win win win

16 07 2010

It’s not so often you can line up so many things in one day.

Smack on the stroke of midnight, Frankenbike was born. Auspicious timing, something I might have done deliberately especially if there was a storm brewing (maybe with the maniacal laugh playing in the background). But no, quite by accident as I snapped the chain on I glanced at my phone (would have been a watch if I owned one). Midnight. Poor Frankenbike. I had hoped for a better name, but this one seems to be sticking. Anyway, the chain is on, and I took him/her/it for a spin after midnight. Racks, Mudguards, lights, even a mirror – and a seat post finally. It’s all ready to go. Everything works! A few screws are still lose (suits the rider) waiting for me to find Loctite. Something that seems to just not exist here. There are a few things that need tidying up (including deciding what do do with the second handlebar and stem I have), but so far, so good, looks like everything is coming together as planned for a departure this weekend. I’m a bit concerned by the number of ‘spare parts’ I still have though.

extra bits for something

Today, I managed to get all the papers together that I need to prove that I am actually in Spain legally. My work permit was approved some time ago, but I didn’t have the paper with the stamp, and then there was the other paper (with the stamp), etc, etc. So in a frenzy of activity, I rode all over the city (on the city bike, Frankenbike isn’t ready to be left out alone just yet). Collected everything, got another stamp from the Police (after having to go back and get more photos, of a different size). In the end it wasn’t such a big deal, now I just have to wait for them to print my card and then go pick it up. This is better (as the lawyer said), because even though I wont be working here, I’ve no other document to say I’m here, as in, here in Europe, legally (the Passport doesn’t have any entrance stamps recently, and even if it did, I’m only allowed three months without this card – which would have expired some months ago). I was pretty happy, I had five hours to get everything together so I could leave this weekend – the police working day is, of course, 9-14, and I’d made it by 13:00. So the next question is: when will it be ready, when can I leave town? A month. No probl…
Wait. A month? To print a card? Guess I’ll have to come back for that (and hope no-one questions me in the meantime).

But wait, there’s more! Vaccination appointment today. They stuck me with needles from both sides. Apparently they like to hit you with a Polio vaccine over here. And I asked for the Rabies vaccine. And some others I needed. It’s obvious I can’t speak Spanish, but I thought it was going to be much worse when the Patient Information form was printed in Catalan. The Doctor spoke English, so I got what I needed (and some things I didn’t like several pages of tips and warnings, in Spanish and the Polio shot – but hey, it can’t hurt, right?). The nurse who injected me was patient, and repeated some things several times so I could work out what she was saying. After I had the injections, they asked me to wait outside. Ok. Then I was called back. This time, the person who called me (a young lass), said a number. Ok. Err, what would you like me to do with the number? So she wrote it down. Well, that didn’t help much, I knew what she’d said. Sometimes things take a few seconds with me, but I noticed the nurse standing behind me, and realised that they had talked about me and this girl was trying to help me by not saying too many things that might be confusing. But not saying anything doesn’t make it easy either! But I’m not completely stupid, that number was the cost of the visit. I needed a double take at the number before I asked if I could pay with my card. She said that was no problem, even for only just over 20 Euro. While she was doing that, with a beaming smile, I asked if that was the cost for everything. I got the universal one finger held up, “wait” (or maybe it was “Espera”, the finger was all that was necessary). My smile evaporated – this charge was just for the alcohol swipes or something. Then I got told that the second and third visits I needed would also have a charge (very helpfully, with minimal words and lots of pointing at the calendar, etc – it was very cute, especially since I’ve more than enough Spanish for a simple conversation like this). Of less than 10 Euro. Ridiculous. I’ve never had vaccinations that have been less than several hundred dollars (try it in Australia and see if you can get away with less than $30). My tax Euros at work.

But, the rabies vaccination needs to be given in a certain pattern, one today, one in a week, and one in a month. Great, so I can… wait. A month? Guess I’ll have to come back for that. A week? But I was going to be gone by Monday…

Hmmm, looks like coming back in a month is a definite, and it also looks like I’m going to have to be here in a week. I could go somewhere else for the second vaccine shot, but it took about 3 weeks to get this appointment, so I don’t like my chances (of rolling into a small town and trying to get a shot next Friday).

So it looks like I’m going to have a very slow start. Either way, I’m unemployed as of today (next week is the last of my annual leave), so the trip has now begun. And I’m already behind schedule. Lucky there isn’t much of a schedule.

I might wonder around Barcelona for a few days. See if I can’t buy something else that will weight me down further.


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3 responses

21 07 2010
Stu

Hi Steve,

Nail polish is a really good substitute for loctite, and should be avaliable. Lucky for you, as you can hide behind the language barrier, you should get away buying it without people looking sideways at you as a bloke buying nailpolish. Good luck.

Stu

21 07 2010
Steve

Great idea! Hang on, I’ll just grab some from my make-up ki… Oh…

No, I found what the Spanish use for Loctite and bought some of that. I’ll see how it goes, hopefully I can undo the bolts later. The confusing bit is they have “Loctite”, the brand, but only for a few types of super glue. So all of the hardware stores know about Loctite, but can’t understand the different grades (the thread lock grades) I’m asking for. Then I start asking for thread lock and it gets very confusing. It was far more confusing when I was looking for anti-seize at the same time (super glue, thread lock and anti-thread lock – what does this guy want?). The idea that you might want to stop threads binding is clearly a new one for many.

27 07 2010
Mum

Hey Stephen, is there something you aren’t telling me? Nailpolish???????
Makeup kit????????????????? Hope you find what you are after – it is too late for us to post some to you. Safe traveling.

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