2021-01-01 (Friday)In midafternoon, I went over to Dora's office and software-installed a security camera connected to her smartphone over the internet.
Late-evening Zoom call with my siblings in USA. Had 3 cats, 2 dogs, and 1 baby on the call with us at various times.
2021-01-02 (Saturday)After noon, over to Dora's new office to get it ready for her first patient, coming at 5. Then somehow it changes and the patient is coming at 2:15.
Session with patient went well.
In evening, Dora off to old apartment; I didn't feel like going. She ended up staying the night there.
2021-01-03 (Sunday)Dora at old apartment all day and into the evening, administering medicines to her son (flu) and her mother, and I think cooking.
Met Dora at bus stop at 9:30. Cold out, and the building front door was open and letting a cold wind make the whole building cold.
2021-01-04 (Monday)Out to a shop, then to Dora's office to arrange some things, and she had a meeting with a pharmaceutical rep.
Phone call from landlord; Dora hasn't paid the rent again, she still wants to fight with them. I pay the rent directly again, as I did last month.
Dora home for dinner, then back to office for a patient at 4. I set up more security cameras, to ATM, to supermarket.
2021-01-05 (Tuesday)Dora out early, but not before dragging me out of bed to print some last-minute paperwork. She was out all day. I met her in early evening at the bus stop. Then I was out to office, ATM, supermarket.
2021-01-06 (Wednesday)Took stuff to office; we're starting to get a little clear space in the apartment. That won't last long.
Out in the evening to try to go to ECI to look at furniture, but they're closed, it's a holiday (Three Kings, I guess). Stopped in at mass for 10 minutes, but I was nervous being around so many people.
In late evening, doing more Christmas cards.
2021-01-08 (Friday)Dora out all afternoon at medical appointments.
2021-01-09 (Saturday)Raining steadily. Most of the north of Spain had lots of snow in the last day or two, so I think we're getting it as rain. Stopped later; I went out to supermarket.
2021-01-10 (Sunday)Raining steadily again. Madrid has been shut down by huge snowfall.
2021-01-11 (Monday)Dora out to errand and then a couple of medical appointments. Later I was out to mail a big load of Christmas cards, stop in several shops. Home, start dinner, then out to supermarket and back.
2021-01-13 (Wednesday)Out briefly in midday, then nice dinner, then found that refrigerator/freezer has stopped working. I fiddled with the buttons and eventually managed to get it back to life, I think. But 20 minutes later it was stuck again. Messed with it, eventually got it going. This time it stayed running.
2021-01-14 (Thursday)Fridge/freezer still running, although fridge part is too cold, I think. But I don't want to mess with it, for now.
Messed with fridge later, and it stopped working. Found that unplugging it for 5 minutes helps, sometimes. Not sure. Got it running again. But it's either on all the time, or unplugged, and after plugging in, sometimes it will run and sometimes not.
2021-01-15 (Friday)Late-night Zoom call with my siblings in USA.
2021-01-16 (Saturday)Filed my Spanish ETE (wealth declaration) tax form for 2020. As usual, had to use Dora's Windows laptop to fill out the PDF file.
2021-01-17 (Sunday)Refrigerator wouldn't start in mid-morning, and nothing I did would get it going. So when we left to go to other apartment after noon, we took all the frozen meat with us to give to them. Picked up Peruvian chicken on the way, had dinner with family at old apartment. Dora's mother is weaker, her son is recovering after a bout of flu, her father is sick, niece is a teenager who doesn't talk much to us. Boring. I did sit in the park in the sun for a bit, and collected some books I'd left in the apartment. To bus stop and home by 6:30. Found that in my absence, refrigerator started running (non-stop, I think) again.
2021-01-18 (Monday)Refrigerator guy sent by landlord came, looked at situation, will consult landlord. Later the news is that they'll bring a replacement tomorrow afternoon.
By late afternoon, the refrigerator is totally dead, indicators not lighting up, not running at all.
2021-01-19 (Tuesday)Our third wedding anniversary !
Around 6:15 in the evening, a couple of guys came with a new refrigerator/freezer for us.
2021-01-22 (Friday)At 9:30, high wind and torrential rain. But reasonably nice the rest of the day.
Package delivered, but instead of being the keyboard I was expecting, it was expensive medicines for Dora and I had to pay for them.
Got some life out of a phone-app I've started developing using Flutter: BillDietrich / fake_contacts
2021-01-24 (Sunday)High winds for an hour or so around 7:30.
News is that Dora's mother is doing worse today. We went over there around 2, picking up Peruvian food on the way. I didn't even see Dora's mother; she was lying on her bed all day, too weak to get up much. In the evening she was worse, and Dora called the medical service, but they offered paramedics and she held out for a doctor. We probably could have had the paramedics within half an hour, but we waited 3+ hours, no doctor, and then went home.
2021-01-25 (Monday)Doctor saw Dora's mother at 10 last night, increased oxygen supply, but she's about the same this morning.
In early evening, word comes that Dora's mother was taken to VDH hospital by ambulance around 4. Dora didn't hear until almost 5, and told me around 6. Out to metro and to hospital. Wait in emergency room, and they won't tell us anything, just someone will call Dora on her phone sometime. We wait.
After 45 minutes or so, we start to leave, but then Dora has a word with one of the main doctors and gets to go back and see her mother. Turns out there's a long line of patients waiting to be examined, they're parked in hallways. COVID and non- are supposed to be separate, but we've been sitting in a waiting room for both kinds. Almost 5 hours and her mother has been triaged and given a full oxygen mask, but is sitting in a wheelchair in a hallway waiting to be examined and maybe put in a bed. Of course she wants to go home, but we think she has to be processed and official decisions made. No point in us waiting here all night, maybe getting infected. And we couldn't even wait with her. We go home, arriving by 9:45.
I'm a little shocked that there wasn't separation of the two kinds of patients (although of course everyone was wearing masks). A young woman came in with bad stomach pain and a bit of a cough, and sat 5 feet across from us for a couple of minutes until they took her in as a priority. Likely a COVID case.
At 11:10, the hospital called. Dora's mother is in a bed in the Emergency area. They think she got worse because of a respiratory infection, maybe. No blood test results yet. We'll see tomorrow. I'm relieved that she's in a bed.
2021-01-26 (Tuesday)At 9, the word is that Dora's mother has tested positive for the virus. I assume they did a rapid-test, which has a low accuracy, and I tend to disbelieve the results. The only symptoms she had were her normal symptoms of being on the edge of lung failure. It's a miracle she didn't get the flu that a couple of others in old apartment had; maybe what she has now is a touch of that ?
But now the others at the old apartment should be tested, and Dora and I should stay home for 10 days because we were exposed to her. Not to mention being exposed to everyone else in that waiting-room last night.
Dora out before 11:30 to go to old apartment to pick up a bag of stuff and take it to her mother at the hospital. A long trip with no chance to visit at either stop.
Dora home before 3. She wasn't able to see her mother, who still is in a bed in the Emergency dept, hasn't been moved to anywhere else. Her mother is feeling a bit worse today.
I didn't want to have a PCR test, but Dora went ahead and scheduled tests for four of us for tomorrow.
2021-01-27 (Wednesday)I'm out after 10. To metro, to old apartment. Picked up Dora's father, and we went to medical clinic. Gave samples for PCR test, and it wasn't as bad as I'd expected, just a brief discomfort. Dropped him back near home, I'm to bus. To near home, to supermarket, home before 1.
Not sure how Dora's mother is today; our news is secondhand.
I started cooking, but then Dora was out at 1:45 to take things to mother in hospital, then to have PCR test in the evening.
Dora home after 8. The news on her mother is mixed, apparently she's stable but has some pneumonia. If she really does have COVID, and with the pneumonia and her pre-existing lung condition, I'm amazed she's still alive.
2021-01-28 (Thursday)Dora's mother about the same today, still on oxygen, still tired.
Starting watching the Biology section of some cool educational videos on YouTube: Crash Course.
2021-01-29 (Friday)Getting PCR test results online. I'm negative. Dora's father "preliminary" result is positive. No result yet for Dora. Can't get result for niece (we've never had online access to her records).
Also, Dora's son had a rapid-test (antigen) today and it was negative. But I don't trust the accuracy of those tests.
Got a notice that my new laptop has been assembled and is in the testing phase. Late afternoon, notice that it has been shipped.
In midafternoon, online it says Dora tested negative.
By late evening, no one has called to inform us of niece's test result, so that means it must be negative. We received several calls about Dora's father's positive result, telling us to isolate, asking who he's had contact with, etc.
Late-evening Zoom call with my siblings.
2021-01-30 (Saturday)After noon, received a message that implies Dora's niece tested positive for the virus, wants to know her contacts.
Around 6, received news that Dora's mother seemed to be fading, we'd better go see her, there was mention of putting her on morphine. So we somewhat-rushed to the hospital, and up to her floor. It's a COVID ward, so I didn't go inside, but one at a time Dora's sister and son and then Dora were able to go in and see her. Apparently she seemed weak but stable. Eventually we headed out, long Metro ride, home by 8:30.
The COVID ward (one of many) is specially-dedicated, signs at the doors warning you to stay out. But all the workers going in and out are wearing just normal facemasks. I think the ones going into the rooms are wearing a lot more PPE, but still there didn't seem to be full precautions. Hard to tell, just looking through the little windows in the doors at the end of the hallway, from a respectful distance.
2021-01-31 (Sunday)Windy and cool during night and morning.
Out around 4 or so. Long metro ride to hospital. But then son spent so long with Dora's mother that when Dora got in, her mother was falling asleep and Dora couldn't hardly at all with her. Her mother is on morphine and doesn't have long to go, I think. We did get a chance to talk with Dora's sister and son. Long metro ride home, back after 7.
2021-02-01 (Monday)Windy morning.
At 0930, new laptop delivered ! Pics. Worked on it all day, exploring and testing things.
Dora's sister from the North made a one-day trip down to see her mother in hospital.
At 1730, delivery of a new keyboard for another laptop we have.
2021-02-02 (Tuesday)In early evening, Dora went to the hospital to see her mother. I was feeling a little sick, stayed home. Her mother was awake and they were able to talk.
Completely re-installed the operating system on my new laptop, and results were not good. I think I know what I did wrong (wrong OS image), but I have a message to Support to confirm it.
2021-02-03 (Wednesday)Have had a low-grade headache for a couple of days; tired.
Installed Kubuntu 20.10 on my new laptop, all looks good, started transferring everything across from old laptop.
In late afternoon, out to medical, pharmacy, shop, supermarket.
On TV, watched Barca beat Granada 5-3. A thrilling game, and it's been a long time since I've seen a Barca game.
2021-02-06 (Saturday)In early evening, to hospital to meet Dora's sister, and the two of them went up to see their mother.
Received my US stimulus check ($600), dated Jan 6, and deposited it through US bank's phone-app.
2021-02-07 (Sunday)In late evening, my nice new laptop froze solid, just the way the old laptop does. Mouse stopped moving, no keys worked, had to power off. Must be an OS problem; both laptops are running Kubuntu 20.10. Old laptop has overheating and RAM problems, but new one doesn't.
2021-02-08 (Monday)At 0415, a call that Dora's mother has passed away in the hospital.
Groaned out of bed before 9, out to a taxi by 9:30 or so. To hospital, and met Dora's sister. Soon to the funeral home offices on the hospital grounds, which are side-by-side, a guy waiting to invite us in to each one. I have read that there are only two funeral homes in the whole city, it's a bit of a monopoly.
We got a quote from one of them, walked next to to the other, and got a much cheaper quote there. The first guy was adding a couple of optional things, I think.
Took a while to do the paperwork, then down to main building to collect her belongings, then taxi to old apartment. Day has turned colder and rainy.
Hung around at the old apartment all afternoon. Finally home by 6:45, cold and tired and wrung out.
2021-02-10 (Wednesday)Out at noon, to a viewing of Dora's mother's casket.
2021-02-14 (Sunday)Raining. Out around 10:40, to metro, to church near old apartment. Into a mass where they mentioned Dora's mother name as a memorial. And today would have been her 81st birthday.
Afterward, wanted to buy flowers, but the flower shops had long lines (it's Valentine's Day). Fortunately I bought flowers for Dora yesterday.
Weather has turned cold. To old apartment, had dinner, Dora and her sister and son went out to vote. Home before 5.
2021-02-15 (Monday)I have a slight sore throat. Dora out to a couple of medical appointments. I'm out for groceries. Still slightly cold out.
2021-02-17 (Wednesday)Online, filed my US federal income tax return. I use Free File Fillable Forms.
2021-02-19 (Friday)Dora out early, to medical association, and later to church to donate stuff. Glad to see her doing some stuff, she's been just watching TV far too much.
Kept hearing a pump or washing machine running over the last few days, and finally realized it's our gas water-heater. Maybe we have air in our radiators. Pressure gauge on heater reads zero. We have heat in most radiators, but the system does not shut off properly, we have to run the hot-water faucet briefly to get the heater to shut off.
Then, after 8, the heater quit completely, blinking a code E9, no hot water or heat.
2021-02-21 (Sunday)We're out at 12:30 or so. To metro, to old apartment. Had a nice hot shower there; we still don't have heat and hot water at our apartment. Dinner. Loafed. Home by 7:30.
Forgot that we DO have a couple of built-in electric heaters at the apartment; we think of them as air-conditioners, and we've never used them, but they do heat too. But of course they don't do hot water.
2021-02-22 (Monday)Heater guy will come tomorrow.
A little Android app I created (my first) finally appeared in F-Droid store: Fake Contacts app.
Headachey and tired all day.
2021-02-23 (Tuesday)As planned, building electricity out from 9:15 to 12:35.
Water-heater guy came after 1:15. He said the system was neglected and calcified, he replaced the main pump and motor. Done by 2. He said €179, but supposedly the landlord has a service contract, so we didn't pay anything. Took a nice hot shower. All but one radiator is working.
