for cleaning and filling. Cost will be €110.
Dora to Catalan class. I went to bank and retrieved the ATM card I lost yesterday. Then to Dia for groceries.
Some pretty high winds for 15 minutes or so in the early evening. Then a little rain.
2019-10-10 (Thursday)Out after 10 with Dora and mother. Metro to VDH hospital. On time for 10:45 CT-scan, but they didn't take her until 11:20. Out and to cafe for refreshments. Metro to VA, and I left them to go home while I went to buy a chicken dinner. Home by 12:50 and surprised to find they're not home, they must have gone to pick up niece at school ? [They stopped at optician.]
On the computer, working with calendar clients and servers. Tried to use Yahoo and it turned into a total mess. Used Google and it worked with almost no effort. Connected Thunderbird to it.
Niece hurt her foot in gymnastics class.
2019-10-11 (Friday)Should have expected it: niece skipping school because her foot is hurt. But they were going on a field-trip today anyway, so not too much of a loss, and there would have been a lot of walking, I assume.
Out at 10:45. Up to govt center, and renewed my digital ID certificate. Home by 11:15. Dora out to Catalan class. And of course the new certificate won't download to my computer, for the same reason I couldn't renew online: their site is mostly-broken and demanding/rejecting various browsers. But finally got it to work in IE 11 on Win10 on Dora's laptop.
My nephew in Tennessee and his wife had their baby this morning.
Got email contacts mostly straightened out, among GMail and Yahoo Mail and Proton Mail and my Android phone and K-9 Mail on the phone and Thunderbird. The secret was to put everything into GMail on the desktop and let the phone sync from there, and export from GMail to Thunderbird.
2019-10-12 (Saturday)Headachey; took ibuprofen. After dinner, took a paracetamol.
Out at 3:30 or so. To Llucmajor metro, to Jaume I. Walked to Placa Jaume, then down to the waterfront. Boat-show happening this weekend, but it's all behind fences and doesn't look so interesting anyway. Walked around a bit, then up the crowded Las Ramblas. Sat for a while. Metro to FiP. Fruit shop, then home by 5:15 or so. Still headachey.
Watched Spain play Norway on TV. Spain leading 1-0 for most of second half, then with 30 seconds to go Norway got a penalty shot and the game ended 1-1.
Took a diazepam and slept reasonably well.
2019-10-13 (Sunday)Headachey at dawn; took ibuprofen. Out for a walk in midday, and another walk with Dora in the evening. Can't get rid of my low-grade headache. Took a sumatriptan at 9:30.
2019-10-14 (Monday)Still slightly headachey. Niece has a cold; hope I'm not going to get that. She went to school long enough to take a test, then home at 10:20. Dora to Catalan class.
Out after 4:30 to sit in plaza. To Dia for groceries, got rained on a little coming home.
2019-10-15 (Tuesday)Niece staying home sick from school today. I was out once, to sit in plaza and hit ATM and get groceries; cool out. Niece missed gymnastics class in the evening.
2019-10-16 (Wednesday)Niece staying home sick from school today, again. Dora to Catalan class. I went out to sit and then get fruit.
I haven't written about it, but on Monday judgements on the nine former political officials from Catalunya were announced, and those convicted were sentenced to 9 to 13 years in prison. Which set off protests/riots, first at the airport, now in the center of town somewhere, also in other towns and cities. Nothing affecting us, but there might be a general strike on Friday, and I have to pick up my brother at the airport on Friday, then we're flying out on Saturday.
Achey in late evening; took ibuprofen.
2019-10-17 (Thursday)Headache; took ibuprofen. Dora and mother out at 9 to go to appointment at hospital. I'm going to the dentist to have cavities filled (I'd rather have a kidney stone).
Went to dentist, but all they did was a cleaning (€18), come back in 2.5 weeks for the cavities. I'll have to put up with the aching until then.
I cooked dinner. In midafternoon, out to sit and hit ATM and walk and get groceries.
At 6, my brother said his flight arriving tomorrow from USA was cancelled, probably because of the "general strike" called for tomorrow. He rebooked to arrive Saturday.
Out in early evening to butcher and grocery store. I think Dora is at the gym.
Saw a notice that local trains will have 33% service tomorrow, so getting to the airport would have been difficult. Niece's school and Dora's Catalan class are cancelled too.
2019-10-18 (Friday)In honor of the "general strike", we stayed in bed until after 10:30. But the construction in the park across the street is continuing today.
My brother was unable to check-in online for his (second) flight to here, so it may be overbooked, or cancelled, or waiting to see if they cancel it or not.
Out in midafternoon to sit and walk. Things a bit quiet. Walked down to Meridiana, and traffic is being diverted there, people standing or walking on the highway from there into the center, as part of the protests. Walked home, seeing that many of the shops are open.
Out in evening. Lots of people out walking.
Out after 10 with Dora for a late-evening walk. Fair number of people out, but traffic back to normal. There are protests and street-blocking fires in the center of the city, we've watched them on TV.
Email from my brother after 11, he's about to board a plane in Philly, he's going to be here tomorrow morning after all.
Trip to Sevilla:
2019-10-19 (Saturday)Up at 7, out before 8. To FiP metro, to Clot, train to airport, no problems. More police than usual at the airport, and a few doors and things broken, but mostly normal. Shuttle bus to other terminal, found my brother had arrived early waited about half an hour for me, no problem.
Upstairs and through check-in and Security, and eventually to a cafe for something to eat. Plenty of time until our flight.
Onto the plane, took off maybe ten minutes late at 11:40, to Sevilla by 1:20. Out and took a bus to the main train station, but then my brother was tired and we took a taxi the rest of the way.
Into the apartment before 2:45. Small but functional.
Out to explore the area a bit, while my brother rested. As I expected, we're in cafe-heaven here, two blocks from Alamada de Hercules. Had a nice walk, and eventually found a Carrefour Express and bought groceries.
Out after 7 with my brother, and soon in a cafe having tapas and sangria and tinto verano: pic Rain, mostly light, but heavier once.
Groceries, home at 9, and they've delivered the sheets I asked for, so I can sleep on the sofa. Back out for some walking. Street art pic. To the Setas de Sevilla, big mushroom-shaped things over top of a shopping center or something.
2019-10-20 (Sunday)Up at 9:30. Found only 2 matches to light the stove, but got it lit on the first match.
Out at 10:30 or so. Walked down into the center, looking for a palace along the way but not finding it. Stopped in a couple of free photo-exhibitions. Pics.
Eventually to the cathedral, and a side door let us in for free, but only to see a very limited corner of it. Over to the Alcazar, and there's a LONG line, around a corner and up a street. Into Tourist info, and a long line in there, too.
Around the side of the Alcazar and into some nice gardens for a while. Pics. Back out, and to a cafe for coffees and pastries. Back to the gardens, and walked completely around the Alcazar and along the university. Into another door of the cathedral, and saw more of it this time, and sat and listened to some nice organ music for a while.
