Archive | June, 2015

Dental work in Spain – Do I dare?

Posted on 11 June 2015 by American expat!


I need to get some chipped teeth fixed.

I ask for recommendations and receive a few.

I make an appointment with one that seems good.

The receptionist looks like she brushes her teeth with tobacco.

The dentist is about 30 and has a rotten front tooth.

This is someone who is supposed to make my teeth look perfect.

I hightail it out of there just as soon as the dentist leaves the room.

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Caught in a summer storm

Posted on 09 June 2015 by American expat!


This time last year I got caught in a sudden summer storm. I left my office and was just reaching for a Bicing (shared city bike) around 9:00PM when the fat drops started to fall hard and fast. Within 30 seconds, the ground was completely wet as I made a run for shelter below the balcony of a nearby building.

I thought I’d wait out the storm as puddles formed and be-sandled tourists ducked into door openings, shoes, feet and legs soaked. But after 40 minutes without pause, there was no end in sight. I was hungry and wanted to get home.

The metro was a 6-7 min walk away, but the rain was coming down so hard that even a 10 second run would have soaked me and my backpack full of notebooks and papers all the way through. But I was tired of waiting and knew I had to make a move if I didn’t want to risk waiting for nearly another hour, so I planned a strategic route that would give me the most balcony and store front coverage.

It took a full 5 minutes to inch my way 100 yards to the coverage of a hotel entrance on the corner, which by then was packed with other rain avoiders. I jumped under the entrance overhang, after which more joined me: Parents with strollers covered with plastic sheets hiding bewildered children beneath; Visitors in sandals and shorts laughing in surprise at their unexpected soaking; Less pleased individuals in expensive clothing. I watched from my shelter as people ran with umbrella to taxis while others, who had given up fending off the rain, trudged stoically as water poured over them like they were showering in their clothes. A man on a bike, his hand guiding a second pilotless bike, rolled somberly down the street, his white shirt clinging to him.

It was then when an enterprising Pakistani man passed selling crappy folding umbrellas to any–and there were many–takers. But the price was right: I bought my freedom for four euros. The flimsy umbrella was just enough to protect my backpack and head as I made my way up the street to the metro.

My shoes and jeans from the thighs down were soaked four steps into the journey. The flimsy umbrella bent against the wind as I held it, shield like, into the headlong rain, one hand gripping the handle and the other holding the front down to keep it from blowing inside out, as umbrella are wont to do. I made it to the metro which was packed with non travelers waiting out the storm.

I took my train to my stop and exited. The rain was still coming down hard. On the corner of my building, a man and woman approached me to ask directions to a certain hotel. I knew this hotel well, as it alluded many a visitor, because the nearest metro stopped at a confusing junction of three streets, one of crosses the city diagonally. They weren’t too far, but this poor couple was going to get quite wet on their search for that hotel sans umbrella.

I pointed them the way and handed them my cheap umbrella as they thanked me again and again. Welcome to my city.

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