2021-02-28 (Sunday)Online, found that a friend I'd lost contact with in the last month or two has died, as I'd feared. He'd had cancer for several years and was 73 years old. I first met him in 2003 or so, on my boat when I was passing through Norfolk VA.
Out at 2:30 or so. Metro to old apartment and had dinner. Then everyone vanished to their computers and phones as usual. Eventually left, home by 7:30.
Time to take down the Christmas tree.
2021-03-01 (Monday)Opened up my new laptop to see what was inside. Didn't see any clear markings identifying the motherboard, which was my goal. Pics.
2021-03-03 (Wednesday)Finally got rid of two bottled-water machines that Dora had signed up for.
In the evening, watched on TV as Barca beat Sevilla in a thrilling tie-breaker game that went to an extra half.
2021-03-04 (Thursday)Seems they're starting to vaccinate all 80+ people here. And there was a chance that Dora and I could slide in somehow, but it was at a place near old apartment and I'm cooking dinner.
But her father did get vaccinated, first dose of Pfizer vaccine. So that's good.
2021-03-07 (Sunday)Over to old apartment for the afternoon and into early evening. Dora's sister was up from the South.
2021-03-08 (Monday)Online, filed my Spanish foreign assets declaration form (720).
We had been planning to move back to the old apartment, now that Dora's mother has passed away. But it turns out that the niece especially likes the extra space and lack of supervision, and they like having the extra room and privacy, so they don't want us back there. So I guess we're staying here.
2021-03-11 (Thursday)To Dora's office in mid-day, and returned the big expensive new machine she bought a month or two ago. Trying to reduce the financial bleeding a little.
2021-03-12 (Friday)Dora out much of the day, at medical appointment and then visiting old apartment.
Late-night Zoom call with my siblings in USA.
2021-03-13 (Saturday)Heating system acting up again; I think air and gunk in the system and maybe leaky pipes outside.
2021-03-16 (Tuesday)Landlord's guy stopped by after noon, said "yup, you need a heating system technician", and left. One will come tomorrow afternoon.
But then a technician showed up 15 minutes later, took one look, and said "you've got a broken pipe, of course the system won't work".
In the evening, workman came by to leave a ladder to use tomorrow morning, when they will come to do the pipes.
2021-03-17 (Wednesday)Plumber arrived at 10:45, did some repairs, by 11:15 he was bleeding air out of radiators. Done by noon.
2021-03-21 (Sunday)Moving-guy came at 12:30. We moved all the stuff from Dora's office into our apartment, giving away a desk and a junky cabinet in the process. So now we've vacated her office.
I've been fighting headaches for several days now. Dora thinks I have a fever today. Later, started taking antibiotics.
2021-03-22 (Monday)Dora is approved to go back to work, but has 2 weeks of accrued vacation she didn't take last year, so it will be another 2 weeks.
2021-03-24 (Wednesday)In the evening, received an SMS from the health service saying I can schedule a vaccination for COVID. But the web site offers no sites in Barcelona, which I assume means no available appointments at the moment. Rules say I have to be less than 65 years old, which I think means it will be the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Tried again later, citas available in Barcelona, but by the time I pushed the button there were none left. And of course their web site is written in some non-standard way, so I have to re-type all the info each time I want to check. But on about the 4th try, I got a cita, for Friday at noon at a health center pretty easy to get to from here.
2021-03-25 (Thursday)In the evening, Dora got a call to schedule her vaccination, because of her job. Tomorrow about the same time as mine, different place.
2021-03-26 (Friday)Dora out to get her vaccination, I went out after 11 to get mine. Longish bus ride, walk, then stand in line for half an hour. Pretty confusing inside, I think half the time they were speaking Catalan to me. But got injected with a dose of AstraZeneca. Message from Dora saying she'd gotten Pfizer. Bus ride back, to supermarket, home tired at 1:45.
Late-evening Zoom call with siblings etc in USA.
In early AM, had fever and chills, I assume from the vaccination. Chills soon went away, but fever stayed, and I didn't sleep much.
2021-03-27 (Saturday)Stayed in bed half the day, slowly getting a bit better. Paracetmol and Nolotil. Fever ended around midnight; slept okay.
2021-04-02 (Friday)Out after 12. Metro to old apartment. Had dinner, chatted, watched TV, put together an exercise machine. Long day. Home before 9:30, tired.
2021-04-07 (Wednesday)6:45 in the evening, doorbell rings, there's a water leak in the building and they think it's coming from somewhere inside the walls of our apartment ? Apparently it's in some big, old main pipe of the building, I don't know if water or sewer.
2021-04-08 (Thursday)Dora out in late afternoon to do an errand, so of course building president picks that time to ring our bell and tell me workers are coming at 0530 tomorrow to fix the water. Pretty sure I got that time right, and she apologized, saying the company picked the time.
And of course when Dora gets home, she's outraged, says she won't open the door at 0530, etc. Apparently it's a main sewer pipe going through the tiny balcony outside our kitchen, where the washer/dryer are. I just want to let them get on with the work.
But Dora goes and finds out I got the time wrong, they'll be here 4:30 to 6 tomorrow afternoon. And then she says this leak apparently has been a longstanding problem, it's not a sudden emergency.
Online, started my Spanish income tax return.
2021-04-09 (Friday)Someone came at 5:30, but apparently it was just an insurance person to inspect the damage (nothing to see from our apartment), and Dora handled it.
2021-04-10 (Saturday)Over to old apartment and spent afternoon there, sort of in honor of some coming birthdays.
2021-04-13 (Tuesday)Dora went to other apartment, sort of for birthdays. I skipped it, and was glad I did, she was over there for about 8 hours.
2021-04-14 (Wednesday)Apparently Dora's father got his second dose of Pfizer.
2021-04-15 (Thursday)Online, filed my 2020 FBAR with US govt. Forgot about it and almost missed the deadline.
Online, filled out my 2020 Spanish income tax, but didn't submit it yet. Want to see if it's better to file separately or jointly with Dora.
2021-04-16 (Friday)Dora out to get her second dose of Pfizer. No idea when I'll get my second dose of AstraZeneca. Originally I had thought after 3 weeks, but now I'm reading it could be after 12 weeks.
2021-04-17 (Saturday)In late evening, watched on TV as Barca won the Copa del Rey, 4-0.
2021-04-20 (Tuesday)Saw a news article that Spain is re-evaluating the AstraZeneca vaccine (the one I got). Going to do a 28-day study and then decide if people like me will get AZ or some other vaccine as our second dose.
2021-04-21 (Wednesday)Dora out early to take niece to medical appointments. She brought back mail from other apartment, which included another stimulus check for me ($1400). Used my US bank's phone app to deposit it.
2021-04-22 (Thursday)Dora out all morning and early afternoon, at beauty parlor.
2021-04-23 (Friday)Dora out before 2:30, to work 3-11. She's been off sick since mid-September; I thought it was longer than that. Today is a holiday; worker setting up canopies in the park outside our window. Music starting at 5, but the only acivity seems to be kids doing drawing or paper-cutting at tables.
Late-evening Zoom call with my siblings. Dora home after 11:30.
2021-04-26 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-04-27 (Tuesday)Dora out early to a medical appointment.
Went out at night after 10 to see if I could catch a glimpse of the "super-moon" (which was supposed to be last night). But, like last night, we're totally clouded over, and surrounded by tall buildings and bright lights. Couldn't even figure out which direction to look.
2021-04-28 (Wednesday)Installed Linux Fedora 34 KDE on my laptop. A bit of a rough start, having mouse/touchpad problems, Wayland issues, more.
Dora out in evening to work 8-1.
2021-05-01 (Saturday)Raining steadily. Dora out to work 11-11.
2021-05-02 (Sunday)Dora out to work 11-11.
Online, filed my Spanish wealth tax return (form 714).
2021-05-04 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-05-05 (Wednesday)In the evening, Dora out to work 8-1. I went with her in the metro, and went a couple more stops to the base of La Rambla. First time I've walked around as a tourist in more than a year. Forgot to bring my phone with me.
Lower end of La Rambla was very empty, I've never seen it so empty. So was Placa Reaial. More people in Placa Jaume and in front of the cathedral, but still maybe 1/10th normal. Upper end of La Rambla had a fair number of people.
Sat on La Rambla for a while, then up to Placa Catalunya. Soon after I crossed the street, heard screaming on the other side, and looked over to see a guy lying on the sidewalk knocked out cold. Another guy was walking away cooly as people pointed at him. I looked around for police, but none to be seen.
Eventually into metro, connected at Espanya but construction forced a long walk to outside and paying for another ride. Home by 9:15, tired.
2021-05-06 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-05-07 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-11.
Dora calls me after 10, there's Pfizer vaccine going to expire at her work, she can bring home a dose for me. We decide to do it. She's going to log it in the system, it will be legal and registered.
Zoom call with family from USA.
Dora came home, and no vaccine. Apparently it's for 50-59 and 70+ ages, and I'm in the gap. So it gets thrown away !
2021-05-08 (Saturday)Out after 1, to metro, and to old apartment. Dora's sister is in town, and we had a birthday party for Dora. Nice dinner, quite nice dessert. Warm enough now to sit out on the balcony and watch everyone in the park while listening to audio programs. Came back fairly late, on the bus, arriving home at 10:15. Tired.
Found out later that curfews and other restrictions were lifted tonight, across most of Spain, and tens of thousands of people went into the streets to drink and party and not wear masks or keep distance. Expect more infections in a week or two. I'm glad Dora wasn't working tonight.
2021-05-10 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-05-12 (Wednesday)In evening, Dora to work 8-1.
2021-05-14 (Friday)For dinner, got take-out from an Indian restaurant just around the block from us. Nice.
2021-05-15 (Saturday)Dora out to work 11-11.
Out at 4:30 to the free "Night of the Museums", and it turned out to be a bust. CaixaForum had only 2 exhibits open and they were bad, and apparently now MNAC requires advance tickets for the free night. At least I got out and got some exercise and fresh air.
2021-05-16 (Sunday)Dora out to work 11-11.
Spent some time whittling Dora's Yahoo Mail inbox down from 8800 messages to 5150. Then got her GMail inbox down from 750 to 0.
2021-05-18 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-05-19 (Wednesday)In evening, Dora out to work 8-1.
2021-05-20 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-05-21 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-11.
2021-05-22 (Saturday)Over to old apartment for 6+ hours to see everyone there.
2021-05-23 (Sunday)In late evening, online, filed my Spanish income tax return. So I am done with all filings, US and Spanish, for 2020.
2021-05-24 (Monday)It's a holiday here today, but Dora out to work 11-11. And she had a busy day, non-stop patients.
2021-05-26 (Wednesday)Dora out in evening to work 8-1.
2021-05-29 (Saturday)Dora out to work 11-11.
Dora has a new schedule from work, and it's bad. Over a two-week rotation, she'll have one shift 0800 to 1500, another 0800-2000, many 1500 or 1600 to 2200, one 2200 to 0800. So it's the bad kind of shift-schedule, where you sleep/wake at several different times during the rotation. She didn't have shifts starting at 0800 or 2200 before.
2021-05-30 (Sunday)Dora out to work 11-11.
2021-06-01 (Tuesday)Dora out to work in afternoon 4-10.
2021-06-02 (Wednesday)Dora out to work in morning 7:45 to 3.
In the evening, had a small birthday celebration.
2021-06-03 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-06-04 (Friday)Late-evening Zoom call with my sibllings in USA.
2021-06-05 (Saturday)Dora out to work 8-8.
2021-06-06 (Sunday)Visiting at the old apartment from 1 to 8 or so. Tired afterward.
Suddenly Dora has to say when she'll take vacation this year. We think about various travel possibilities, and I want to go to Istanbul in late September. So I'll start arranging that.
2021-06-07 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-10.
Collecting information about Istanbul.
2021-06-08 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-06-09 (Wednesday)Dora out in evening to work overnight, 10-8.
2021-06-10 (Thursday)Dora home at 8:30, and instead of going to bed, she's mopping floors and doing laundry and doing exercise etc.
Apparently there were few patients after 1 AM or so, and she was given time to sleep from 4:30 to 7:30, but she couldn't sleep.
In late evening, online, bought tickets for us to go visit the family in the north of Spain, in last week of June.
2021-06-11 (Friday)In the morning, there's some kind of "dance studio" event on a stage in the plaza under our window.
Starting to get hot enough to run the AC a little in the afternoons.
Dora out to work 3-10.
In USA, one of my sisters donated a kidney, with no specific recipient designated, just whoever is next on the list and a good match. Pretty amazing !
2021-06-14 (Monday)In the evening, got notified, logged in, and scheduled my second shot of AstraZeneca for Sunday the 20th. I think today is right about 12 weeks after I had the first shot.
2021-06-15 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-06-16 (Wednesday)Dora out to work 8-3.
US Social Security has notified me that now I'm elegible to start collecting retirement benefits. Did some calculations (wrongly, TWICE) to see when I should start collecting. Looks like they expect me to live to about age 81. Two of my grandparents, and my mother, lived to 84-85. Other grandparents and my father died younger for various reasons, and several uncles/aunts are still going near 90. So I think I'm likely to live past age 81.
Spain has announced they're going to start vaccinating 12-39 years old. So the vaccination numbers, which are at something like 46% of population with at least one dose, really should start climbing.
In the evening, we hear that niece has broken her glasses, she needs new ones. Turns out that playing at a school picnic event, some kid shot an arrow and hit the lens of her eyeglasses. It was hard enough to break them on her face and knock them off, bruising or scraping her nose. Unbelieveable !
2021-06-17 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-06-18 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-10. I thought she didn't have to work today, but I was wrong, her schedule must be irregular or changing.
Late-night Zoom call with siblings etc in the USA; nice.
2021-06-20 (Sunday)Dora out to work 8-8.
Out at 11:45, to Fira Montjuic, and got my second dose of Astra-Zeneca vaccine.
2021-06-21 (Monday)Reserved an AirBNB apartment in Istanbul (near Taksim Square) for last 2 weeks of September.