Started the longish walk home. Stopped to listen to a nice string duo play opera music for a while. Looked for the palacio again and found a likely candidate, but not the front door of it. Stopped for a few groceries, and home by 2:45, footsore.
Tried for 15 minutes online to buy tickets for the Alcazar, struggling with VPN and bank and SMS etc. Finally got a code in SMS, it didn't work, then my bank said "too many tries, go away". My brother managed to buy the tickets on his iPad, but we don't have them in email yet.
Out after 7. Walked over to the east, I think, then south and ended up at the mushrooms again. Pics. Started looking for a place to eat, and found a decent cafe across the street in a plaza, with thosebig flame-heaters (I was feeling a little cold). We split a liter of sangria-cava, my brother had 4 tapas, I had pork-whiskysauce-hambits. Food was good, not great.
Wandered down to a souvenir shop and bought a couple of items, then a closed church and a plaza that turned out to be uninteresting. Rain started. Headed home through some back streets.
Email says our Alcazar tickets were rejected, try again. My brother tried chat support to reschedule, maybe it worked.
2019-10-21 (Monday)I had a hot shave and shower, but then the hot water was gone before my brother's shower, and it looks like the pilot light is off ? Sent a message to the owner.
Tickets to Alcazar arrived in email.
Out at 10 or so. Down to bus stop, got some change at a newstand, longish wait for the C5 bus. I thought it was a major circular route, should be frequent, but it turns out to be a small bus winding through a zillion narrow streets. I had trouble keeping track on the map. Eventually down to the river and then we got off at the side of the university.
Walked back to the river and along it for a bit. Then into the Parque de Maria Luisa, and wandered through there for a bit. Then to Plaza España. I've been to it before, but noticed a lot more things this time, enjoyed it. Pics. Lots of people. Into military museum for a bit.
Out, sat, then across and up along the university. Into the university to sit for 10 minutes. Then across the street to a cafe and had lunch. I had a pizza, my brother had tapas. Pizza was good, tapas not.
Up along cathedral and into Correos. Long wait just to mail 2 postcards.
Up more, and over to Plaza San Salvador, and into the church Iglesia Colegial Divino Salvador (€4 each). Quite nice, we lingered for a while. But a lot of the pictures didn't come out well; too dark and too much intricate detail and overdone stuff. Pics.
Headed home. Looking for a print shop, but no luck. Found the Palacio Lebrija, but too tired to do it today. Stopped for a few groceries. Home at 4:45, tired.
Still no hot water, it seems. No response from owner.
Out at 8 or so. Tried to walk up to a big intersection with the river, but none of the streets in this town are square, ended up looping back around into the Alameda, gave up. Lucked into an open civic center, which had some really interesting small wire-sculptures outside, and an exhibit of Barbie-dolls wearing all kinds of traditional and exotic outfits. Pics.
Looked at cafes, ended up inside an Indian restaurant. Several beers needed to wash down the spicy food, and my garlic-chili-chicken dish really was TOO spicy for comfort, and the smoke from the sizzling platter it came on made us and nearby people cough.
Home after 9:30.
No hot water, and it seems no gas at all, so no stove either. No response from the owner.
2019-10-22 (Tuesday)No gas, and the electric kettle doesn't work. Microwave does work. Also, Wi-Fi on my laptop is screwed up, but works fine on my phone and my brother's iPad.
Out before 11. To a cafe, then into a couple of churches, then along a remaining portion of city wall. Into side streets, and twice ran into construction that had closed an entire street, even pedestrians couldn't get through. Eventually emerged, to another church. Pics. Had lunch in a nice little plaza next to a gorgeous big tree, but the food wasn't very good.
Found a print shop and printed the Alcazar tickets. Down through very narrow streets and found Casa Pilatos. Free entry, and worth twice the price. Lots of nice tile-work and some statues and gardens, but otherwise disappointing. Pics. And a couple of big tour groups.
Out and across through narrow streets. Emerged at Divino Salvador. Up to Palacio Lebrija, but next tour is over an hour from now. Headed home. Streets full of kids getting out of school. Home at 2:50, tired. Looks like nothing has been done about the gas / hot water.
Went next door and buzzed the owner's sister, and she came over. Someone will come at 6:30 to fix the showerhead, and also to look at the gas. But she agrees, the bottle feels like it has plenty of gas in it.
Wi-Fi works again on my laptop, not sure what happened.
Owner-lady showed up at 3:30 and managed to get the water-heater pilot-light lit again. I was trying in the right place, but she fiddled with some other switch I didn't know about. Maybe something was stuck.
Wi-Fi choking again. Reconnect, and it works for a while. But after a while that trick seemed to work less well.
I thought someone was supposed to arrive at 6:30, but no one by 7:30, so we went out. Walked over to Alameda de Hercules, and there was a nice free symphony concert going on at the south end, listened to that for a bit.
Then over toward the river, and stopped in a church for a while. Got to the riverfront road, but it's busy and full of traffic, and the skies are quite dark with rainclouds. Back to the Alameda, and took quite a while looking at cafes before we ended up at 100 Montaditos. Big beers for €2 each, food tolerable, football on the telly. Pleasant. Evening's pics.
Eventually out and home by 9:15, feeling sleepy from the beers.
Around 9:35, a knock on the door, and it's the owner's sister and another lady, come to deliver drinking glasses (the apartment didn't have enough), a bottle of wine, and a warm tortilla (Spanish potato-cake). Very nice of them, and soon my brother and I had inhaled the tortilla and drunk 2/3 of the wine.
Headache during the night; took ibuprofen.
2019-10-23 (Wednesday)Headache; took ibuprofen. Felt better after coffee and food and shower. Stove still won't light.
Out around 10:30. Planned to make a short morning of it, but ran into several nice churches. Pics. Then to the Museo de Belles Artes. Pics. Back home before 1:30.
Online, tried to figure out a bus from here to cathedral/Alcazar, but the site always wants to put me on that slow, winding C5 bus. There must be others ?
Out at 3:15 or so. Down a couple of blocks and caught a taxi to the center (€5); my brother is a bit tired of walking, and we're going to do a lot of walking through and after the Alcazar. The taxi had to take a very twisty route; I guess the streets are against us here, which helps explain why the bus route is so twisty.
Out and had some churros with Nutella; yum. Hit some souvenir shops. Sat for a while.
Then into the Alcazar at 4:30 with our tickets. Nice place, big, lots of great tilework and gardens, some nice art, no furniture or other furnishings. Pics. Rained a bit while we were in the gardens, but we had an umbrella and there were places to shelter. Finally out at 5:45 as they were closing the place.
Headed home, looking for somewhere to eat. Had to settle for a modernish empty place down a side-street. Food was fine, but the place lacked atmosphere.
Out and headed home, stopping for a few groceries. Home by 7:15, footsore.
To bed early, we have to get up early tomorrow.
