Inauguration Day

After finding a permanent home in such short order, I had more time to go out exploring, both with and without the dogs. The mornings were usually clear, and then clouds would start forming on the slopes of Mount Teide around noon and continue through the afternoon, then disappear again after the sun set. But morning walks with the dogs usually had really good views. I started taking them more towards the south on the walks, so as to get them more used to the area we'd be moving soon. The area right near our soon-to-be home had really nice views of Teide (e.g., the top left photo below, just across Calle Retama to the north, and the top right photo below, just east on Calle Retama one block), so I hoped our place would have them as well. I checked out the area west of soon-to-be home, in western and southwestern La Paz, and it was very open with lots of sweeping views (panorama below), as well as a giant grocery store, Mercadona. There was a vet office that I kept walking by, so I kept a mental note of that. Thankfully, Lola wasn't getting any worse, and Avon was fine, so I didn't think I'd need a vet anytime soon.

I also leisurely started looking into what would be easiest in terms of banking. We didn't really want to open a Spanish account, and we could get cash no problem, but we wondered whether we'd be able to make the monthly rent payment in cash, or whether they'd require us to get an account. So we started digging into whether we could get a small local account that we could wire money into, whether something like TransferWise would make sense, or whether something else might be more appropriate.

Wednesday 20 January was Inauguration Day back in the US. It was a little weird to be celebrating Inauguration Day outside the US.  We’d been outside the US plenty of times, but never on an inauguration (at least not one we could remember).  Compared to most people looking forward to the inauguration, I had to wait “longer” since it wouldn’t start into the late afternoon or early evening.  So I needed to kill time until then.

In the morning I did some research on the language school near the Botanic Garden, FU International.  All of the reviews seemed pretty stellar, and it was less than a five minute walk from the place we were hoping to move, so it made a fair amount of sense to take some courses there in addition to what we were doing online.  In reading up on their various services and whatnot, I saw that they had a shuttle service they provided from the airport.  Since Crystal was slated to come in late on a Saturday night, it occurred to me that this might work out pretty well and be pretty straightforward for her.  I passed that along and let her think about it.  I was over 90% sure she’d be able to get a taxi, but wasn’t 100% certain because of the COVID curfew, which was at 11pm.  I assumed taxis were exempt, but again, not positive.

Later in the morning I went to the store to stock up for my TV watching.  I got some potato chips flavored like Jamon Iberico, some meat and cheese, and some cava.  None of the grocery stores had “champagne”, they all had cava, a dry sparkling white wine from Spain.  I’m guessing there’s a fair amount of competition amongst the European nations to use their local wines and whatnot, such as Cava vs Champagne vs Prosecco, etc.

The inauguration didn’t start until well after lunch.  I was already a bit tipsy by the time if started.  I have to admit, the room got a little dusty during the inauguration.  It was nice to see some degree of normalcy, not to mention decency, coming from Washington for once.  Although I was alone, I was communicating with lots of friends back in the US, sharing a lot of the freezing Bernie memes.  As the inauguration went on, I texted Crystal “every time I think I’ve almost emptied this champagne bottle, there is more.”  Crystal didn’t see this as much of a problem.  I needed some food, however, and went down the street after the inauguration ended to get some chicken wings.

Around 21:30 I asked Crystal to call our bank to see if I could get the ATM amount increased, as we needed a bunch of Euros for the closing that was scheduled for the next Monday, and we didn’t yet have a foreign bank account where I could just do an automated transfer.  She succeeded, and around 22:00 I walked down Calle Aceviño again, fairly tipsy, to take out a good chunk of cash.  In retrospect, not one of my better decisions, but the neighborhood seemed quite safe and not too many people were out in any event.  In fact, in my time so far in Puerto, nowhere seemed remotely unsafe to me. When I got back I told Crystal I’d taken care of it, she was happy to hear things worked out, then she asked “you’re not buying drugs, are you?”  I passed out about 10-15 minutes later.

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