Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Happy Halloween! Merchants are trying to make a big deal out of Halloween here in Spain and a number of bars and restaurants are offering Halloween themed events and menus, but, the truth of the matter is, it is celebration that is mostly ignored by the Spaniards. Tomorrow, November 1st, is a holiday in Spain because it is All Saints Day. Many people will travel to the towns of their birth to visit the local cemetery where a parent or grandparent is buried. All stores and offices will be closed. Some bars and restaurants will be open, while others will not.
Yesterday morning we decided that we would go to the Oficina de Extranjería to pick up the document that authorizes us to live in Spain as temporary residents for the next two years. Since Inma was cleaning the house, we decided to have breakfast at a nearby café and then he took a cab to our destination. When we arrived there was no line, so we walked in and told the gentleman who was doing check-in that Juan Luis had contacted us saying that our document was ready. A few minutes later his secretary came out and gave us our documents and another form that we needed to fill out. It turns out that we needed to pay an additional 18 Euros to have our visa application approved and validated by the Ministry of the Exterior. We thanked the secretary and headed out in search of a bank where we could pay our fees.
We must have walked a good fifteen to twenty minutes before we found a bank. However, find one we did and we paid the fees and got the necessary stamps that confirmed that we had paid our fees. Our intent was to then go to Patraix where the process will be finished. We will give the document and our photos to one of the employees there and he will take our thumbprint and tell us to return in 45 days to pick up our new visa. However, when we read the document over carefully, it said that we could not hand in said document until November 17 or later when our initial visa expires. So it looks like we will be taking another trip in a taxi to finish the third step in the process and we will have to wait until 2013 to have our new visa in hand.
Since we were going out in the evening we decided to have lunch at home. We had a salad along with some tuna salad and a glass of wine. After lunch we occupied ourselves doing whatever we felt like doing. Brian came by a little before 8:30 and the three of us walked to El Molinón where we were going to meet Yun and Jim. They had already arrived when we walked in and Quique had them set a bigger table for us.
It fell to me to order for the table and that was very easy task. I simply ordered what I consider to be the best dishes on the menu and I asked Quique to suggest a wine and his suggestion was the house red, which is a very nice Rioja. One by one the dishes cane to the table – pulpo a la gallega, jamón serrano, queso manchego, buñuelos de bacalao, mejillones al vapor, albóndigas and solomillo. We also ordered three different desserts for all of us to share. We enjoyed a slice of tarta de Santiago, flan de café and a milhojas filled with pastry cream. We also got to sample a variety of chupitos – Ronmiel, Pacharán. Mistela and Orujo de Hierbas.
Our conversation was very animated and we discussed a number of topics, including the upcoming elections. Yun and Jim are heading off to Madrid for five days and from there they head off to Switzerland. I had already suggested to Jim some of the places that he might want to check out in Madrid and last night I suggested a few more. We left the restaurant a little after 11:00 and when we go to the Plaza de la Merced, where Yun and Jim’s apartment is located, we all went our separate ways.