2019-10-24 (Thursday)Up at 5:30. Out of the apartment by 6:20 or so. Down to end of Alameda, and into a taxi. To airport before 7 for our 0905 flight. Soon through check-in and Security. Breakfast for my brother. To a gate that had comfy sofa-type things, and I laid back and rested while listening to my MP3s.
Flight boarded and left mostly on time. Totally full, and my brother and I are stuck in middle seats. Mostly dozed.
To Barcelona, a bit of a wait for the luggage, then to a taxi and home by 11:45 or so.
Out with Dora to pharmacy (still no flu shots available), church to leave a donation, clothing shop, fruit shop. Home again, and my brother and I are sleepy.
Soon it's SNAFU. Dora's sister is here from the South, so we are 7 in the apartment. Sister and mother are out, I think about cooking dinner because niece is going to be home soon from school, but I'm told the mother is coming home and will cook.
Niece arrives with Dora's father, and she's hurt her foot or ankle playing at school, probably will skip school this afternoon, definitely missing gymnastics class tonight. Sister and mother arrive and cooking starts. I take a shower.
Around 2:30 we all have dinner. Napped later.
Before 5, Dora's mother and niece out to go to medical clinic to have niece's foot examined (probably X-rayed).
Around 8 or so, out with Dora and my brother, followed by the niece (limping) and Dora's sister. We had planned to go to a nice restaurant, but niece wants McDonald's, and after many fits and starts we ended up in a pizza/Italian/Mexican chain restaurant where the food was okay and cheap. Had fun, niece has crutches now, home by 10 or so.
2019-10-25 (Friday)Up after 10. Dora's sister went out early to medical congress. Niece is skipping school despite having crutches. But she'll be healthy enough to go on a sleep-over tomorrow night, I'm sure.
Out with my brother around 11. To FiP metro, to Placa Catalunya. Looks normal, after days of protesting, and at one point there were tire-fires blocking the intersection. Walked toward the cathedral, stopping in a cafe to recharge my brother.
Into the cathedral, and there have been some changes, but still a nice place. Eventually out, and sat for a while, then over and down to Santa Maria del Mar church. But they're closing; it's later than I thought. Over to near Born CC, and had a light lunch at a cafe, food very nice but slightly pricey. Eventually into Born CC for a little while, then out the other side, up to Arc de Triomf, into metro, and home.
Home after 2:15, a bit footsore. Dora's home from class, soon four of us sit down for dinner. The turkey I bought last night has been deemed the wrong kind of cut, her mother didn't want to cook it. Seems like much of what I buy these days is not the right thing, somehow.
Sister went to the airport, going to the South.
Suddenly after 6:30 I had to escort the niece to the tutor. Hard work for her on crutches.
Out at 7:30 with Dora and my brother. To metro, and to Sagrada Familia. Stopped in at the church underneath the basilica, then to the park across the street. Then up the street with cafes, and had tapas and coffees etc and chatted. Pleasant.
Done, back to metro, home at 9:40.
Didn't sleep well.
2019-10-26 (Saturday)Up before 9. Brother's flight to USA is delayed a couple of hours.
Dora out to work 11-11.
Out with my brother after 10. To a cafe for snacks, then to ECI to buy a box.
Brother's 11:40 taxi arrived at 12:05. But no problem, he made it to his flight with an hour or more to spare.
Out in the evening to walk and get fruit.
Niece is home; I thought she was staying overnight at a friend's house, but I was wrong.
2019-10-27 (Sunday)Headache before dawn; took ibuprofen. Dora out to work 11-11. Mother and niece out after noon, to a movie, mostly financed by yours truly. I cooked spaghetti-pesto dinner for father and me.
2019-10-28 (Monday)Big argument over new way of rolling niece's heavy bookbag to school. Dora out to Catalan class. Niece stayed at school for lunch because of the bookbag fracas; I pointed out that doing so costs (me) €11 per day.
2019-10-29 (Tuesday)Dora out to farmacia, medical association, then work 3-11. I went out to walk and sit and hit ATM and get groceries. Replaced battery in one smoke-alarm. Out again later.
2019-10-30 (Wednesday)Dora out to class. I went out to sit and walk and buy groceries. Did a lot of computer stuff. Online, paid son's rent and school for twins in north. Headache before bed; took paracetamol.
2019-10-31 (Thursday)Headache; took ibuprofen. Around noon, took a sumatriptan and went to lie down. Felt better after an hour. Dinner, out to to sit in plaza (grey and then spitting a little rain), to fruit shop. In the evening, out to try to meet sister (arriving from South) and father at metro station, but I missed both of them. Protesters blocking traffic one direction on Meridiana again. Sat in VA plaza for a while, then got groceries. Before bed, took a diazepam. Slept well.
2019-11-01 (Friday)Niece and sister out at 2:15, heading to Athens for a medical congress. Right now it's the long-weekend holiday for Halloween, but niece will miss 2 days of school next week.
2019-11-02 (Saturday)Out at 2 or so with Dora. To ECI to send money to Peru. Then across Meridiana and down to a fancy-ish restaurant we rarely go to. Pleasant meal, but the food was a little disappointing. Stopped on the way home at her friend's stationery shop. Home by 4:15.
Out for a walk around 10. Protesters sitting in the middle of the Meridiana intersection again.
On the computer, trying to prototype the UI of a new app using NetBeans, and managed to wipe out several of my exist projects. Restored them from backups, don't think I've lost anything.
Achey and irritated before bed: took ibuprofen and diazepam.
2019-11-03 (Sunday)Cool, windy and a bit grey. Holiday weekend, so quiet. Only went out once, and it wasn't comfortable sitting in the plaza or walking. My winter clothes are buried somewhere in the apartment where we can't find them (later found: it was my fault, I stashed them in my box).
2019-11-04 (Monday)Dora to class and then work 3-11. I was out to sit and walk, get ATM, get groceries. Out again in the evening. Protesters blocking traffic on Meridiana again.
2019-11-05 (Tuesday)Online, trying to buy tickets for son to come home for Christmas, but neither of my payment methods work.
Dora out to medical association. I'm out to pay niece's school (€267), my Spanish bank (they say my ATM card is fine), groceries.
Online, got the tickets done.
Out in early evening to make a quick run to the grocery store.
2019-11-06 (Wednesday)Headachey; took paracetamol. Dora out to Catalan class. I'm still achey; took ibuprofen.
I'm out to the dentist before noon. In to have two fillings done, in the upper-back-left teeth. The injection for anaesthetic wasn't bad, but then I started feeling dizzy and faint and clammy, something that happens to me every now and then in medical offices, it's from anxiety. They had me lay back and put my legs up and smell some alcohol swab for a few minutes, until I felt mostly okay. They did the fillings, with no pain really, but it took a while and they yanked my mouth around etc as normal. Finally done, paid €92. Sat outside for a few minutes until I felt mostly normal, then home after 1:15. A relief to have that done.
Around 4, sister and niece (and father) arrived from airport.