2021-06-22 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
Found out apartment in Istanbul (5th floor) has no elevator ! So cancelled it. Soon booked another, but it's not quite as nice as the first, in many ways. I'm sure it will be fine.
Trip to Ampuero:
2021-06-23 (Wednesday)Up at 6, out at 7:25. To metro, to train station, met niece and son and father there. Stop in a cafe, then son says goodbye and the other 4 of us get onto train to the north of Spain.
A long, slow train with too much air-conditioning. It was warm in Barcelona, but it's cool and rainy in the rest of Spain, and we're not dressed for it. And because of COVID there is no food or drink sold on the train. Fortunately I've brought power-bars for all 4 of us.
Almost 6.5 hours on the train, which was okay and half-empty but slow.
Out in Bilbao, and some confusion. We end up in a restaurant for dinner, soon joined by Dora's sister. The food is pretty good.
Out, and into the metro. We overshoot our stop, backtrack two stops. Up to fancy new bus station. Get tickets, and soon onto a bus to Laredo.
Arrive there at almost 7, and it's cool and breezy and trying to rain. Find out the bus to Ampuero won't arrive for 2 hours, decide to taxi. Dora calls her sister who calls for a taxi. But when it arrives it can hold only 3 of us (no one can sit in front because of COVID). So the others take it and I'm left to find another for myself.
No taxis for 20 minutes or so, then I get lucky and one drops off a passenger. I'm in and get to sister's house before 8.
2021-06-24 (Thursday)Turns out Dora's sister's family is working this week, we have the house to ourselves. Father bought bread from a street-vendor. Figured out how to get the hot water going. Wanted to go out to supermarket, but Dora says it's a holiday, everything will be closed. Did plane tickets for trip to Istanbul, with a few struggles over club membership and Dora's name on ticket. Went out for a little walk.
2021-06-25 (Friday)Wi-Fi died sometime in the early AM, I think. Blinking light on the router. I'm able to guess the router login, but not able to get it going after that. Maybe service is down in the neighborhood ? TV still works. [Later heard that a tower failed.]
Dora and I did the longish walk into town to buy a load of groceries at a supermarket. Ribs for dinner.
Sister's family arrived around 8. Twin 7-year-olds noisy and full of energy. Nice to see everyone.
2021-06-26 (Saturday)Wi-Fi still dead. Nice big dinner with all of us (minus sister's husband, who is working) around a big table loaded with food.
2021-06-27 (Sunday)Wi-Fi still dead. Raining here today. Did some internet through my phone.
Phone call from airline, and it seems the tickets to Istanbul are good to go. There was an issue about Dora's two last names being merged into one on the emails to me, but they say it's okay in the system.
2021-06-28 (Monday)Up at 7:15. Taxi at 8:45 to Laredo, waited in cafe, confusing that two buses are scheduled for 9:40 on overlapping routes, but we got on the right one.
Long ride to Barcelona, stopping halfway at Zaragosa for bathrooms and food. Bus went close to our apartment, but we had to stay on until the station, then metro back. Home after 7:30. Food, out to supermarket, shower.
We've been watching a lot of Euro 2020 football recently, and today's games were scorchers. We didn't get to see Spain beat Croatia 5-3, but we did see Switzerland beat France 3-3 on the final penalty shot after extra time. Exciting game.
2021-06-29 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-06-30 (Wednesday)Dora out to work 8-3, then a lecture at 4.
2021-07-01 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-10. When she came home, she says they're seeing a fair number of young people with COVID, some with a bit of pneumonia. Not good.
2021-07-02 (Friday)In the evening, on TV watched Spain beat Switzerland in a mediocre game. Then watched much of the Italy - Belgium game, which was a better game. Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.
Someone had a 27-year wedding anniversary, so a joke was told: "A marriage is like a deck of cards. At the beginning it's all hearts and diamonds, but by the end you just want a club and a spade."
2021-07-03 (Saturday)Dora out to work 8-8.
2021-07-04 (Sunday)Dora's son came over to have dinner with us.
2021-07-05 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-06 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10. In the evening, we watched Spain lose to Italy on penalty kicks, in a mediocre game.
2021-07-07 (Wednesday)In evening, watched England beat Denmark in a good game. But we noticed that the crowd was shoulder-to-shoulder and almost none of them wearing masks.
2021-07-09 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-10 (Saturday)Dora had me try some hair-dye-shampoo to make my hair darker.
2021-07-13 (Tuesday)Dora's son came over for dinner. Then Dora out to work 3-10.
At night, just couldn't get to sleep, for 2nd night in a row. Took Diazepam.
2021-07-14 (Wednesday)Dora out to work 8-3.
Headache that won't go away; took a sumatriptan.
2021-07-15 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-16 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-10. Her clinic is seeing loads of COVID-positive youngish people.
Late-night Zoom call with USA.
2021-07-17 (Saturday)Dora's son flew to north to be with sister's family for a couple of weeks.
2021-07-18 (Sunday)Dora out to work 8-8.
Late night, killed a big cockroach in the kitchen. I think it flew in through an open window. First we've seen here.
2021-07-20 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-21 (Wednesday)In the evening, Dora out to work all night, 10-8.
2021-07-23 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-26 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-27 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-07-28 (Wednesday)Dora out to work 8-3.
2021-07-30 (Friday)Looks like we're going to move back to old apartment. Dora's father is having some health problems.
Late-night Zoom call with USA; nice.
2021-07-31 (Saturday)Dora out to work 8-8.
2021-08-02 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-10. Dora's son came back from the North.
2021-08-03 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 8-3.
2021-08-04 (Wednesday)Dora's son got first dose of Pfizer vaccine. And they just announced start of vaccinations for ages 12-15 here, but niece is not here.
At bedtime, Dora tells me a moving-guy is coming tomorrow to move the big closet in the front room to the old apartment.
2021-08-05 (Thursday)Up at 8, to get ready for moving-guy. And soon I find out we're going to move as much as possible today to old apartment, even though we ourselves are not moving until end of month ? Or maybe we will move completely by this weekend ? Confused. We're going to show up with a truck full of stuff, to put into an apartment that I think already is mostly full. Turns out we're not getting the master bedroom, we're getting the smaller bedroom we used to be in.
Moving guy shows up at 10:45. Turns out he's expecting to just disassemble furniture today, not move it. Done around 1. I found out later he's not vaccinated, he's heard stories of people having bad reactions to the vaccines.
Dora and I out at 1:30, to metro, and to other apartment. Dinner with son, and lots of talk about arranging furniture, which pieces to get rid of, when to move. We can fit everything, mainly by kicking a bunch of it out onto the balconies. We're going to end up with one extra huge TV, which I guess will get mounted on the wall in our bedroom.
Eventually decided we'll have to move on two days, first a lot of stuff this Saturday, then the rest and ourselves a week or so later. Partly because some disassembly and assembly will be required on the first day, and I think it would be too much work (for the moving-guy) to do it all in one day.
Loafed while Dora and son watched telenovellas. To bus, noticing that more people in this neighborhood are not wearing masks outside, than in our other neighborhood. Home by 8, tired.
2021-08-06 (Friday)Dora out to work 2-10.
2021-08-07 (Saturday)Up at 8:45, moving-guy arrived at 10, and we started hauling stuff. Hot, sweaty work wearing a mask, and I'm not young any more. By the time we finished filling the truck around 12:30, I was pretty done in.
Over to "new" apartment by 1, and hauled stuff up to the apartment. Done by 3 or so, had some food and a lie-down. Back to "old" apartment around 4, and hauled more stuff. Done around 5:45. To "new", and unloaded by 7:30. I'm done, but the moving-guy starts disassembling and assembling the big armarios and fixing a loose bolt on the bed.
I try to leave at 10:20, but Dora drags at me and delays me and gets me to wait. I try again after 11, but realize the buses have stopped and the metro may strand me at Sant Estacio. So back to the apartment, shower, and to bed. I think the guy keeps working until midnight. Someone else visits to look at furniture, and mounting a TV on the wall.
2021-08-08 (Sunday)Dragged out of bed at 10, grab a little breakfast. Moving-truck arrives, we get in, slow trip to "old" apartment. The major ring-road is being repaved, so to the last couple of trips have been slow. We had to come here today mainly to pick up some parts the guy forgot yesterday, but we also pick up some more bags of stuff.
Soon back over to "new" apartment. I lie down. Guy finishes putting together the big armario. We have dinner, then he leaves.
I try to get Dora to put stuff away, but she's tired and it's her day off. I get her to do some stuff, but the apartment remains a huge mess, mainly a log-jam of furniture and suitcases. We have twice as many chairs as we need, for one thing.
We leave after 8, metro, home by 9:15 or so. Tired. And I think I haven't had any caffeine all day, which may explain some of my tiredness and headache.
2021-08-09 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-08-10 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-08-11 (Wednesday)Dora out to work 8-3.
2021-08-12 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-10.
Hot here today. But the rest of the world seems to be on fire, so we can't complain.
2021-08-13 (Friday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-08-14 (Saturday)To other apartment all afternoon and early evening, but all we did was eat dinner with Dora's son and then they watched movies.
2021-08-15 (Sunday)Dora out to work 8-8.
2021-08-16 (Monday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-08-17 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-08-18 (Wednesday)In the evening, Dora out to work overnight 10-8.
2021-08-19 (Thursday)Turns out Dora went to "new" apartment after work. So after noon, I went there too. Dinner, then loafed all day. Sister arrived from South. Dora going to sleep over tonight, but I didn't want to, so I went home, taking two empty suitcases with me.
2021-08-20 (Friday)Dora from other apartment, out to work 3-10.
2021-08-21 (Saturday)Packing. Moving-guy arrived at 3:30, and he and I about 2/3 filled his truck with stuff. And this is the second load; the big stuff went last week.
Over to "new" apartment. Unloaded by 6:15 or so, and the apartment is stuffed. We have a meal. I'm done; sweaty and achey. But the moving-guy stays to put together a new bed for us. He's done around 10:30. We have a big chicken dinner, then he's gone by 11:30 or so. Son and I carry out a big load of garbage. Shower and into bed by 1 AM or so.
2021-08-22 (Sunday)Slowly unpacking. We have twice as much stuff as will reasonably fit in the apartment, but each big piece of furniture has its defender, and of course Dora won't get rid of any of her clothes or books. We'll figure it out.
Sister to airport to fly back to South. I'm still aching a bit from moving yesterday; took an Ibuprofen. Then out to stores for groceries. Later out for a nice walk.
Slept very badly; headache all night.
2021-08-23 (Monday)Tired. Headache eased after food and coffee. Dora out to work 3-10. Opened up kitchen sink drain but didn't find any clog. In the evening, out for a walk, bought new lightbulb for kitchen ceiling, groceries.
2021-08-24 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 8-3. Before noon, furniture delivery from IKEA, a closet for son's room. Just what we need, more furniture.
2021-08-25 (Wednesday)Dora out to work 8-3. Moving-guy supposed to arrive at 10, but then changed to 3:30. Son got second dose of Pfizer vaccine.
Moving-guy and Dora arrived about same time. Took a while to get dinner cooked and eaten. Then I went out around 5, took an empty suitcase to metro and to "old" apartment. Surprised to find about 3x as much stuff still there as I expected. Took out 6 or 7 bags of garbage, filled the suitcase with stuff we want to keep, and still Dora has a change of clothes and half of her stuff in the bathroom. Swept the worst of the dusty parts. Back to metro and home before 8. Sweaty and tired.
Furniture-guy finished around 9. He assembled a big IKEA armario in son's room. Just barely fits.
2021-08-26 (Thursday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-08-27 (Friday)Out after 8, metro to center, and met some friends of Dora's visiting from Peru.
As we walked up to Passeig de Gracia, at the corner of Placa Catalunya, I witnessed a theft. A taxi was stopped on the corner, unloading luggage. A guy on a bike casually came from in front while the driver was in back, reached in through the open driver's window and grabbed a wallet or something off the dashboard. Casually biked away. When there was no traffic, I hustled across the street and got to the taxi just as the driver realized he'd been robbed. I pointed to the bicyclist, but he was already a block away, not even riding fast. The taxi driver started running after him, but probably it was hopeless. I thought of waiting to see if police were called, but then our group kept walking up PdG, and Dora told me not to wait for police.
The restaurant we wanted to go to was closed, so back down PdG. No sign of taxi or police at the corner where the theft had occurred.
Back down to where we started, and went into Cafe Zurich and had a nice time. Eventually out, the visitors headed for a tourist bus, and Dora and I went down to the cathedral. It used to be free entry on mornings, but now it's €9 admission, with extra charges for roof and special art exhibit. But as city residents, Dora and I got into the main church for free. Nice, but warm and very humid.
Street art: pics. Eventually down to Jaume I metro and home after noon, hot and tired.
In late evening, Zoom call with family in USA.
2021-08-28 (Saturday)Dora out to work 8-8.
2021-08-29 (Sunday)Out at 11:30. Metro to Universitat, eventually found the visitors from Peru. Walked down into Raval, looking into a church and a free art exhibit on the way. Long lunch at a Turkish cafe.
Then walked across old town, hitting various sites along the way: Palau Guell, Placa Reial, art gallery alley, Placa San Miguel, Placa Jaume. Into a cafe for coffee/dessert.
Street art: pics.
To Santa Maria del Mar church (now €14 admission !). To Born CC, then Parc Ciutadella, to see the fountain and the mammoth sculpture. Up to Arc De Triomf. Metro to FiP, then walked to apartment. Home by 5:45 or so.
The others went back out around 6:45 to go to Horta labyrinth, but I'm staying home, I'm tired.
2021-08-30 (Monday)Finally got Dora to do an hour or two of decision-making and sending stuff for donation or putting it away. I took two big loads of clothes to the donation box, and several loads of stuff to put near the recycling bins where people will pick through it. Apartment still is a huge overstuffed mess, and 5 family members arriving from North tomorrow night.
Dora out to work 3-10. I'm out for groceries. Rain at 3:15. At 10:15 I went to meet Dora at the metro, and there were a couple of crazy people talking to themselves or ranting in the plaza.
