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Las Palmas, 05/30/2017

Landed last night from flight home from Mauritania, and spent the night packing up everything from the Las Palmas Guest House. Arranged for Juan to pick me up in his taxi Tuesday morning. I didn’t get much sleep. Kept dreaming about lack of closet space in new apartment and having to rent a storage unit!

Got to the apartment, my nightmares were just anxiety…. plenty of closet space, especially for someone like me who is a minimalist. I’m happy to report, I’m still as clumsy as ever. Tripped over my bedspread and landed on my knees. Good news is the bedroom is small enough I could use the bed to get back up. ?

Nayra (landlady) left me yogurt, strawberries and bottled water in the fridge. Did I mention you can’t drink the water in the Canary Islands? The water source is the sea and has such a high mineral content it can cause kidney problems. So, bottled water here and in Mauritania. In Mauritania, it is because they don’t have decent water processing facilities.

While I was starting to organize my kitchen, a cabinet door fell off the hinges. Luckily, I could grab it and nothing broke and no bruises. I’ll take this as a sign of good luck. Nayra and Carlos stopped by to make sure I was settling in OK and to inspect the door. The apartment is brand new and they will have their contractor come and fix all the cabinets.

My first night here we had the most beautiful sunset. I walked out to the boardwalk and waited around to take some decent pictures. There’s one in this chapter.

I think the universe continues to test if I still have a sense of humor. My payroll check is missing in action. Seems that the ACH number on a deposit slip is not the correct one for electronic transfers. I can’t remember the last time I did a bank deposit or wrote a check (other than for Montview rent). Meanwhile, bank doesn’t see the transaction failing and being rejected. Kinross says they didn’t get a rejected notice either but will resend it Monday 6/5. Live and learn.

My airfreight arrived Thursday, 6/1 and I spent the next day deciding where to put all of that…. still have extra closet space.

Some interesting observations here in Las Palmas on basic everyday things!

• Language – wow, a major surprise for me. I’ve worked all over the world and every place I’ve been folks speak English as their second language. Not here in the Canaries, I’m having quite a challenge with the language barrier but am determined to learn Spanish. I’m in their “home” and I need to adjust, they don’t have to adjust to my language. But I would have to say it would help when going to the bank or with taxi’s. Google Translate is my new favorite app! That and hand gestures. Ha Ha.
• Where do I throw my trash? In the Guest House, I put a bag outside the apartment door and it magically disappeared (building maintenance took it). I had to ask Nayra. There are large bins on the corners of many streets, all marked for types of recycling and general trash. They are used for anyone, so now I know I walk to the corner to get rid of my trash and can recycle.
• Families – wow, I’ve never seen so many dads with their kids playing. Family, including grandparents, is very important to everyone here and all you see is families together walking on the boardwalk, playing at the beach or at all public places. With no cars allowed at the boardwalk or park kids can run around and play like crazy. The Catholic school down the street uses the park for recess and the sound of all the kids running around sure beats the hell out of the traffic, fire trucks and police sirens of the city. In Mauritania, it is silent during the day and night when I’m home in my apartment, other than the call to prayers, which I enjoy hearing.
• Pets – in Mauritania dogs roam the streets, they just lay around in the heat! Here, loads of people bring their dogs to the beach and park. They all carry not just doggy poop bags, they carry spray bottles with soapy water in them. They spray where the dogs urinate, since it’s primarily concrete or brick. Cool that they are mostly responsible pet owners.
• Grocery stores – bring your own bags or they charge for their plastics (like California) and depending on the store they don’t bag for you and if you come in with full bags from another store you must pay to put them in a private locker.
• Restaurants – many have English menus as well as Spanish. The fun with that is the waiters/waitresses and I end up translating for each other. Finding a good latte is impossible, but I Googled it and found that here they use condensed milk in their coffees, which is sweet and gross. So, ordering a café le leche usually will get me espresso with steamed milk.

This coming week I will be working in our Las Palmas office, instead of flying back to Mauritania because I must fly to Los Angeles next weekend for my first of two meetings at the Spanish Consulate. After this meeting for my application, I will get a call within 30 days that it has been approved and I must fly back to Los Angeles again to pick it up. No agents and no mail can be used for this process.


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