At 5, to my amazement, niece went off to regular weekly English class (which I pay for); I thought for sure she'd say she was still on vacation or something.
Later, Dora out to work 7-1, and sister back to airport to fly to the South.
Out in the evening to ECI to mail a letter.
2019-11-07 (Thursday)Out before noon to buy ribs and fruit/veg. I cooked half of the dinner, to mixed reviews.
2019-11-08 (Friday)Created an RSS feed of my diaries of travel, living on a boat, and living in Europe. It's mostly a monthly thing, not daily.
Dora out to Catalan class.
I cooked dinner. Niece turned her nose up at it completely (not unusual).
Heater (which we spent almost €300 to repair a few weeks ago) seems to be not working. Fan runs, sometimes, but no heat.
2019-11-09 (Saturday)Dora out to work 11-11. I'm out before noon with niece and mother, to have a Christmas picture taken of the niece (stopping at ATM and Chinese shop on the way). Getting cold out. Out again soon to fruit/veg shop. Dinner, then out again to grocery store.
2019-11-10 (Sunday)By 6:30, couldn't sleep, so got up. Took a paracetamol. Dora up at 7:30, out to work at 8. She was supposed to work 11-11, but today is Election Day here, so she's working 8-5 and then voting in the evening. I'm back to bed 9:30 to 12:30.
Out at 5 to sit in the plaza, and dressed warmly, it's still cold enough to be barely comfortable. Met Dora when she came out of the metro at 5:40. Home, and soon she's out with her mother to vote.
2019-11-11 (Monday)Again this morning, by 6:30, couldn't sleep, so got up. Took a paracetamol. I'm back to bed 9:30 to 11:15. Dora out to Catalan class. In the evening, cold in the apartment, and the techs won't be here until Wednesday afternoon.
Before bed, took a diazepam. Slept well.
2019-11-12 (Tuesday)Up at 8. Achey; took ibuprofen.
After dinner, Dora out to work 3-11. I had to print some things for niece for school, an emergency of course. Out later for walk and sit and buy groceries and fruit.
Working on building an app using Electron; finally got it going well.
Teeth aching in the late evening; took paracetamol. I fear there is more dental work in my future. Took a diazepam before bed.
2019-11-13 (Wednesday)Trying to remove a lot of mystery-applications from Dora's Android phone, but half of them come from Samsung and can't be budged.
Dora out to Catalan class.
Out in late afternoon for groceries. Too cold to spend more time outside comfortably. Come home to find Dora's father burnt a whole batch of popcorn, the kitchen is full of smoke.
More work on Dora's phone. Set a lot of LinkedIn options to be more private, and got rid of an annoying hovering thing from FB Messenger. Can't log in to her Google account, and now she tells me she got a password-change message 5 days ago and forgot to tell me about it. Someone changed her password ! I was able to go in and set a new password. And an OS update and then 20 app updates were pending; did those. Then she took the phone and she's out to work 7-1.
2019-11-14 (Thursday)Lots of distant loud thunder at 6 or so. Starting at 10, waiting for the HVAC techs to show up. Heavy rain at 11:30 or so. Grey, windy, rainy out.
I'm out at noon. To ATM, then to buy knives, printer cartridges, Metro cards, groceries.
Home, and the HVAC tech has arrived, and the heat is running. Seems to be a problem with the (new) control panel, which is good news.
Dora out to work 3-11.
Heater stopped working after an hour or so. Will have to get the tech back here again.
Dora home at 11:45.
2019-11-15 (Friday)HVAC tech is coming back at 4 today, so I had to take down the drop-ceiling in the small bathroom to give access to the unit above it. A tricky job, the guys who put the ceiling back in last used caulk around the edges and glue on a small beam down the center, and there were screws above some edges. Lots of dust and grit. And I managed to gouge a pretty good chunk out of the ball of my left-middle finger, it bled a lot.
Out after 2 to walk Dora to metro, to work 3-11. Tried to sit in the plaza, but it's too cold. Got groceries and fruit/veg, went home.
HVAC tech arrived before 5. Here for 90 minutes or so, says it should work now, he adjusted something or replaced a box or something. And we do seem to have heat. But the machine still is doing this quick on-off thing that just is not right.
Teeth aching in the middle of the night; took paracetamol.
2019-11-16 (Saturday)Heater working well enough.
In the evening, out with Dora and niece to ECI to buy a school-coat for niece (€50) and pants for Dora (€40). An expensive trip for me. I went to Mercadona for groceries, they went to a cafe.
Paracetamol before bed.
2019-11-17 (Sunday)Out to buy Peruvian roast chicken for midday meal. Dora coughing badly, starting antibiotics. I'm working on computer app. Teeth aching in late evening; took paracetamol and a diazepam before bed.
2019-11-18 (Monday)Dora still coughing badly. She's out to class 12-2 and then work 3-11. I'm out with her mother to go to her appointments at the hospital. Home by 12:15.
Out in midafternoon. To ECI to mail a letter and look at some stuff, then to Mercadona for groceries.
Dora home before midnight, and she's in better shape than I expected. I took a paracetamol before bed.
2019-11-19 (Tuesday)Out in midafternoon to sit and walk and get medicines and groceries.
2019-11-20 (Wednesday)Out in midafternoon. To ECI to pay water bill (€115 for 2 months). To pharmacy to buy inhaler (less than €1). Bought groceries. Tried to pay for Dora's class at an ATM, but failed.
More work on a new app I'm building, which now is at OS-Installation-Planner.
Dora out at 6, to work 7-1.
2019-11-21 (Thursday)Headache at dawn; took paracetamol. Slept late. Still headache. At 11:30, took a sumatriptan. Soon went back to bed for a couple of hours.
Stayed inside all day, mostly on the computer.
Before bed took my usual propranalol, but also paracetamol and diazepam. Feeling old.
2019-11-22 (Friday)Up at 7:30. Headachey; took ibuprofen. Have to go out at 8:40 with mother, so of course between niece and mother, the bathroom with the big shower was occupied until 8:35.
Quick shower, then out. To metro, to hospital, eventually up to 7th floor. Mother was in 10 minutes late, then in for a long time, then out for a walking test. I'm tired and thirsty and headachey. Finally done, headed home. Home by 11:30.
Soon out again to bank to pay for Dora's next Catalan class, then to get groceries. Fruit/veg shop is mobbed, skipped that.
Still headachey. Took paracetamol and laid down. Feeling worse.
More ibuprofen later. Out in late afternoon to fruit/veg shop.
Paracetamol and diazepam before bed. Slept okay.
2019-11-23 (Saturday)Headache before dawn; had to take sumatriptan. Got rid of the headache, but then my teeth hurt. Felt better after breakfast. Dora out to work 11-11.
Out in midafternoon. Too cool to sit for long in the plaza. Walked, went to pharmacy.