2021-08-31 (Tuesday)Unpacking and stowing and getting rid of stuff. Five more family members supposed to arrive tonight (although they missed a bus to start their trip, we'll see if they can recover). Dora dealt with the huge piles of clothes on the master bed, I took loads of dishes and other to the recycle bin.
Dora out to bank and then work 3-10. By re-arranging a few things, I managed to clear off the kitchen table and main dining table, so the apartment is starting to look usable. Still a lot of bags and suitcases in various places.
Took stuff to donation box. Out for groceries. Dinner.
At 9, to metro, with an empty suitcase. To "old" apartment. Took out a mattress to the recycle bins. Started cleaning. Dora arrived after work. I cleaned in the kitchen, she did the bathrooms. Hauling more stuff to the bins.
Out after 11:30. To metro, which closes at midnight. Connected at Sants Estacio, with about 10 minutes to last train, I think. Home by midnight-25. Five family members have arrived from the North.
2021-09-01 (Wednesday)Everything quiet until 11, then Dora wakes the kids. And then soon we're doing 6 things. I've been telling Dora for 6 months to get a death certificate for her mother, and now suddenly it's urgent for some reason. Then out at 11:45 to haul a big box to the Correos counter at ECI, to send it to Madrid. Even though I bought that box here, they balk at sending it. Finally they do, for as much as the contents are worth, probably. Dora and her sister start shopping, I go home.
Out again after 2, with Dora and niece. Long walk to metro, 2 stops, long walk into Maquinista shopping mall. Long line for vaccinations, and it didn't move for a long time. Then it started moving, I stayed outside while they went inside, and they were out very quickly. [Turns out, the center had been closed for lunch while we were in line, then suddenly it opened and had lots of people giving injections.] Niece got a dose of Pfizer, and since she tested positive for the virus a while ago, this will be her only dose.
She wanted to go to McDonald's, so we went. Eventually out and long trek home. Tired.
2021-09-02 (Thursday)At 11 or so, out with Dora and sister. To bus, and to "old" apartment. Cleaned and got rid of stuff, hoped landlord would come today to take possession, but then he said he'll do it next week. Metro to home.
In early evening, out to park across the street with twins and niece and sister and a ping-pong set. Just enough wind to make it an adventure, and none of us are very good, and the ping-pong balls are horrible quality, but we had fun. Then the twins were climbing the climbing wall, which made me nervous.
Out to the park again at 9:30 or so, to play ping-ping and then use the playground. The idea was to tire out the kids, but all it did was tire out the rest of us.
2021-09-03 (Friday)Slept late. Out to ECI to mail a router back to MasMovil. Walked Dora to metro, to work 3-10. Tried to find a place to buy good ping-pong balls but failed.
Other sister arrived around 4, so now we are 9 in the apartment, for a day or two.
More ping-pong in the park with the kids. Fun.
2021-09-04 (Saturday)Kids and parents out in afternoon to a swimming pool.
Out to 7:30 mass where names of a couple of deceased family members were mentioned as a memorial. Then to an out door cafe.
Later out for a sit in the plaza and walk quite a bit.
2021-09-05 (Sunday)One sister and twins out at 5 AM, heading back to the North. So now we are 6.
2021-09-06 (Monday)To ECI to mail a box, but their computers are down, technician is sitting there with lots of papers spread out, trying to fix the problem. To Dia for groceries. Took stuff to donation box. In late afternoon, sister has rented a storage locker a block away, so we hauled stuff to it. Early-evening Zoom call with USA. Out for a sit and walk.
2021-09-07 (Tuesday)Hunkering down while Dora and sister re-arrange things. Then Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-09-08 (Wednesday)Son out at 4:30 to go to Malaga. Dora out to work 8-3. After dinner, I went to ECI again to try to send box, got rejected because it has "advertising" on the outside. Niece went to dentist and had 4 (!) teeth pulled to make room for the rest to develop correctly.
Took a diazepam at bedtime, slept like a log, slept very late the next morning.
2021-09-09 (Thursday)Slept very late. Dora out to work 3-10. Went to ECI and finally got the box mailed. To store for groceries. To church with father to donate a big batch of stuff. Got our printer working on Wi-Fi, the two Windows PCs updated, and niece's Chromebook able to print to our printer.
2021-09-10 (Friday)Did my e-visa to enter Turkey; cost $51.50. More stuff to storage unit. Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-09-11 (Saturday)Sister went back to South, so now we are 4 in the apartment.
2021-09-12 (Sunday)Dora out to work 8-8.
2021-09-13 (Monday)Niece started school. Dora out to work 3-10. I felt tired and headachey much of the day.
2021-09-14 (Tuesday)Dora out to work 3-10.
2021-09-16 (Thursday)Out after 10, metro to "old" apartment. Dora did some cleaning, and at 12:15 a lawyer arrived to take possession. He agreed to give us half a month's break on the rent (we were supposed to give 2 month's notice, only gave 1), which is good. Done and metro and home by 1:30.
Packing for our trip, printing documents, getting boarding passes, etc.
Trip to Istanbul:
2021-09-17 (Friday)Up at 7. Out at 8 to wait for taxi, but there had been some confusion about pickup time. Back inside to wait, and it came at 8:30.
Long, winding trip to airport. At the front door, they checked our boarding passes, but no COVID check or temperature-scan or anything. To ticket desk, where there was a moderate line. Airport seems about half or less of usual traffic. Showed boarding passes, vaccination certificates, passports, entry forms, and a visa (for me). All in order.
Seems most bathrooms are closed here; the staff is on strike ? Short line at Security. Bathrooms closed in main area too. Through passport control and to gate area, and found a working bathroom.
We're about an hour early. Cafe breakfast for Dora, at a high price. Loafed. Into short line and onto airplane, which seems maybe 40% full.
Uneventful flight, with a decent meal served. A pain to have to wear masks for 3 hours straight, except when eating. Even then they announced that we and the person next to us should take turns going maskless to eat ! Glimpses of islands and Italy and maybe Macedonia and Croatia ? Finally the Black Sea, and Turkey.
Landed at Istanbul "new" airport. Lots of extra baggage-trucks and fuel trucks parked in rows; looks like this place is running at 1/3 normal capacity. Long walk in from the gate.
Stopped at an ATM, but it wants to charge a 10% fee ! Long walk to baggage claim, our bags were soon there, out through "nothing to declare". Pic.
Tried an ATM at BBVA bank, and first it said 7% fee, then it said 5% fee, and that's what it charged. Should be reimbursed by my bank anyway, but maybe they have a limit, I don't know.
No Tourist Info here, apparently, and didn't see anywhere to buy a transit card. Down to -2 level, bought Havaist bus tickets (cheap), long walk to the pickup point. Bus arrived in 10 minutes, and everyone pushed to get on. Finally we and our luggage were on.
About a 50-minute drive, first on highways, then on twisty city streets, to Taksim Square stop. Got our luggage and started hauling it to the apartment.
Not too much trouble finding the apartment, but it's down a steep rough old street, and handling the luggage required care. Into the building, and greeted by two cats. I'm up to 4th floor to get keys, then hauled our luggage up one flight to apartment on 1st floor. In before 7. With time-zone change, a 9.5-hour trip door-to-door.
Everything fine with apartment except can't get the TV to work, and there's a sill on the bathroom door that tries to break my toes.
Out after 8, to find food and supplies. Only pretty small corner grocery stores around here. The sidewalks are tricky, a mixture of steps and slopes and entranceways, with stone obstacles built in every 10 feet or so along the curb to keep cars from parking on the sidewalk. And very frequent taxi and scooter traffic, even on twisty hilly back-streets. Lots of up-hill, and we got a lot of exercise going about 6 blocks in a loop. One bigger-looking shop on my map turned out not to exist, or maybe we were on the wrong street. Lots of cats out, and Dora is a little shy of cats.
Finally went into one tiny store and loaded up on groceries. Took them home, then out to corner fruit shop to get fruit and veg. Prices are reasonable, but no luck finding paper towels or sweetener. Some English spoken, mostly by the younger people.
Home, and a shower made me feel like a new man. Bottled water and a sandwich. Later had a lovely nectarine.
At midnight, Zoom call with family in USA.
2021-09-18 (Saturday)Slept late, person didn't show up to fix TV, didn't get out until after noon.
Up to Taksim Square. Supposed to be Tourist info in the Civic Center building, but the building is fenced off and someone says it's the Opera House. Into Metro, into line at Information office, but we asked and found we can't buy a transit card there. And I tried the machines, most of which said they didn't sell cards, and most of which weren't working properly to take cash. Got some info about shops to buy a card.
Up to the square and off to the shops. First one had no cards, got directions that helped us find a shop that did. I expected TRY 13 for each card, but the guy charged TRY 35 each, and said they were charged already. Later figured out they probably had TRY 10 in each, so we were a bit overcharged. Just glad to get the cards.
Back to Metro information office, where they connected our COVID-tracking codes to the cards. I thought we were going to be given a QR code, but we weren't. Got Metro maps, but no city maps.
Onto the F1 funicular, and down to sea level at Kabatas. Onto T1 tram, and surprisingly long ride across to the old town. Got out at Blue Mosque.
Nearest mosque seemed to not be open. Down and found Sultanahmet (Blue) mosque. Slow line to get in. Dora covered up with a head-scarf. Halfway in, we all had to take off our shoes.
Then inside, and I'm very disappointed. Small area, and only part of the ceiling tiled, not very impressive. Pics. After a while, went outside, and saw that much of the mosque seems to be fenced off for renovation, and information billboards show a much nicer mosque than what we saw.
Sat and drank water and rested. It's hot today, and we're out in the heart of it. Pic.
Down to Hagia Sofia mosque, and this one is much more impressive. Pics.
Out, and down a few blocks, and into La Safran restaurant for a pretty delicious meal. Nice. Pic.
Walked down the tram line, window-shopping, to Sirkeci station. Supposed to be a Tourist Info here, too, but couldn't find it until after 5, and it's closed, maybe because of the time or maybe permanently.
Sat in a park across from the station, watching ferry-boat traffic and rush-hour car-traffic.
Onto tram, to Kabatas, up the funicular, looked at a monument in the square, and then home by 6:30 or so. Tired and headachey. No one has fixed the TV situation.
Water, showers, then crashed. My headache is getting worse. Decided not to go out for a late-night walk.
2021-09-19 (Sunday)Dora wants to do some cosmetic (hair-follicle) "medical tourism". So we're out around 10:30, metro, ride to end of M2 at Yenikapi, connect to M1B and ride to end of it at Kirazli Bagcilar. Asked for directions, but we were right on track, short walk to the hospital, which is named "Medical Hospital".
In, consultation, haggling over price, signed lots of forms. Paid a down payment in cash, Dora had a blood test, and we're out.
Long crowded metro ride, home by 3. Online, transferred the rest of the money for the procedure, not sure when it will get there.
Out around 8. Pleasant weather, feels cool but still humid. Walked down Istiklal Caddesi, a famous pedestrian street. Throngs of people, and I wonder what it's like at the height of a non-COVID tourist season. Lots of shops to go into or window-shop, lots of people to see. Pics.
Got down to Sishane and chose a cafe to eat dinner. It was very disappointing, either the waiter got our orders wrong or what they were making just didn't match the menu. He said "same food in different appearance", but no, it was just wrong. Fortunately the whole bill came to only 82 TRY, about €8. A cat hung around our table most of the time, hoping for handouts. Pics.
Walked back up the street, seeing various street-performers. Into a bakery, and had lovely cakes and cookies. Pic.
Back up to Taksim Square, loitered for a little while, hit a couple of shops for supplies and food, and home after 11.
2021-09-20 (Monday)Slept a bit late, then no information on the medical schedule. Dora didn't want to go out in the heat of the day. So we're just relaxing.
Around 2:30, some clarity. The medical procedure will happen tomorrow, which is good news. It still will blast a hole in our vacation, but at least we have a schedule now.
Service guy came after 6, and was able to get the TV working. I don't know what buttons he pushed on the remote, and the buttons all are in Turkish, and he didn't speak English. But it works now. Also showed him water dripping from the water-line to the toilet, but I think he indicated that is someone else's problem to fix.
Out after 7. Walked through Taksim Square park, and streets to N and W. Pic. Eventually into Taksim mosque, where the women had to go upstairs while the men go into the main floor. Nice mosque, though. Pics.
Down Istiklal Caddesi, to a restaurant we'd seen yesterday. Turned out to be cafeteria-style, so the food wasn't hot enough, but it was tasty. Pic.
Walked some more, sat in the square, home around 10.
2021-09-21 (Tuesday)Up at 6:15. Picked up by hospital shuttle at 7. Spent all day at hospital, all went well. Shuttle home, arrived at 5:30.
At 7:30, I'm out to three of the corner stores. Weather has cooled nicely, but I'm too tired to go for a real walk tonight.
2021-09-22 (Wednesday)Dora feeling okay, but she can't do much for a few days, has to rest in certain positions, can't get a lot of sun exposure. It's pretty cool and grey outside anyway. I went out a couple of times, to fetch Indian food for dinner, and later to a store.
2021-09-23 (Thursday)Back to hospital for bandages-off and various follow-ups. Picked up at 1:30, dropped back off at 7:15.
I wanted to go fetch Turkish food, but Dora wanted the same Indian (lamb biryani) she had last night, so I went back to same Indian restaurant again.
2021-09-24 (Friday)Dora still in some discomfort/pain. And apparently we have another medical appointment today, maybe somewhere closer this time. I'm out to stores for food etc. Did laundry.
Found out the medical appointment today wasn't about her hair, it was for some additional cosmetic surgery. And it wasn't close by. Got her to cancel it.
In the evening, out with Dora. Walked downhill to the Bosporus waterfront. A bit disoriented, but went the right direction, toward Galata. Into a coffee shop. More walking. Onto the bridge across to old town. Walked about 3/4 across and then back. Pics. Into a cafe. Into Metro, which dumped us at Sisphane, in middle of Istiklal street. I think we could have taken another metro segment to Taksim, but instead we walked up the street and did some shopping. Got takeout at a kebab shop and took it home.
