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 "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. 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.
Walked some more, sat in the square, home around 10.