2019-11-24 (Sunday)Dora out to work 11-11. I spent an hour cleaning out her Yahoo Mail, deleting about 5K messages, an exercise I have to do about every 6 months. Still about 1100 unread messages, probably as many read messages. Also set up cloud backup on her PC and started it. Out for a walk. Dora home before midnight.
2019-11-25 (Monday)Out in midafternoon to sit and walk and get groceries and fruit. Lovely slightly-cool weather. Paid €120 for more of niece's tutor sessions. Out again in evening to pharmacy and groceries.
2019-11-26 (Tuesday)Dora out to buy a textbook and then have her hair done. Home for dinner, then she's out to work 3-11. I'm out to sit and walk and buy groceries. Did lots of work on the computer program I'm building. Dora home before midnight.
Achey; took a paracetamol during the night.
2019-11-27 (Wednesday)Dora to Catalan class. I'm out in midafternoon, but it's just slightly too cool for comfort today. Got groceries. Dora out to work 7-1.
2019-11-28 (Thursday)Walked Dora to metro, to work 3-11. I sat in plaza, walked, bought earbuds, bought fruit/veg. Dora home before midnight.
Until someone sent email to me, actually I had forgotten that today was Thanksgiving Day. We don't celebrate it here, just a normal day.
2019-11-29 (Friday)Dora out to medical association offices. I went out to sit and walk and get groceries. Fairly cool grey day. Headachey in late evening; took ibuprofen and diazepam.
2019-11-30 (Saturday)Headachey at dawn; took a paracetamol. Eventually felt better. Out in late afternoon to sit and hit ATM and walk and get groceries. In late evening, teeth hurting, took paracetamol. Before bed, took a diazepam.
2019-12-01 (Sunday)Quiet day. Out in midafternoon to sit and walk a little, but it's cool. Got a little fruit and went home.
Out at 8:45 with Dora, down a block to a sports bar to watch first half of Barca - ATM game. Tough game, no scoring, but I'd had enough by halftime. Teeth hurting again, as they were after dinner; took paracetamol.
Dora tells me she has a month of accumulated vacation she has to use or lose, so she's not going to work for all of December !
2019-12-02 (Monday)Dora out to Catalan class. I'm out to niece's school to pay tuition and lottery tickets, then shop to buy a lightbulb, then groceries, then fruit/veg. Quiet day.
2019-12-03 (Tuesday)Quiet day. Out after noon to buy ribs. Out in midafternoon to sit, but it's too cool and grey. Bought groceries and fruit/veg. In mid-evening, teeth hurting, took paracetamol. Took diazepam at bedtime.
2019-12-04 (Wednesday)Cold, grey, windy and raining. Blech. Dora out to Catalan class. I dashed out to grocery store a fruit/veg shop after noon. I cooked ribs for dinner. Weather worse in the afternoon. Teeth hurting in the evening; took paracetamol. In the middle of the night, took ibuprofen.
2019-12-05 (Thursday)Cold, grey, windy and raining. Bleck.
Out after 6 in the evening with Dora. To dentist, quick examination, and a prescription for antibiotics. But their explanation made no sense to either of us: "if the antibiotics work, then that means we have to kill the nerve in the tooth".
Walked Dora to the gym, then got groceries, then to pharmacy (€2.5 for 20 x 500 mg of amoxicillin).
In late evening, teeth hurting, took paracetamol.
Sort of on the spur of the moment, looked around for a trip to book for Christmas. Granada ? Portugal ? Canary Islands ? Paris ? Marseilles ? I wanted somewhere warm. Ended up with: 8 days in Malta. Should be fun. Bought plane tickets and did AirBNB.
2019-12-06 (Friday)Teeth hurting; took ibuprofen. Holiday today; everyone else sleeping a bit late.
In midafternoon, finally finished putting the bathroom ceiling back together. The last couple of boards are a little short, ended up sitting in there a little precariously, but I think they'll stay.
Out for a sit and walk and to buy fruit.
Teeth hurting; took paracetamol.
2019-12-07 (Saturday)Quiet day, marred by news of another medium-sized financial crisis with Dora's past medical business affairs. Out for a walk with Dora in midafternoon. Shopped, cafe, groceries, fruit.
2019-12-08 (Sunday)Building electricity went out in midafternoon a couple of times for 5 minutes or so, for no apparent reason. Out for a nice walk later, a bit cool out.
2019-12-09 (Monday)Dora out to Catalan class. I'm out in midafternoon to sit and walk and buy groceries. In late afternoon, teeth hurting, took paracetamol. Out for more shopping in evening. Before bed, teeth hurting again, took ibuprofen and diazepam.
2019-12-10 (Tuesday)Dora out to a medical-supply office building, refusing every suggestion I make that she write things down, and going too fast for me to get showered and go with her.
Out in midafternoon to hit ATM, walk, and get groceries. Too cool to sit for long. Home, and teeth hurting, took paracetamol.
2019-12-11 (Wednesday)Dora out to Catalan class. I was out to walk a bit, but it's too cold, got groceries and went home. Cancelled my dentist appointment; just going to wait and see. But Dora rescheduled it for next week.
Out around 5:45 with Dora. To metro, connect at VDH, out at Liceu. Across the street to the opera house, and into a line. Waited 5+ minutes for them to open up, then turned out we (and half a dozen other people) were in front of the wrong door. Across and in.
Into a private club that is affiliated with the opera house, in fact it was started in 1847 by the people who built the opera house. I obtained free tickets for a small piano concert here tonight.
And it turned out to be as interesting as I hoped. A little confusing and slow getting started, but then a lady gave about 15 of us a tour of some of the rooms of the club, and they were full of gorgeous woodwork and paintings and beautiful lamps and chandeliers and such. A little hard to take pictures, because the light was a little low and it was a little crowded. But very interesting. Pics.
Then upstairs, and the concert started, preceded by several short speeches by sponsors. The pianist is Bobby Mitchell, 30ish guy with loads of hair and a bit of an eccentric character. But he played very well, and we were sitting about 20 feet from the grand piano, so it was nice. About 80 people in the audience, maybe. He played 4 major pieces and 3 encores. At least one unnamed piece, but then Haydn, Schumann, Gershwin, Silent Night, Spanish "Evocacion".
Out by 8:45. I'd like to walk around and look at Christmas lights, but Dora has a bit of a headache and still has the throat-cold she's had for weeks. So soon into metro, connect, to VA. A bit cold out here. Home by 9:30.
2019-12-12 (Thursday)Despite telling us N times yesterday that she refused to go to the doctor's appt this morning, and Dora calling yesterday to cancel the appointment, Dora's mother was knocking on the door at 7:10 ready to go to the doctor. We were asleep; not going. Not a big deal, the appointment was not important anyway.
Headache before noon; took paracetamol. In midafternoon, out for a walk and groceries.
Mostly finished writing Christmas cards.
Got email that my web site hosting company is going out of business in 1 month ! Guess that's the end of the "lifetime" hosting deal I paid (very little) for.