2021-09-25 (Saturday)Out after 11. Walked down to waterfront tram, took it to Gulhane. Hit an ATM. Into Topkapi Palace area. Moderate line to buy tickets, and I bought 5-day 13-museum passes.
Into the palace, and it's a nice mix of outdoor arcades and gardens, and indoor pavilions and museum-type displays etc. Pics. But some parts were closed for renovation, and we didn't see anything I would call "amazing".
Out, down, across street to Le Saffran, the restaurant we ate at several days ago. I had a nice lamb stew; the rest of the meal was just okay.
Back across the street and to the Archaeology Museums, a complex of three museums and various outdoor areas. Pics.
Out and around to Gulhane Park, which was very pleasant. Pics.
Out and to tram stop. Tram to near home, and long climb uphill, stopping at a phone shop for Dora to get various things. Home after 7, tired.
2021-09-26 (Sunday)Dora wanted to get going early, before the hot sun started. But she had pain, and the sun was out anyway. So we rested.
Out around 11:30. Walked down to tram, and took it to Eminonu stop. To a ferry building, and took the ferry to Uskadar on the Asian side. I think Dora had the impression that prices would be cheaper over there, and it was an older part of the city. Neither turned out to be true, but we had a nice time. Nice ride across the Bosphorus, and I finally saw some large commercial ships on it, three ships in a row escorted by the pilot boat, heading south.
Into a nice mosque across from Uskadar ferry dock. Then wandered the streets, did some fruitless shopping. Eventually into a place for dinner. Dora had sheepshead and foot soup, which was good. A salad dish she ordered turned out to be mostly yogurt, so I split my dinner with her. All in all, it was pretty good.
Down and into another mosque, just long enough to see it before the call to prayers started and we got out.
Onto ferry back to Eminonu. We wanted to take another ferry right back out, but had some trouble finding the dock, it didn't match the map. Got onto ferry to Kadikoy on the Asian side. Longer ride, and again a more modern place than Dora expected. But lots of people, some nice pedestrian streets, and some benches to sit on in various places. Then I bought some ice cream, and enjoyed that while we sat in a lovely little plaza surrounding a nice tree.
Wandered some more, then down to ferry dock and onto ferry. This time we got off at Karakoy, a little closer to home. Tram and then uphill climb. Home before 8:30, tired.
I didn't take so many pictures today, but then Dora contributed some: Pics.
2021-09-27 (Monday)Out at 9:45, down to tram, to ferry docks at Eminonu. Onto a Bosphorus-cruise ferry. Big boat, maybe 5-10% full. We did see a fair number of commercial cargo ships, and some big net- fishing boats. Made about 5 stops up the strait, then getting to the end after about an hour and 45 minutes. We were disappointed that the end was a town still on the Bosphorus, not on the Black Sea. There still was one enormous highway bridge between us and the sea.
Off the boat, and many passengers went to do the one thing near this town: climb up to the ruins of the old castle above town. We made the climb, and there are great views from the top.
Back down to town by 2, and into a restaurant. Nice fish dinner, although one side-dish that Dora picked at random turned out to be cheese and nuts and lots of spice, very dense and heavy. She took one bite and rejected it; I ate about 20% of it before dinner came.
Out of the restaurant and onto the ferry, and rode back to Eminonu. Lots of commercial cargo ships. At the last second I figured out we could get off one stop early, but then Dora needed a bathroom break, just as the gangplank was down for 30 seconds at the stop. So we rode to the end. Pics of the cruise.
Onto the tram, and got off at Tophane, and tried to get to the modern art museum. We got lost in a tangle of construction zones, people gave us conflicting directions, eventually someone told us it was closed for construction. Then we found a sign saying it's at a new temporary location.
Walked along the tram line to where we had to turn uphill for home, and we sat in a cafe instead. Nice slice of cheesecake. Pics.
Up the hill, and home by 6. Sweaty and tired.
Out again before 9. Up to Taksim Square, then across and retraced our steps of a few days ago, to find a particular shop. Found it, but didn't buy anything. Back across the square and down Istiklal Caddesi, and looked in a couple of clothing shops. In one big store, Mango, they checked our temperatures as we entered; first time that's happened here.
Back towards home, and had a late dinner in a kebab place. Stopped in a couple of corner stores near our apartment and bought food. Same people working in the corner stores at 11:15 at night; are these people working 14-hour days ? I couldn't do it.
2021-09-28 (Tuesday)Out at 10:30 or so. Down to tram line, and walked along it to Kabatas, then into the Dolmabahce Palace. Expensive but a huge place, and we wore ourselves out walking through the main part, then the painting museum, then the harem part. Lovely furnishings, and some of the art in the museum was very nice. But guards yelling a "no photos inside" policy everywhere. Pics.
A long day in the palace and on the palace grounds, and our feet were tired and aching. Out, and headed for the funicular. Dora slightly twisted her ankle on a rough sidewalk, and we stopped at a cafe for refreshments.
Into funicular, up to Taksim Square, and down to a shop we'd been looking for. In there for a while.
Back up and over to our street and down. My right knee is aching, and the steps downward are painful. Home after 5.
Was planning to go out again later, but my legs just are not up to it. Stay at home and rest.
2021-09-29 (Wednesday)Out at 10:30 or so. To a store for a while, then to Tourist Info. Then funicular down to tram and to the Grand Bazaar.
After a little window-shopping, Dora went into a jewelry shop, where after pleasantries and a cup of Turkish coffee and much looking at rings, we came out lighter by €1300 or so and Dora had a smile and two new rings, one an emerald surrounded by tiny diamonds, and the other a small diamond. She kept pushing them for discounts, they kept groaning and cutting the prices. I'm sure they came away with a 60% profit margin and made some of the discount back on exchange rates. But Dora is happy. Pics.
Bought some trinkets, then out of the bazaar (a persistent street-vendor got Dora to buy some perfume) and down to Hagia Irini, which turned out not to be a museum, but just a shell of an old building. Pics.
Some rain. Down through Gulhane Park to the science and technology musuem, which I found boring but Dora liked. Pics. Out, and now it's wet (my shoes are slippery on the sidewalks) and turned cold.
Down toward the waterfront, and found a place for lunch. The food was okay, not great, it's sort of a Turkish pizza place. The decor was nice. Pics.
Now Dora wants to take a ferry to Princes' Islands, but that's 90-110 minutes each way, add waiting and couple of hours on an island, you're talking 6-7 hours roundtrip. I'm tired and not dressed warmly enough.
We go to the Eminonu ferry dock, gather some info, eventually onto tram and funicular and home by 5:15. Tired. My right knee needs rest.
2021-09-30 (Thursday)Out at 10:15 or so. Down to tram, took it one stop to Kabatas, waited for 10:50 ferry to Uskadar. There, dashed onto a bus and soon were at Beylerbeyi Palace.
In, and the gardens are nice, and we can see little fishing-boats working on a school of fish just offshore. Into the palace, and it's nice, but there are very few visitors, so we always have some guard or another watching us, so little opportunity to sneak any photos. But I got one, and Dora got more. Pics.
Out, more pictures in the garden, then dash onto another bus. Back to ferry dock. Dora has some trouble getting her card to work. But onto a ferry back to Kabatas.
Up the funicular, over to a shop where we'd ordered something, and it was ready. Paid, then back to funicular and back to Kabatas.
Onto 2 PM ferry to Princes' Islands. A long, relaxing trip, stopping at Kadikoy and then 3 smaller islands before getting to Adalar on the big island, where we got off.
A nice island, motorized vehicles mostly not allowed. Weather cool and windy. We took an electric-mini-bus circle tour of the island, which was fun. Some shopping. Dinner. Pics.
After dinner, weather cold and windy. Onto 6:30 ferry, and home before 8:45.
2021-10-01 (Friday)Up after 8. Out after 9:45. Pushing the suitcases up the hill was an effort, and we rested several times, but it wasn't the huge ordeal I'd feared. I picked the smoother of the two streets, and it wasn't bad.
Onto 10:30 bus, and to airport. Lots of checkpoints (security, ticketing, COVID, Immigration, potentially Customs) all day, and you never knew which combination of documents they were going to want to see. But we had everything correct, no problems. Passports, Spanish national IDs, vaccination proofs, entry forms, tickets. Dora had trouble at passport control leaving Istanbul because the hair-procedure has changed her appearance, and she looks different from her passport photo.
Uneventful flight. Slow traffic in Barcelona, took bus to Placa Espanya and then taxi. Apparently the trains are on strike.
Home around 9, Istanbul time. Tired. Dora showed off her new hair/appearance to niece and son.
So, we had a good time in Istanbul, but spent a lot more money than I expected. And our feet and legs are aching from all the walking and standing and climbing hills.
Some "culture" things I noticed in Istanbul: Cigarette packs have pictures of the awful diseases you can get from smoking. On TV, any views of alcohol or smoking are blurred out. On the streets, full spectrum of women's dressing styles, from totally-covered-Muslim to show-lots-of-skin-Western.
2021-10-02 (Saturday)Niece is sick, as she was last night when we arrived.
In the afternoon, news that niece's Romanian grandfather has died.
2021-10-03 (Sunday)Money flying out of my wallet, to pharmacy, to son, for food, to Dora. Poof, empty !
In early evening, Dora's son out to airport to go back to medical school in Slovakia.
2021-10-04 (Monday)Raining, and niece is staying home sick from school.
Dora took niece and father to health clinic. Test says niece does not have COVID. They're home for dinner, then Dora and niece back out to doctor.
In the evening, Dora watching her usual telenovellas on Spanish TV. We always knew that they were made in Turkey. But now we're recognizing places in Istanbul that we've been to, as they are used for scenes in the show. Pretty funny.
2021-10-05 (Tuesday)Out for a long round of tiring visits to health clinic, Correos in ECI, a couple of banks. But did confirm that the charges from stores in Turkey were done correctly.
I have a cold that's getting worse. Sneezing etc.
2021-10-06 (Wednesday)Lying in bed feeling miserable this morning. When Dora got home from some errands, she started pumping me full of medicine: cough syrup, something for sneezing, anti-biotic, warm milk, then I made coffee.
2021-10-07 (Thursday)Still feeling lousy, mainly coughing and headache. And now Dora has a cough and headache and a bit of sore throat.
So we're off to the health center for COVID rapid tests. Results are negative. Examination, prescriptions, out, to farmacia, home.
2021-10-08 (Friday)Feeling better in morning, but worse again in afternoon. In evening, Dora's sister arrived from south. In late evening, Zoom call with my family in USA.
2021-10-09 (Saturday)Sister and niece off to Valencia. I thought they had taken Dora's father with them too, but then I saw him sitting out on the balcony ! He had decided not to go.
2021-10-10 (Sunday)Installed Linux Manjaro 21 Xfce on my laptop.
2021-10-11 (Monday)In the evening, niece and sister back from Valencia. And the apartment is a mess as Dora is packing to go to Peru.
2021-10-12 (Tuesday)Dora off to airport to fly to Peru. Nasty surprise at airport: she had to get a last-minute PCR test, despite having proof of vaccination.
Sister flew back to South, so now we are 3 in the apartment.
2021-10-13 (Wednesday)1:30 AM, message from Dora that she landed okay in Lima.
2021-10-16 (Saturday)Up at 7:30, to metro to take niece to gymnastics class 9-11. I walked around the area until class was finished. Street art: pics.
2021-10-21 (Thursday)In the evening, escorted niece out to hair salon to have her hair done.
2021-10-22 (Friday)In early AM, message that Dora is on the plane coming back from Peru.
Dora home at 7:15 in the evening. Niece out at 7:45 to a school party. At 8:15, Dora decides we have to dash out and send money via Western Union. We go out, but of course we're half an hour late, they closed at 8:30 and we got there at 9. Home, then out again to try another place, sign said they're open until 10, but they were closed at 9:30.
Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.
Niece home at midnight-thirty. She's hungry, they just had nibbles at the party. We're going to skip the early-morning gymnastics class.
2021-10-23 (Saturday)Out and did Western Union, home, out to health center and then farmacia.
2021-10-25 (Monday)Dora out to a class. Then at 10:30, father and I out to his medical appointment, which was the blind leading the blind. His hearing is terrible, and my Spanish is terrible. Waited in the wrong place, eventually saw the doctor or nurse, had his test, told to wait more. I had to go home to meet the niece coming home from school.
Dora's class turned out to be an all-day class.
2021-10-26 (Tuesday)Dora out to class again. In afternoon, niece stayed home sick from school. Dora arrived home in evening, and she's sick too.
2021-10-27 (Wednesday)Dora out to class again, and sick again. Met her at medical clinic in the middle of the day.
2021-10-28 (Thursday)Dora out all day and home at 9:15. I didn't realize her class was running all week.
2021-10-29 (Friday)Dora out all day. She's home at 9:30, with her sister from the South.
Soon out with Dora, to go pick up other sister at train station. Got two blocks from the apartment and the skies opened up and it POURED rain. I went back and got umbrellas. But still by the time we got to the metro, we were soaked up to the knees.
Got to train station at good time, they'd probably been waiting 5-10 minutes. Waited 15 minutes or so for the taxi we'd called. Long ride through rain, and one wrong turn, but home by 11:30. Relieved to find out that I don't have to get up at 7:30 to take niece to gymnastics class: no class on this holiday weekend.
2021-10-30 (Saturday)Raining steadily until midday.
Out after 4 with 7 of us going to a memorial mass for Dora's mother. But instead of being at the church 3 blocks away, it's at a church in the center-city, off Las Ramblas. We take the metro, then Dora isn't sure where we're going. I guide us to the church we've been to before, she goes past it, then we end up at the convent/chapel we've been to before. I had asked her if this was where we were going, I knew where it was.
Then it turns out we're there for a rosary plus mass, and we're stuck in there for 2 solid hours. Then afterward the sales pitches as they're trying to get us to buy knick-knacks for huge prices. Dora's sister spends a lot of money on nonsense.
Finally out, and then a bathroom stop at a cafe. Then I think we're heading home, but no, into another cafe. We crowd around a table, it's noisy, I don't want to be here. At least the prices aren't as bad as I expected.
Eventually out, over to Las Ramblas, and SNAFU. Dora and sisters apparently off to a "meeting" of some kind, father and I have to take the 7-year-old twins home. Metro or taxi ? Then one sister isn't feeling well. A taxi is called and takes a while to arrive. Sister and father and kids into taxi and off to home. I head to the Metro. Dora and sister off to somewhere else.
I get home around 9:45.
2021-10-31 (Sunday)Seven of us out around noon, and out all afternoon. Took the metro to Drassanes near the harbor, and came up in the middle of a food-fair on Las Ramblas. To the harbor, watched fish and seagulls for a little while, then across the bridge and into Mare Magnum shopping center. Nice views, then into a Moroccan/Lebanese/generalMiddleEastern restaurant for a big meal. Pics.
Out and wandered for a bit, as the kids played on various things. Eventually up to Barceloneta metro and home, tired.
In the evening, getting into costumes and wanting to go out, but niece taking forever to do makeup on one of Dora's sisters.
Online, changed the return train tickets from tomorrow to Tuesday.
Halloween spoiled by a fight between niece and Dora. Dora and I out to look for a party up by the govt complex, but it turned out to be an indoor rock-party for 20-somethings.
2021-11-01 (Monday)One sister back to South.
In afternoon, to park across the street with the kids, for ping-pong and playground etc.
Everyone out in early evening with the kids, to another playground, then to a bakery/cafe.
2021-11-02 (Tuesday)Sister and kids back to North.
In late afternoon, up to govt complex to get a flu shot. They couldn't tell me what brand/type, just that it was for flu.
2021-11-03 (Wednesday)Dora out all day at various things. In evening, I took father out to get flu vaccination and COVID booster shot. They said the flu vaccine used is "Flucetra". Maybe they said/meant "Flucelvax Tetra" or "Fluarix Tetra" ? Probably the latter. And that's the same one I bought for Dora at the pharmacy yesterday.
2021-11-04 (Thursday)Dora was out for another day of medical appointments, but cut them short and came home feeling sick and tired.
2021-11-05 (Friday)Weather colder; turned the heat for the first time. Dora out much of the day. Zoom call in the late evening, but I was an hour late for it; apparently Spain changed time on Oct 31 without me noticing.
2021-11-06 (Saturday)All 4 of us up at 7:30 and out before 8:30, to take niece to gymnastics. I don't know why Dora dragged an extra 2 people out for this.
Heater not working; will have to call technician. I think it didn't work for very long yesterday, when I first turned it on.
2021-11-07 (Sunday)Dora and I out from 12-4, spending a couple of hours in the big art museum MNAC on Montjuic. Some running-race going on today, ending on the street below the museum.
2021-11-10 (Wednesday)Heater technician was supposed to come tomorrow morning to fix the heater, but now word comes that he's sick, so he'll come on Monday. Fortunately it's not very cold yet, just cold enough to be uncomfortable.
2021-11-12 (Friday)In the evening, out with Dora and niece to the big shopping mall Macquinista. Niece got her 2nd COVID vaccination, then we bought sporting-goods stuff, then to a cafe.
2021-11-13 (Saturday)Up at 7:15 to take niece to gymnastics. But her arm is hurting from the vaccination, she doesn't want to go.
2021-11-14 (Sunday)Dora went to Madrid, without telling me, for a class and to pick something up. Apparently she'll be back tomorrow.
2021-11-15 (Monday)Heater technician came after 9, and immediately ran into problem that we don't have keys to the roof. I don't know if Dora has them, or son has them, or what. Tried four sets of keys from Dora's drawer. Tried knocking on doors of four neighbors, no one home. Technician left 9:45.
2021-11-16 (Tuesday)Dora home at 7:30 AM. Turns out much of what she did in Madrid was trying to straighten out her papers in the medical bureaucracy.
Dora out most of the day, and home at 9:30, tired and half-sick. After some food, she was falling asleep.
2021-11-17 (Wednesday)At noon, the usual emergency from Dora. She has tickets to fly tomorrow, but needs to change them at the last minute. Every alternative I check is bad. And she needs to be at two places at same time at 1. Meanwhile she's spent the morning here when she should have gone to one office. I'm not going to use my money to buy her a new, expensive ticket that she'll probably discard.
So of course she did none of it, stayed home all afternoon.
In evening, I'm out to buy groceries, and supplies for making pies. Then Dora and I are out. We saw a big recycling bin on fire, lots of people standing around, police and firefighters arriving. I went to a shop to have keys duplicated. Then to fruit shop to buy a ton of fruit and veg. Apparently Dora is going to bake pies, then go to the main hospital after midnight.
We (mostly Dora) started cooking at 11:30, interrupted by a long phone call, pies into oven at 1:45.
3 AM, I'm going to bed, Dora is looking online at fares to get to Jerez.
2021-11-18 (Thursday)Dora didn't buy tickets. She wants me to buy them. Train and BlaBlaCar have nothing. I'm not going to do plane tickets.
2021-11-19 (Friday)Dora mad at me all morning, out all afternoon, then home and napping. Then at 7:30, she says she's going to that conference (after missing her flight today). So a mad scramble. I buy a bus ticket to Madrid for her, on her credit card, and she's into a taxi after 8, to catch an 8:45 bus. In Madrid she'll try to catch another bus, then eventually a train.
Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.
Messages from Dora in the early AM, her trip is going well.
2021-11-20 (Saturday)Up at 7:15, niece to gymnastics class after 9. Wandered and found a sports center that was interesting, and a shopping mall that had bathrooms, and sat by the waterfront for a while. Picked niece up at 11, and back home.
2021-11-21 (Sunday)Dora about to fly back here from South, and the usual emergencies. I do the boarding pass for her, but then she wants to add baggage, and none of the payment methods she gives me work. Wrong numbers, get that fixed, then they're sending SMS to her primary phone of three phones (!), but that phone has no battery power left. Second phone has storage full and won't do anything. Third phone doesn't have WhatsApp. Eventually I pay for her baggage using my PayPal.
Dora home after 6.
Turns out all 3 of her phones are full of photos and videos. Total they have about 75 GB used out of 80 GB maximum. And she says none of it can be deleted, only moved to a backup hard disk. So I start doing that. Having trouble dealing with a folder on one phone that has 9300 images in it, get an error when I try to open it.
2021-11-22 (Monday)Heater technician arrived at 2, had heater working in a few minutes (some circuit-breaker flipped in the box on the roof ?), spent another 10 minutes making sure it worked.
Moved images from Dora's third phone, by moving them to a temp folder on the phone, 500 at a time.
2021-11-23 (Tuesday)Dora out in mid-morning, home in later afternoon. She's tired and falling asleep, she stayed up night last night. But later she revives and bakes a pie.
Got €400 out of the ATM last night, and it's all gone. €200 deposit for niece's trip to Ireland, €113 for stationery/filing supplies for Dora, €45 to lottery tickets niece has to sell for her school, a couple of trips to grocery stores. Poof !
2021-11-24 (Wednesday)Dora intended to get up at 7, but got up at 9, and the morning was a frenzy after that.
Out with Dora at 11 or so. Spent 6 hours shuttling around various medical offices. Cafe and three taxis. Then to niece's school to pay deposit for her Ireland trip. I got home at 5:30 or so; Dora home at 9. She went to a beauty parlor and had her hair cut shorter and radically restyled [but she fooled me; really she just bundled her hair up under a wig].
Dora finished mixing a huge batch of cake-batter that she started yesterday, and we baked 3 cakes.
2021-11-25 (Thursday)At 4:30, messages from Dora, she's in an emergency room with a lot of pain of various kinds, and high blood pressure. So I gather clothing she wants and take H6 bus to the CIMA hospital. She's feeling better and out by 8. We end up having a light dinner in an Indian restaurant. Taxi and home by 10.
2021-11-26 (Friday)Out at 1:45 with Dora, terrible timing, everything about to close. Managed to do the bank, and that was it.
Out in the evening. To farmacia, to EL Corte Ingles for several hours, farmacia again, home at 9:30.
2021-11-27 (Saturday)Dora missed picking up niece at gymnastics class. And she's trying to arrange a sudden trip to Peru.
2021-11-28 (Sunday)At night, online, paid for AirBNB in Lima. And got suckered into reserving my second-choice apartment: didn't realize AirBNB had saved my PayPal information previously, and it auto-paid before I was ready to commit.
Apparently son's medical school in Slovakia has shut down because of COVID. He'll arrive here tomorrow, and classes will be done online. He's supposed to graduate this year.
2021-11-29 (Monday)A big crazy session of errands with Dora and father from 11-1, and then a few more errands in the evening. Trip starting to get straightened out. Main thing is to get an emergency replacement passport for father.
Son arrived from Slovakia.
2021-11-30 (Tuesday)Out from 11-5 or so with Dora, getting new ID documents for her father, then doing paperwork in hospital. I was hauling all the papers, and by the end of the day they had accumulated to a heavy burden. I went home, and apparently Dora went to a hairdresser.
In evening, much recording of new ID docs, filing forms for travel to Peru, printing everything. Dora really tired, but she's going to stay up packing, catch a taxi at 2, and sleep in the airport and on the plane.
I got Dora to sleep from 10:40 to midnight, then she was up and packing. I stayed in bed and ignored every plea to join the madness. Taxi arrived at 2. I hauled suitcases down at 2:45, and finally they were in and gone at 3.
Messages later, all well at airport.
2021-12-01 (Wednesday)Living room is a disaster-area after last night's packing.
2021-12-02 (Thursday)Finally at 11:30, messages from Dora, but they're old messages. I think she just got Wi-Fi somewhere. She should have been in the apartment around 3 AM. But then she responds to my messages in real-time, and they're okay.
No more news during the day. Sister arrived from the south in the evening. And soon found father's old passport in his room, so the whole scramble to get a new passport was unnecessary.
2021-12-03 (Friday)Had a late-night Zoom call with my family in USA.
2021-12-04 (Saturday)Up at 7:30 to take niece to 9 AM gymnastics class. Street art: pic.
Sister getting all the Christmas decorations out of storage and decorating the apartment; nice. Pic.
2021-12-05 (Sunday)Decorated the Christmas tree. Pic.
2021-12-06 (Monday)In the evening, metro to center to walk around and see the lights. Lots of people. Lines to get into the crepe and gelato shops, and the LEGO store. Nice French horn player in Placa Angels, playing classics such as the Blue Danube. Pics.
2021-12-07 (Tuesday)SNAFU: Dora on her trip and all kinds of things are going wrong with housing and her health. And now she wants me to join her there, she's in a hospital. After agonizing, I bought a plane ticket.
I think I slept about 3 hours total during the night.
Trip to Lima:
2021-12-08 (Wednesday)Sister back to South.
I'm out at 12:45. To ATM, to metro, to Clot, train to airport, free bus to other terminal. Confirm that I need a PCR test (for the airline, not for Peru, I think). Find the testing area, and turns out the process requires a working smartphone and internet and email and QR-code reader app and credit/debit card (€95), but I have all of those. I'm there at 2:30, it says earliest appointment is 3:40, but they wave me in. Done by 3 or so,have to wait less than an hour for the result (negative) in email.
To check-in, no problems, through Security, and now I'm about 4 hours early for my flight. I left the extra time because I wasn't about PCR test process and lines etc.
Long wait in the main area, finally get a gate assigned, go there, hundreds of people in line. Why bother ? I sit down. And then the plane is more than an hour late. I only have an hour and 55 to connect in Madrid.
Finally we're on, take off, 90-minute flight to Madrid. I put my jacket in my checked luggage, and now I regret it as we stand in an open doorway in cold windy weather and wait for a second round of buses to arrive to unload the airplane. Finally into terminal, we hustle a long way to get to other gates, and run into outbound passport check. Moderately long line there, but it moves okay. Hustle to my gate after that, onto the plane, then we sit for another 30 minutes as stragglers and luggage get on board.
2021-12-09 (Thursday)Long (about 11 hours), tedious, crowded flight to Lima. I have a headache despite taking ibuprofen, I can't get a comfortable position to sleep, I alternate between dozing and watching action movies on the TV screen.
Finally land, probably half an hour late. Eventually get off the plane, through Immigration, hit ATM (but only get about $100, in Soles). Wait at wrong carousel (two flights from Madrid at same time) for 15 minutes, but it doesn't matter because after I switch to right carousel, have to wait another 30-45 minutes before my bag comes out.
Out of the terminal, and quickly found by the taxi driver who has been sent to pick me up. Some confusion, turns out he's the partner of the guy I was told to expect.
Eventually to the hotel room that Dora rented before she got sick. Have to get past an interrogation at Reception, then escorted up to make sure Dora's father knows me. In by 8:45 or so. Her father is glad to see me, he's been parked here for a couple of days with no company and little information.
Situation is complex and messy. This room is costing $50/night (and Wi-Fi is extra !). Dora has parked 4 huge suitcases, 4 smaller suitcases, and various bags etc in it. She doesn't trust leaving things at the family house. And although I rented an AirBNB for her, she and her father had several misadventures on the first night there and abandoned it, and I have to tread carefully if I want to go there. No way I can show up with 10 bags of luggage.
I call Dora, we arrange to see her this afternoon, but it turns out we're going to need a fresh PCR test EVERY DAY we want to go see her.
I shower, rest a little. Downstairs for some breakfast. Try to pay the whole 3-night room bill on my ATM card and it gets refused.
Out for a walk, mostly looking for an ATM. Eventually find some hidden downstairs in the nice shopping arcade (pics) across the street, but the machines let me get only about $175 on each ATM card I have. At that rate, it will take several days to pay the hotel bill. Back to the room before noon. Turns out the AC outlets are USA-style, and I didn't bring an adapter. Still no Wi-Fi.