2019-12-13 (Friday)Out at 9:45 with Dora, into very windy weather. Up to local govt complex, no waiting, right in to see about renewing our registration on the padron. Turns out we have to wait for a renewal letter to arrive before anything can be done, so come back with letter in January or so.
Home, then I was right back out. To ECI to mail Christmas cards. Dora out to Catalan class. Later I'm out again for a few groceries.
Teeth hurting after noon; took paracetamol. Hurting again before midnight; took ibuprofen.
2019-12-14 (Saturday)Teeth hurting again after dinner. Took paracetamol, and Dora persuaded me to start antibiotics again.
Out for a walk in late afternoon. Cool but pleasant, lots of people out. Groceries.
2019-12-15 (Sunday)Quiet day. Out for a walk.
2019-12-16 (Monday)Up before 5 AM to do some computing; I'm moving my web site to a new host, and couldn't sleep anyway. Back to bed at 6:15. Up at 8:45.
Grey day. Spent much of it getting my web site working on the new hosting service. Out in early evening to walk and buy groceries and fruit.
2019-12-17 (Tuesday)Headache. Took paracetamol at 5 AM and sumatriptan at 9:30. Back to bed from 11 to 12. Okay for the rest of the day, some tooth pain. Out for a walk and groceries.
2019-12-18 (Wednesday)Headache. Slept late and took ibuprofen.
To Dentist before 4. Got a different dentist this time, no English spoken, Dora did all the translating. They tested my two hurting teeth with shots of cold, and said they were reacting normally, and imaging shows that the fillings done a couple of months ago are nowhere near the nerves, so not the cause of the pain. They recommended a night-appliance in case I'm grinding my teeth at night, but I don't think that's happening, and I tried one of those things years ago and it felt like I was choking, couldn't use it. I guess we'll wait some more and see.
Out in evening to walk and shop and get groceries.
Out at 7:30 with Dora, down a block and into sports-bar to watch El Clasico, game between Barca and Madrid. But we chose a bad table, it got crowded, lots of people walking in front of us all the time, loud. I'd had enough by halftime.
2019-12-19 (Thursday)Quiet day. Out to sit and walk and hit ATM. Dora out to look at a medical clinic where she might work freelance.
2019-12-20 (Friday)Grey and rainy. Dora's son arrives from Slovakia around 10, immediately irritating me by taking a taxi from the airport instead of using public transit.
Teeth pain after dinner, but it faded. Out to sit and walk and buy a lightbulb and groceries.
Arguments and tears later as niece's school grades come in and are not good.
2019-12-21 (Saturday)Couldn't sleep at 5 AM; up until 6:30, then to bed until 11.
Out in midafternoon with Dora's father to buy roast chickens for dinner. Light rain as we were coming back.
Trip to Malta:
2019-12-22 (Sunday)Up at 6:30, and already son is in the big bathroom. We're all leaving this morning, Dora and I going to Malta, the others going to the north of Spain. Weather is windy. Soon into shower, finishing packing, etc.
Around 8, the others realized we're leaving too; we kept it a secret from them. As soon as the son hears we're going to Malta, he says he wanted to go to, which is one reason we kept it secret.
We're out a bit early at 8:15; they're getting a taxi at 8:30 or so. I'm glad to see it's not raining. Walk down to FiP metro, and as soon as I lift the big suitcase by the top handle, the handle breaks off on one end. Not a problem.
Into metro, ride to Clot, over to the train station side. Train times aren't what the web site said; maybe the train is running late. Anyway, we have 7 minutes to catch train to airport, which is perfect. Except our metro cards won't work in the turnstile, they always worked here before. We get one card to work, I'm through, Dora is stuck. She starts to wait at the counter, gets frustrated, and comes back and tailgates through the turnstile on someone, right in front of 3 security guards. I can't believe it, they could give her a €100 fine. But they just make her go back to the counter, the attendant issues a new card, finally she's through.
Onto train, to airport, long walk to terminal, onto shuttle bus, to other terminal. A new thing here: now they have automated kiosks for printing baggage tags and boarding passes. Eventually get one of them to work for us. Check the big bag. Through Security, and it's before 10 for an 11:30 flight. Bathrooms, coffee for Dora. Message the others and find they're on their bus okay, they have 9+ hours of travel ahead of them.
Eventually onto the flight, and we're both dozing for the 90-minute flight. Good landing in windy conditions.
Outdoor stairs from plane rocking a lot in the wind as we get off. Into terminal, bathrooms, get baggage, buy bus card. Out into the wind again, and a little confusion getting to the right bus stop, but eventually we get it right. Back into terminal to shelter out of the wind.
The bus comes early, we hustle out there, and on, and zoom! it's going. Didn't stop for long at all. Driving fast, too.
Into town, some stops announced and others not, and we miss our stop. But we're 3 blocks from the end of the line anyway, so no problem. Takes a minute to get oriented, ask a couple of people, eventually find the big church our apartment is near. Find the door, get the keys, up two floors and in by 3. Not a very impressive apartment, but it will do.
At first I think we have a problem, all the outlets are British style, and I forgot to bring an adapter. But I press our Spanish extension cord into one of them and it works, and we're in business.
A lot of futzing before we get the gas stove lit, but we figure it out.
After a while, I go out to explore a bit and look for groceries. Just about everywhere closed, but I find a small convenience store and load up.
In the evening, feeling headachey and looking like I got too much sun today. Really I was out in the open only for about 25 minutes while we waited for the bus. Eventually took a paracetamol. We cooked some pasta for dinner.
I'm to bed by 8:30, feeling bad.
2019-12-23 (Monday)Up at 5 AM to take ibuprofen.
Around 9:30, no electricity in the apartment. But it came back after a while. We're up at the crack of 10:30. I'm still a little headachey; took paracetamol.
Out at noon. Very windy. Up to the old town, stopping for a few photos (pic). Across a very windy bridge and inside, onto Republic Street. Lots of people. No particular destination, we just strolled up the street looking at shops and people.
A few detours, then back onto Republic Street, and into the Grandmaster's Palace. We sat outside in the square for a while, and Dora is pretty freaked out about the wind.
Eventually I get us going, and into the Palace. The State Rooms are okay, parts of them closed off for renovation. The armoury is interesting. Pics. Eventually out.
Our tickets include admission to the art museum MUZA, so we head to Merchant's Street, but go the wrong way, can't find the museum. It's okay, we're in no hurry, mostly I'd like to find somewhere interesting to eat. But soon we're going downhill out of the tourist area, and cafes are scarce. We get all the way out to the tip of the peninsula, good view of the ocean and the harbor entrance. Very windy, and we don't stay long.
Head back into town, and down a side-street we find a basement artisanal-bakery restaurant. We order traditional Maltese dishes, which turn out to mainly be sort of deep-dish pizza. Nice, but too much bread for us, and way too much food. We get 2/3 of it wrapped to go. But the place is quiet and not crowded and nice. Pic1, pic2.