Two relatives arrive unexpectedly around 1:45, and we chat with them. Then we're all out to a nearby restaurant, which turns out to be a longish walk away.
At the end of the meal, another family friend shows up, to escort us to a medical clinic and then Dora's hospital. But we decide that Dora is abusing his friendship a bit, and agree that father and I will go do the things on our own.
So we take a taxi to a supposedly-bad area (Churillos). It looks poor, but safe enough during the day. Plenty of confusion at the medical clinic, we're looking for a particular friend-of-a-friend to get a free PCR test, and the right corner of the building is hard to find. Eventually we find it, friend is a bit miffed that she was told 3 people but only 2 showed up, she says only 1 (me) can get the test, but then both father and I get it. The technician sticks those swabs deeper than in any other test I've had. The whole process takes about 2 hours, but we have our negative papers that we need to take to Dora's hospital to get in.
Two taxi-rides to where I thought the hospital was, but my quick internet search a week ago went badly wrong, and it's not there. To a cafe to get internet, then into a taxi, and a not-long ride that is pretty grueling in rush-hour traffic.
More confusion at Dora's hospital, but eventually I'm in and there she is. Her heart scans and BP status are good news, her lung scans not good news. She's trying to get a lung fibroscopy scheduled.
All kinds of debate about where to move to from the hotel. Then I shuttle out and her father gets his turn to visit. Then I'm back in, and then she has a police visit about some complaints she's filing (not against the hospital). I have the last 15 minutes with her tonight, and tomorrow we're going to move to a friend's house/apartment. I get some cash from her, so I think I'll be able to pay the hotel bill after one more hit on the ATMs.
Walk, taxi with a fairly confusing driver, home after 10.
2021-12-10 (Friday)Out in the morning to find an ATM, but most are limited to getting only S400, about $100. So back to the ones I used yesterday, to get S700 on each card.
Quick breakfast, then at Reception to pay the bill. Had them call Dora and she talked their ears off for a while. I paid S2000 ($500) and Dora's card paid the rest, and I think maybe she got some discount, I'm not sure.
Long wait for a porter, then down to street with 10+ suitcases and bags. Into a van-taxi, and not-long ride to a friend of Dora's. Taxi price fairly steep at S70 ($18), but we had lots of suitcases and boxes and bags, and us two passengers.
Up to friend's apartment on 12th floor, and they were very welcoming. Into a bedroom for us and our stuff, and it's nice. Wi-Fi, too.
A nice lunch. Dora's friend speaks English well, and I'm getting a bit more confident with my Spanish.
To farmacia, then taxi to hospital, and seeing Dora by 4 or so. The heart and BP news continues to be good, she's getting a referral for pneumology specialist appointment, and after that who knows ? She wants to go to USA to have a lung biopsy procedure. I want her to stop spending money and go back to Spain. She thought someone had emptied her bank accounts, but we went through the list of recent transactions on her two main accounts, and the person doing that has been her. More good news: they have found better medicines for her pharynx-cough issue and maybe for the BP issues. A lot of this is starting to look like a version of "long COVID". We think she did have COVID briefly in Feb 2020, but the sample that was taken was lost somehow.
My mobile phone doesn't have cell service now, and many of my accounts insist on sending SMS to confirm transactions. Finally got one account that confirmed via WhatsApp, which does work since I have Wi-Fi.
Back home before 7. I want to take a "rest day" tomorrow, but we'll see.
2021-12-11 (Saturday)A glimmer of hope that Dora would leave the hospital this morning, but then scans could not be found in Barcelona, and then she's mad that here they've written less-useful things as her reasons for going to emergency here. And she wants me to send money to workers on her house here, and I won't do that, so she's mad at me too.
Finally before 3, just as we were about to have lunch, Dora sent a message that I could go pick her up from the hospital. So into a taxi, to hospital, waited while she showered, eventually out and into a taxi, and home by 4 or so.
She's still a bit paranoid, in my opinion. She needs a good night's sleep. I'm trying to nudge her in the right directions on several things, but she's going to do as she wishes, as usual. And of course her main phone, upon which all her accounts depend and where she gets lots of traffic, has no charge on the battery.
Got her to read the AirBNB messages and cancel that apartment. Other shoe has yet to drop: a possible bill for supposed damages (somehow simply stopping an elevator door from closing broke it).
Using tools, I bypassed two padlocks on suitcases to get them open; we still can't find the keys. Third suitcase is a tougher case; probably have to saw through the lock.
2021-12-12 (Sunday)A military memorial ceremony in Parque Reducto down below our apartment. Apparently they do it every Sunday. Pics.
Dora seems fine today, she slept well, she has better pills for BP.
But we were supposed to travel to see family, or go to police station, and instead Dora spent all afternoon photocopying documents. Later it turned out the key family members hadn't arrived yet.
Out at 6 or so, into taxi, to national police station. Where Dora immediately found she'd forgotten to bring the key documents. Back home, and father and I waited in the lobby for almost an hour as she searched upstairs. She came down, into taxi, and now we're going to the Marriott restaurant to meet family members.
They're late, but eventually they arrive around 8:30. Tearful reunion between Dora's father and one of his brothers. Later another group of family arrives, and now we are 10 people. Lots of talk, some group photos, the restaurant is closing, finally we start moving toward the exit. Dora has disappeared to the bathroom a couple of times, delaying everything.
We eventually make it down to the street level, where Dora wants to talk more with certain family members. We want to leave, we keep getting delayed by her, light rain outside. One group of family finally leaves in their truck, then Dora disappears back into the hotel, leaving the rest of us waiting for a long time. I convince the others to leave in their car. Father and I wait inside. It's 11 o'clock, we want to get home.
Finally Dora re-appears, into a taxi, but we're going to the police station again. We get there, father and I wait, first standing in a hallway, then sitting in a waiting room. At the far end of the hallway I could see guys (all aged 20-35 or so) in handcuffs being processed.
Eventually father and Dora go in to have a simple medical test, finally they're out. We leave the station and find a parked taxi a couple of blocks away with the driver napping inside. In, and home by 1:15, exhausted. And Dora informs me she has to be at another office at 8 AM.
2021-12-13 (Monday)Dora out around 8:45. I have to take father to another PCR test so he can fly out of here on Wednesday. But when I went to take his DNI out of my wallet, I found that Dora had given me hers instead, by accident. Probably not a problem for us today, but maybe a problem for her.
Out at 10:30 with father. Taxi down to Churillos, and to the medical clinic. A little trouble getting understood, but the way has been greased, they did the paperwork mostly by copying that from Thursday's visit here. To farmacia to buy gloves for them, visited by Dora's friend who works here and arranged all this, and father got his PCR test. Results to come in WhatsApp in a day or two.
Took a while to catch a taxi to come back, and the driver was an older guy who didn't quite understand us and didn't have mobile navigation. He also tended to take both lanes on the roads. I thought we'd do some circles before arriving, but he delivered us right to home, first shot. Home by 12:45. No sign of Dora, and my messages have not been getting through to any of her three phones.
Quiet afternoon, but I'm worried about Dora and how tired she must be. She's finally home at 6:30. She did police, property lawyer, more.
2021-12-14 (Tuesday)Up at 7:15, unwillingly. We're supposed to be at the Surco house at 8:30. So of course it's 9 before Dora gets out the door. Delay while calling a taxi, but then traffic is light, we're there before 9:30. Father and I are into empty first floor apartment, Dora gets back in the taxi and goes off to police, I think. Workers are on third floor building it.
In this apartment, we have some chairs, a table, electricity, running water, bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and that's about it. My computer connects to the Wi-Fi but my phone won't; I think only the 5 GHz Wi-Fi is working. Can't get into the router admin to check there. Soon out to a local shop for a few supplies: toilet paper, paper towels, soda, water. Water on the floor of one bathroom, but we don't have a mop, or a tool to open the drain plug in the floor.
Soon the internet connection went down. But hours later when I tried, it was up again.
Family member who has been managing the house arrived, unexpectedly to me. And I had a lot of trouble communicating with him.
Dora arrived around 1:30, in a flurry, with a taxi waiting. She soon was heading out again. Gave me a lift 3-4 blocks to a restaurant and dropped me off. I bought food for 3 and took it back to the house, where father and I and other guy ate it.
Just as we were finished at 2:45, guys arrived to change the locks, I think skipping 2nd floor. The building front outer door involved some grinding and then welding. And apparently she has told them to do all the interior doors on this floor too, and there are about 7 with keyed locks ! So about 10 locks total.
Never could get the Wi-Fi working to my phone, which is a real pain, no WhatsApp. We need to make a major decision about who might be flying tomorrow, and I don't know what if anything Dora is doing about it. I expect we're about to waste some tickets.
6:30, no Dora, and the lock guys are finished and want to be paid. Get Dora on the phone, and she's stuck in a doctor's office on the other side of town. She has the money, but can't get here. I pay them S600 of S841 owed.
Then Dora tells me and her father and the friend to wait for her, but she won't be here for maybe 3 hours (airport first), and then she'll be going to police to bring them to the apartment. So we're going to be here to midnight or more.
Almost 1 AM and still no Dora. Finally at 1 she calls, police won't come tonight. Around 1:15 she arrives in a taxi, we all pile in, stop at a couple of ATMs to get cash, home by 1:45. Takes a while to wake up our friends inside to let us in.
In the airport, KLM office was closed, she was told travel agent has to change tickets for her. But in Spain, agent is saying he can't or won't do it.
2021-12-15 (Wednesday)I had hoped to sleep in this morning, and let Dora go let the workers into the Surco house at 8:30. But when I woke her at 7, she was barely awake, sat sleeping on the toilet for 20 minutes. Her eyes are closing every time she stops moving.
So I shepherd her out the door after 8, and we taxi down to the house and let the workers in. Then right back into the taxi and up to a series of errands.
Meanwhile the clock is ticking down, probably past time, to do anything to salvage the return tickets of Dora and father; their flight leaves at 1:55 today. Didn't get out of last errand until 1:20 or so. I tell Dora I've had enough, I'm going home with or without her. So taxi to home, with Dora alternating between laughing that I'm not tough enough to do doctor's shifts, and falling asleep in mid-sentence. At least I'm staying awake, I'm just tired and anxious and hungry. Return flight tickets for Dora and father are toast. I flew one-way, I don't have a return ticket yet.
Food, shower, nap. Dora's eyes trying to close as she was eating.
In the evening, Dora has pain all over her back, feet, hands. But she wants to go out to do another errands. After a brief discussion, we agree it's madness, we'll do it tomorrow morning. Soon she's fallen asleep on the sofa.
Story has changed: We had hoped to send father back to Spain today by himself, but that's risky, two connections and he's deaf and not so alert. Yesterday he had said he didn't want to go by himself. Now apparently he's saying "why didn't you let me go home today ?" Too late now.
2021-12-16 (Thursday)Slept well, but woke anxious, as I have been most days here. This trip is stressful. Dora gives me some kind of herbal-vitamin thing to calm me down, but it doesn't work.
Dora printing papers instead of getting showered and dressed. My anxiety increases, we growl at each other. Finally out and taxi down to Surco house, 15 minutes late, but ... no workers. A huge pile of sand in front of the house, so they're still building the third floor / roof (but that turns out to be for the house next door). Cement on ceiling in first floor has been done, now drying. Workers show up before 9.
Turns out that the relative who managed the house for Dora changed the Wi-Fi 2.4 network name and router admin password and maybe 2.4 network password. Which is why I couldn't use anything but the Wi-Fi 5 network (and only my computer supports that, not my phone). But the new passwords I get from him through Dora don't work, probably something has to be capitalized or something. Turns out he only approximately remembers what he changed them to. And contacting the internet provider is complicated.
Every way I try to make progress is blocked. We can't get into the second floor, or change the lock on the door there, until the police have done something. We have dirty clothes, but the washing machine in on the second floor. Dora wants me to buy a washing machine for the first floor, but I'm not going to do that. Guess we'll take them back to the friend we're staying with. Dora doesn't want to finish paying the locksmiths until they come back and do two small padlocks.
Finally I guessed the capitalization on the Wi-Fi 2.4 network password. Still can't log in to the router admin.
Around 11:30, out with Dora. Walked to main road, got into a moto-taxi. To bank with ATMs, but then Dora decided she wanted a special national bank where she can change address on her DNI, so over to that. Long line outside the bank, so we skipped that operation and just used the ATM, but limited to S400 on each card. Then walked a few blocks to another bank to change billing on house utilities. Then through an outdoor mercado to the Suspiro Bridge, then to a cafe for drinks and a snack. We're in Barranco, a fancy/tourist district. Our cafe is old and nice, but on the other side of the building is a row of Starbucks / KFC / Papa John's / Dunkin, etc.
But we had to cut it a little short, and taxi back home to pay the locksmith. Also Dora's father needs to be fed, and so do we. I pay another S620 to the locksmith, to settle the rest of the bill from two days ago, and today's bill.
Into a moto-taxi and to the local mercado. Couldn't find the cafe Dora wanted, but we ate at a tiny place and the food was traditional and okay. Then we waited for 30+ minutes while Dora bought a SIM to get cell and internet service here in Peru; she says her other one is blocked somehow, can't do outgoing calls.
Then walked up to the circle and tried to find a Western Union. No luck, then into a taxi and to WU in Barranco, but they don't have the amount of cash we need.
Another taxi up to Miraflores to the main WU. Got the money from Spain, parked father on bench, and walked 2-3 blocks to a branch of Dora's bank. There was a line to get in, eventually Dora went in, I waited outside. Eventually she came out, and said the worker's company gave her the number of the wrong kind of bank account, it can't be transferred-to, she'll have to get the right number tomorrow morning. Into farmacia, I waited again. [Here, we are very close to friend's apartment where we have been sleeping. But they're out all day today doing various stuff, we can't go there yet.]
Eventually out, walked 2-3 blocks to where father is supposed to be, and he's not there. But he appeared in a few minutes. Into a taxi and to the Surco house after 7.
After a while, walked out to the main road and got a taxi. Home to friend's apartment around 9.
We have a simple but very nice meal. They introduce me to some Peruvian fruit that they all like but I don't.
10:15 and we're not going out again tonight.
2021-12-17 (Friday)Woke anxious again. Tried to stay in bed, and did stay in bed until about 9, when suddenly informed that the electricity people are coming to the Surco house in one hour. So up, quick shower, breakfast while Dora does her shower etc. But it sounds like half the time she's in there, she's on the phone.
Down to Surco house an hour late for the electricity people, no one there. Dumped a load of stuff, back into taxi, to bank in Barranco for a long session. To cafe for bathroom and drinks and a snack.
Errands all afternoon and into the evening. Home before 9.
2021-12-18 (Saturday)We're supposed to go out at 2 AM for an important errand, so I wake up at 1:30 and get Dora up. But then she doesn't get out the door until 3:30 AM. Taxi to center, around and around, our information was bad. Back toward home by 5, but then we're past it before I realize what's happening. Dora says we're going somewhere else, but eventually it turns out she wants to just sightsee in the taxi until an office opens at 8. I make them drop me off at home around 6. I've had more than enough of this. She's home by 6:30 or so, she gave up on that idea.
Slept as long as I could, until 11. Breakfast, then later lunch.
Then friend arrived in her car and took Dora and me to a beach (stopping along the way to pick up the dog from the vet/haircutter). It had to be the worst beach in Lima, all rocks, and in Chorillos. But we went into a restaurant, and had some pretty great ceviche. Place was too loud, with music and with big table next to us shouting with laughter. But we had a good time.
Around 8:30, into a taxi with 4 large suitcases and one smaller one, plus Dora and me, to the house to dump them there. Hit an ATM on the way back, home by 10.
Out at 11 or so with Dora to walk down to the ATM of her bank to make a deposit.
2021-12-19 (Sunday)Out around noon. To the Metropolitano (express bus) stop nearby. Rode the line all the way to the north end, about 45 minutes. I had a seat in the first row, great view. Lots of Lima, some of it very hardscrabble.
Off the bus, Dora talking to some woman, father off to find bathroom and then had trouble getting back in without a ticket. But we rejoined Dora and then across street to a mercado. She took half an hour to buy several things.
Then into a taxi and 15+ minutes further north. At one point the wire holding the muffler on failed and the driver had to get out and fix it.
Eventually to a gated complex of apartment towers, and to Dora's friend's apartment. This complex is an oasis, with a pretty nice set of playgrounds and sports areas inside, and a bunch of small stores etc.
Her friend is married with two children, and the youngest is a 2-year-old boy who is cute and full of energy. We had a nice visit, a meal, I showed them old family pictures on my computer.
Eventually out, taxi back to the bus, packed bus (but we had seats) to home by 8:30 or so.
Tried to figure out tomorrow's schedule, and hoped to sleep late. But at the last minute Dora remembered the locksmith is coming at 10, so I have to get up at 8.
2021-12-20 (Monday)Instead of sleeping until 6, Dora was up since about 2:30. Then at 6:30 comes the word that the workers are coming at 8:30, not later as I hoped.
Dora out after 7:30. Father and I out after 7:45 with the remaining luggage. Taxi to Surco by 8:35, stopping at an ATM along the way. Let the workers in. Shifted all the suitcases etc to the 2nd floor. Soon word came that the locksmith is sick, won't come today.
No sign of the concrete truck which was supposed to arrive at 2, so around 2:30 I left with friend in his car, to go to the big bulk-package store a few blocks away. Took longer than I hoped. Coming back at 3, we're following a concrete truck into our neighborhood. Turns out to the be the second of two. We get to the house, and one concrete truck plus the hose-truck are set up and pouring concrete to form the third-story roof. Dora still in the center of Lima somewhere, and she'll be furious that I wasn't here and we didn't do some house-christening ceremony. I ferry groceries from car to 2nd floor. Then a local traffic-cop shows up and says something about not having a permit. I leave our two local friends to talk with him. But the pouring continues. I take pictures.
Dora arrives before 3:30, as they're about 4/5 done, and of course she's mad at me. Apparently I was supposed to buy 8 panettones, not 1 (and I thought she and/or friend were buying panettone, I bought one sort of casually). They're supposed to be gifts to the workers ? Flowers were supposed to be put into the concrete ? A bottle of sparkling wine, brought by the friend, was supposed to be smashed ? I'd rather drink it.
Soon Dora is dealing with the cop, and the concrete trucks are leaving. Then she and I get into a moto-taxi and charge off to buy a ton of cheap panetons and chocolates and soda and some chicken. Back home, and we go up to the third floor, which is a forest of timbers holding up the new roof, and a friend smashes the bottle of champagne. Pics. Back down and have a small party with a couple of friends and a couple of workers and a neighbor-lady, eating some really nice roast chicken. Eventually the worker-boss leaves with all the panetons and chocolates.
We continue a small party, while a couple of us also sweep and mop to keep spilled concrete from solidifying on a couple of tile floors.
Finally at 6:30 we move upstairs, and find that we don't have a key to unlock the master bedroom.
After groceries, cop, party food, more, my wallet is empty, zero.
2021-12-21 (Tuesday)Got 10 hours of sleep, from 10-8. Locksmith arrived around 9:30. Workers up to third floor to water the concrete and do stuff. Dora doing tons of laundry, and then the washing machine stopped working.
Locksmith did stuff for a couple of hours. We had lunch. Sounds like we're going to be here for another 10 days, waiting for the concrete work to finish. Dora crashed for a nap. Woke up saying she'd slept through an appointment somewhere.
Then at 7:20 she remembered a doctor's appointment she was supposed to go to at 7, far away.
Out with Dora around 8:45. Walked out to main road and caught a moto-taxi to Barranco. I felt better after hitting ATM and getting cash in my wallet again. We wandered a bit, ended up at a couple of food-carts in a small park, had some food. Home after 10:15.
At 3, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Felt terrible for a while. Dora gave me about 12 pills. Finally got stable and back to sleep.
2021-12-22 (Wednesday)Stayed in bed until 3:30 or so in the afternoon. Tired and headachey and still a little GI distress.
Dora out at 4:30 or so, to do a bunch of errands, including all the way up into the central district of Lima. I'm still feeling unwell enough to beg off going with her.
Shower, ibuprofen, eat a little food. Still feeling rocky.
Dora home at 8:45.
2021-12-23 (Thursday)Dora wakes me at 6:45 to have breakfast, we have to go. I eat and then go back to bed. By 9:30 she still isn't ready to go. Garbage guys come, we hustle to get garbage out to them, I'm too slow to get a heavy bag of construction rubble down to them, they're gone.
Out with Dora at 10 or so. She's mad that I'm not going to WU and bank with her, but I thought the point was I had to be here for the locksmiths. She drops me off at the bank at the circle. I get cash on my two cards and walk home, by 10:30.
Locksmith guy didn't arrive until 3:30. Done in 35 minutes or so, and I paid S510 for past and today's work.
Dora finally home at 8:15.
2021-12-24 (Friday)SNAFU. Taxi coming at 7:30, it's 7:15 and I can't get Dora to get in the shower. Instead she's cleaning etc. She's invited guests over for Christmas dinner, into this disaster of a house.
Into taxi by 8:15. Up to Western Union, and of course it doesn't open until 9:30. Other bank, WU, other bank, bathroom stop, other bank, the morning is gone. Sitting in a bank around 12:30, I find out a friend of Dora's has arrived at the house, for an appointment with her. But we're heading the other direction.
A long, frustrating, wasted several hours. Both of us are running on fumes, we haven't had much to eat or drink today. To the express bus, with a maddening stop at a copy-shop for a while. Bus, walk, moto-taxi, home at 4. I'm toast. A friend is here.
Feel better after drinking water, shower, food.
Out again at 6:30 or so. Moto-taxi to the circle, walked a couple of blocks to laundry, dropped off dirty clothes to be washed. Then a long walk to a Plaza Vea super-store. Where Dora filled a shopping cart with stuff for tonight and the rest of the week. We bought a whole cooked turkey, 50% discount. She tried for some other discounts too, it took us a while to check out. Into taxi and home by 8.
Evening didn't develop like I expected. Dora did a cosmetic medical treatment on her friend all evening. No one else arrived, except a neighbor lady delivered a plate of food as a gift.
Friend left after midnight, I think. I wanted to go to bed, Dora wanted to start Christmas festivities. Set the table put on music, nice clothes, etc. Eventually we ate the food brought by the neighbor lady.
I went to bed around 2:45, Dora fell asleep at the table. Later I tried to get her to come to bed, I forget whether she ever did.
2021-12-25 (Saturday)Merry Christmas, and the house water has stopped working. The account is being transferred from someone else's name to Dora's, and I guess something has gone wrong. But later I found a valve downstairs had been turned off, when Dora was trying to get water on the first floor. So now all is well with the water.
Dora spent much of the late afternoon and early evening doing laundry by hand. I strung wires to dry the laundry, and helped her with about 5% of the rinsing. Put up new lightbulbs in the entranceway.
At 9:30, out to buy groceries in the neighborhood. Lovely slightly-cool evening. Two of four small grocery stores open, probably until 11.
Before midnight, finally ate some of the turkey, and some ice cream.
2021-12-26 (Sunday)Dora up early, and I slept very late. Then in afternoon, I was up and she crashed hard. Later we had some dinner. In early evening, took in some dry laundry and hung out the remaining wet laundry to dry.
Then in the evening, Dora tells me the construction worker says they have to water the concrete for 25 days, not 10. And 7 have passed so far. So we're stuck here for another 18+ days ?
Out at 9 with Dora to the bulk-goods store a few blocks away. And SNAFU. She's buying 5x as much stuff as I expected, and we didn't bring any bags. I have to stop her from buying a rice-cooker. We get to check-out, I agree to go home to fetch bags, and stick her with most of the bill. I hustle home and back, and find Dora has loaded everything into a moto-taxi instead. I turn around and go back home. They arrive a little ahead of me.
2021-12-27 (Monday)Dora out in the morning, and I slept very late.
In late afternoon, Dora's father is upset and wanting to go back to Spain. But I'm stuck: he can't travel alone, but I can't leave Dora alone here. She won't leave until the workers are done; she won't give them a key to the building front door, even though the 1st and 2nd floor apartments still would be locked by other keys.
Dora out all day, and at 5:45 she calls to say she's in beauty parlor and then going to some medical association meeting at 7.
I cooked some dinner for father and I, then Dora arrived at 6:45. But she was there just to dress, and back out before 7:30.
Got some free streaming TV channels through my laptop. Nice to see news from Spain, some football, etc. We have a TV here but it gets about 3 channels, and badly.
Father is crying again, later found out he thought Dora was sick at Emergency again.
Dora home at 11.
2021-12-28 (Tuesday)Out around 1 with Dora. Moto-taxi to mercado, taxi to notary, did ATM, to another notary, to a registro place, taxi home before 5.
Dora made a nice dinner. Then out with her at 7. Moto-taxi to laundry place, another back to bulk-goods store. Used ATM there. Bought a lot of heavy stuff, took a taxi the 3-4 blocks home.
Online, doing some financial transactions, but we're limited to accounts that don't use SMS for confirmation, since we don't have international service on our phones, apparently. Also found that a sorely-needed tax refund has shown up in one of Dora's accounts, so she's not in net-negative territory any more.
Around 10, we go downstairs in search of the chargers and wires for Dora's phones (she has 5 now). And in her laptop bag that we've been carting around all day, we find a shattered raw egg that has leaked on some things. I can't imagine why she put it in there in the first place. But little damage done.
2021-12-29 (Wednesday)Dora and father out around 11; I slept very late. They were back at 3, long enough for Dora to drop off some purchases and her father and then get back in the moto-taxi and go.
Dora home around 8:30. We hand-rinsed some laundry and put it out to dry.
2021-12-30 (Thursday)Dora out around 11:30; I slept very late.
No Wi-Fi, and it turns out there is no electricity at all on the first floor, where the router is. I see a big switch in a box in the entranceway is turned off, but I don't know if that is for first floor or something else, and I'm not going to mess with it.
Long day with no Dora. She didn't get home until 11:45.
She says her father did something in the garage to make the electricity downstairs fail, and now she'll have to get an electrician, he doesn't know what he did.
2021-12-31 (Friday)Dora gave me a Peruvian phone which has internet service, so I set it up to provide a Wi-Fi hot-spot for my other devices. But the connection is very slow.
Dora got a worker from next door to look at the electricity (no joy yet) and water the concrete (since the other worker seems not to be doing it often enough). She and her father left around 10:40; worker finished watering concrete and left around 11. He came back around 2:15 to water it again, or more.
Taxi driver appeared at 2, saying Dora didn't pay him for 3 hours of service the other day. He left a note.
After worker left before 3, I went out to the bulk-goods store. Hit ATM x2, bought stuff, home by 3:30. To find worker had left something on our roof, he had to dash up and get it.
At 5, did a Zoom call with most of my family in USA. I could see and hear them okay, but any time I tried to send even audio, my connection got bad and often failed.
Father arrived before 6:30, in a taxi for which I had to pay S60 (probably overcharged).
Dora arrived around 8:15, says we're going out to a party at 10.
Typical of this place: I try to unplug some Christmas lights, and the plug disintegrates in my hand, leaves a prong exposed and stuck in the socket, gives me a slight shock. I think the whole place needs to have the outlets and more replaced.
Dora made me wear yellow underwear, some sort of New Year's tradition. Picked up around 11 and taken to a party in Chorillos. I thought it was a friend of Dora's, but it turned out to be a raft of relatives. I would have taken my laptop full of family photos if I'd known that. Nice people, originally from the Ayacucho area of Peru. Nice food, about 6 kinds of liquor, saw lots of fireworks at midnight. No English spoken, but I communicated with some people via my basic Spanish. We thought there was a curfew until 4, but that turned out to be wrong. Called a taxi and got home about 5 minutes before 4.
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