This morning the news from the rest of the family in the north of Spain had been that the stovetop had broken, just when everyone was gathered for Christmas, and an expensive replacement. But now we find out that only 2 of 4 burners are dead, so they can make do.
Eventually out of the restaurant, climb up into the tourist/pedestrian area. Look into a food-market place, keeping going, ask, find the art museum.
In, stash our stuff, and start looking. Place turns out to be pretty huge. Some nice modern stuff, some not-nice modern stuff, then a whole lot of pretty nice stuff from 1600s to 1800s. Pics. I'm pretty beat by the time we're done, and have a bit of a headache.
Out, into the wind, and head for home. Pics. Through a Christmas-carnival area we've gone through several times, then to St Publius church. Gave up on getting into it, then found the side door. In, and it's dark, most lights off, but it is open, and someone is setting up music to play for an event. Pics.
Out and down half a block and home by 5:15. Tired.
By 9:30, I'm taking an ibuprofen and thinking of bed.
To bed after 11, but up at 3 to take a sumatriptan.
2019-12-24 (Tuesday)Slept very late again, out after noon. Phone managed to drain its battery overnight, and it didn't get enough charging time this morning.
Walked down to the waterfront, and along it. Nice views across to Three Cities. Pics. We walked down and went to see the ferry dock, intending to keep going past it. But Dora said let's take the ferry across, so we did. Fun. Not as windy today, but still a bit windy and cool.
Nice trip across, and off. But I have no maps for this side. We head for every church steeple I can see, and every church is closed up tight, can't get into a single one of them. Can't even get pictures of them, they're in narrow streets. Up and down hills, lots of exercise. Try both of my cards in an ATM, no luck, I'm just about out of cash.
Pics. Eventually down to waterfront again, and into a cafe for a while. Then back to the ferry, and back across. ATM outside the ferry dock works for me, a relief.
Up a tall outdoor elevator, to the Upper Barraka Gardens and old town. Pics. Nice views. Then down Merchant Street to the food market, and into one of only two grocery stores in the whole town, as far as I can tell. Prices not too bad. Long line to check out.
Finally out, then over to Republic Street, passing the cathedral where bells are tolling wildly. I'm sure we're missing all kinds of Christmas masses and such.
Pic. Home before 5, a bit tired.
Out again at 9:30 or so. Up to the old town, to see if we're missing anything. Loads of people out, and the wind has died down quite a bit, which is nice. Found one church where they were about to start a service, but it was small and packed full. Pics. Wandered a bit, then out, get a cup of coffee, and head toward home.
But I insisted on checking the big church right next to our apartment, St Publius Church, and we lucked into exactly what I was hoping for. In at 10:30, and people are starting to gather for an "adoration" service. A lovely star in lights above the altar, up toward the dome.
I wander and look at paintings and such, then at 11 there are plenty of people and the event starts. Various readings and songs, maybe 2/3 in Maltese and 1/3 in English, with some Latin added too. A big screen so we could see the words, and also various images and graphics. The solo singers and a choir were from a music-school or something, I'm guessing. A couple of the modern songs were uninteresting, and a recital by a young altar-boy was grating, but otherwise it was pretty terrific. The Maltese language is really foreign; I could see about 5 words carried over from Italian, and the rest was Arabic or Semitic or whatever. Pics.
At midnight, the bells rang and the priest and two altar-boys made a little procession to bring in the baby Jesus. I was impressed with how the priest climbed a dozen steps right up and over an altar, I think, to install the doll in his chamber. Then the priest backed down the steps, very gracefully.
A couple more songs (the priest was not a good singer), and we'd had enough. Out by 12:15 or so, and across the street and into our apartment. Phone call with the family in the north of Spain. Food, tea, soon to bed.
2019-12-25 (Wednesday)Up at 11. I want to see if there's a noon mass at the church across the street, but Dora thinks there won't be.
Hustle to get out at 12:15, but the church across the street is locked up tight, nothing happening. So we walk through Independence Park and into old town.
Lots of people. We stop at that small church (St Barbara's) on Republic Street, and it's full with people waiting for a service. Down to St John's cathedral, it's locked tight, nothing happening. Back to St Barbara's, and wedge into the back of the place, and hear half of a sermon by the priest (in English).
Out, check three or four other churches, all closed. A couple look like they had services at 11; now it's almost 1.
Wander, sit in a couple of places, eventually to a Chinese buffet place for a nice dinner. Dora is revolted by finding that the noodles are served cold. She finds some others that are hot.
Eventually out, and wander up onto the battlements looking W or NW or something, a bit of a view of Sliema too. But it gets windy up there, we retreat. Home before 3. Pics.
Out at 10:30 or so. I intended to just walk around the block a little, but we ended up going into Old Town. Cold when you're in the wind, but nice otherwise. Things closing down at 11, fewer people. We stumbled across a nice creche (although the heads on the Wise Men looked a little small to me; they couldn't be very wise): pic. Home after 11:15.
2019-12-26 (Thursday)Dora not feeling well, sleeping very late. Then doing her hair at 1:15. So the day is wasting away. I had hoped to take a bus to Mdina or Mosta, but the things to see close at 4:30 or so. I went out to convenience store to buy conditioner and a couple of other items; beautiful weather today. Finally going out at 2:45.
Dora voted for going into town, so we did. Lots of people on the main street. We did some window-shopping and such, then ended up at St John's Cathedral, where we finally got in (I invoked senior discount, for only about the second time in my life). Nice cathedral, lots of gold on the walls etc everywhere, nice marble inlays in the floors, some nice paintings etc. But they were closing before we could go upstairs. Pics.
Out at 4:30, back to a jewelry shop, and when I offered to buy ring A or ring B for Dora, she chose "both". Then she also wanted boots we had looked at, and jackets, but I said no.
Over and down to the Carmelite church, which was open and quite nice inside. Pics. St Paul's nearby was closed. Back up to the main street, and started looking for a place to eat. Streets very crowded.
Found a simple felafel place, food was okay.
Home at 6:30, a bit tired and cold.
2019-12-27 (Friday)Out before 11:30. Over to main bus terminal, took a moment to find the right bays, jumped right onto a bus to Mdina. Rode half an hour or more, off, and soon up into the walled fortress-town.
Walls and streets, at various times during the visit: pics.
To the cathedral museum, which turned out to be a lot nicer than I expected, a second floor full of Durer paintings (but I thought he did woodcuts). Some nice silver, furniture, other art too. Pics.
Across the street and into the cathedral, which is quite nice. Wall-to-wall with graves of priests and archibishops and maybe saints; everywhere you walk, you're walking on someone's grave. Pics.
Out and into the Carmelite Priory, which was nice too. Pics.
Across the street and into a restaurant. Moderately good pasta dishes. At first nice to be under a heater, but later I felt too warm. And after the meal my teeth hurt for 15 minutes or so.
Out and into a gift-shop, where Dora bought several items. Out and hit an ATM.
To the city wall, good views but nothing worth photographing, and windy and cold.
Back to restaurant for a bathroom stop, then headed out.
As expected, a bit of a wait and a bit of a crush to get onto a bus back to Valletta, but we both got seats.
Home by 4:30, feeling a little tired and cold.
2019-12-28 (Saturday)Trying to pay some bills online, but now most of my key accounts are requiring SMS two-factor, and I don't have phone service here.
Out after 11:30. Pic. Hustled into old town and down to the other end of Republic Street, and found Casa Rocca Piccola. Three minutes to spare before the noon tour starts.
Historic (400 years) house stuffed with paintings and sculptures and historic photographs etc. The couple who owns it still lives here. Quite nice, although the guide went on a bit much about the genealogy of the family etc. And it was a bit crowded, even with only about 8 of us in the group. After the tour, down into the underground cisterns that were used as bomb shelters during WWII. Pics.
Out, sat in Republic Square for a little while. They're setting up for a concert, but it's going to be on New Year's Eve, we're gone before then.
Then up the street and into a couple of leather-goods shops. Dora wants to buy a pair of boots for €120 or so, I'm reluctant.
We head for home, intending to eat at the cafe/bar on the corner of our building. But although the door is open, they say they're closed. Circle the block, finding only a couple of bars, nowhere to eat. Big church has no sign giving times of masses. Give up on everything, home after 2.
Out after 6. Cold and windy. Across the street to the church, and there is something going on, some kind of readings but not a mass. We left after 5 minutes. Went up to old town, straight into the wind, and to the shop with Dora's boots. She tried on a couple of pairs and couldn't decide, and finally picked the black ones as the shop was closing. They had promised her a discount earlier, apparently, usually 10%, and very nicely gave her a 20% discount now. So €92, I think.
Out, and over to MUZA to see if Tourist Info was open, but it's closed. Looked around for a place to eat, eventually ended up at the Chinese place again. But they seated us at a table in a cold wind, so we left.
Headed home, and went into the restaurant on the corner of our building. Turned out to be decent, not crowded. We had burgers and fries and drinks and a dessert, and watched Premiere League football on the TV. Turns out this is kind of the club bar/restaurant for the local Floriana FC. Whole bill came to €20.
Home by 8:45. I'm a bit tired and a little headachey. To bed by 10, and later took a paracetamol.
2019-12-29 (Sunday)Slept very late.
Out after 3:30 or so. Cold and windy out. Into the church across the street, but it's cold and nothing happening. Out and over in a direction we haven't walked, and found a closed church and a monument and a lot of cats (Dora is scared of cats) and a park with a nice terrace (but windy).
Down along Independence Park and to old town. Loads of people, as usual. Stopped in at St Barbara's church, which was mostly empty for a change. Looked into various shops.
Looking for a cafe. Eventually lucked into a perfect place: warm, showing Arsenal-Chelsea football on a big screen and I had lots of room and a perfect view. Coffees and apple pie and cheesecake. Watched last 25+ minutes of the game, and Chelsea scored twice and won 2-1. Perfect. Pics.
Out and wandered a bit, looking at monuments and shops. Bought a few little souvenirs. Eventually went back to the gate and left, through crowds of people. Cold. Home by 5:45.
I'm out at 7:45 to a chicken place a couple of blocks away, soon home with chicken and onion rings and fries.
2019-12-30 (Monday)Up before 8, to deal with the garbage, which has to be put out before 8. Made 3 trips down, it's complicated, different-color bags for different types of waste, had to bring the recyclables up because they have to wait until tomorrow. Didn't see anyone else's waste down there, maybe they're not picking up at all today ?
Out at 9:45 or so, and met the landlord's assistant in the hallway. Down and out and to the bus terminal. Enough confusion locating the proper bus's bay that we missed it by about 60 seconds, watched it leave. Waited 25 minutes or so until the next one.
On, and grabbed seats, so a smooth trip on a crowded bus. To airport by 11:30 for a 2:15 flight, and we can't even check in yet. To cafe and Dora had a coffee and we ate yogurts we'd brought from the apartment, and I ate leftover fried chicken.
Eventually to check-in, and despite a short line it took ages. Finally done, easily through Security, to gate area. Too early to get a gate number. Sat and loafed in the crowded terminal, Dora happily listening to music on her phone.
Into line and again it look a while, but then onto the plane. We have seats 1A and 1B, lots of legroom but have to put all our luggage overhead. Last guy in is carrying a dog in a bag, and the attendants debate whether to let him fly, finally they let him on. Woman next to Dora is trying to get them to get her luggage out of the hold or forward it to Las Palmas for her, she screwed up her tickets and has to board a sailboat tonight or tomorrow for a trans-Atlantic crossing. But they can't help her, best they can do is tell her to try to change her 4:30 flight to Las Palmas to a 8:55 flight.
Uneventful flight, a bit warm, I'm trying to doze.
Land, we're 2nd and 3rd off, bathroom stop, to baggage claim, then wait 15 minutes for our bag to arrive.
Out and wait 5-10 minutes for the 46 bus. Long slow crowded ride to Placa Espanya. Into L1 metro, long crowded ride to F-i-P. But we had seats on both trips, so not bad. And I plugged Dora's phone charging cable into a USB outlet on the bus while we were on there, so she could keep listening to music, and she was happy.
Running out of personal energy as we trundle our suitcases home.
Home at 6:50. All well at home, except that the refrigerator door has been standing open for a week, apparently.
So, Malta was nice, we had fun. Highlights were the cathedral, MUZA, adoration in St Publius, and trip to Mdina. But too many churches were closed, it was a bit cold and windy, and the apartment was a bit minimal. Not one of our better vacations.
Looks like my phone can't register on cell networks here, either, so probably the SIM needs recharging with more money.
To bed at 11, but up after midnight to take diazepam and paracetamol.
2019-12-31 (Tuesday)Slept until 11. Headache; took sumatriptan.
Out at 2. To ATM. To phone shop, and it looks like my phone number has been cancelled, I have to get a new SIM and phone number. To fruit/veg shop for a lot of stuff.
Out around 6 with Dora. Cold enough that we decided to stay home tonight, not going out to try to find a New Year's Eve celebration. To phone shop, and bought a new SIM with new phone number (and have to show govt ID to do it). Still can't think of a reason they can't re-activate the old one, there's no security reason, and the new one didn't cost any more than the routine renewal costs, but now I have to change my phone number in the half-a-dozen places it's used. To Dia for groceries, and to fruit shop.
Spent the evening getting my new phone number working and changing various accounts to know about it, or at least remove the old number.
At midnight, we each ate 12 grapes (tradition), Dora grabbed money and crawled under the table (tradition ?), and we drank glasses of some evil drink she bought at the store today (cerveza aromatizada con tequila; beer with spices and tequila !). A couple more traditions (wearing red underwear, going around the block with suitcases) went undone.
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