"It could take up to 3 months," we were told at the office in Granada last month when we finally got to hand over our British Licenses. "But, probably about a month," he added as we turned to leave.
"Sure, sure." I replied shaking my head at the enormous delay and time the simple exchange of documents had taken to date.
But today, I was proved wrong, as I have been proved wrong on so many occasions - for in my buzon this morning sat our Spanish Driving Permisos, and a nice polite letter from Traffico welcoming us to the greater community of Spanish Drivers.
After driving for over 15 years in this country on my increasingly tattered and battered British license, regularly bantering with Guardia Civil agents about the injustice of the exchange process and fighting to maintain my license as a resident in this country, I finally conceded the battle and submitted myself to the novel and rather amusing demands of the Iberian System earlier in the year.
You can read about those times here and here.
What finally convinced me to succumb?
Simply the lack of any useful I.D as a resident in this country. Since the withdrawal of ID cards for EXTRANJEROS we have been at loss as to what to produce when asked for 'Documentacion" fumbling for either our passport or a British Driving License - of which neither carry my address or any useful contact information. A silly situation to be in really. So, I now have the official doc. Will it be of any use when next I have to pay a bill, produce ID, pay on a credit card, or get pulled over once more because the Dog is leaning too far out of the window?
Only time will tell.
Had a similar experience? Leave a comment or tweet me on Gazpachomonk.
Today we are celebrating the works of Washington Irving with the promotion of the free ebook and the free eposter.
Diplomat, writer, and traveller during the early 19th century, Irving became almost synonymous with Granada after his travels through the area and his infamously short stay in the Alhambra. It is now almost impossible to visit the palace without someone thrusting a copy of Tales of the Alhambra under your nose in any of a dozen different languages.
Yet 3 yrs earlier Irving had written another book on Granada, a book that traced the fall of the city to the Christian forces in 1492. This book - Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada is available free as an ebook and you can get a copy now.
It is available in Apple iBooks - if you have an iPad or iPhone - or if you go to the Gutenburg link below you can download a version in other formats, such as Mobi for the Kindle or PDF.
Follow this link to visit the wonderful Gutenberg site :
The above graphic is a Gazpachomonk Presentation and you can download the file at the link below (Washie Tells it as it is). This poster is free for you to use as you will: Phone background, tablet image, desktop image...or to simply download, print out and paste it up somewhere highly visible to amuse your neighbours.
This Irving Special is the First in the series of free books and posters to download each month. Don't want to miss a surprise release? Subscribe to the email updates over on the side of this page.
This classic poster was intended to recruit the revolutionary forces of the CNT (Confederacion Nacional de Trabajadores) and the FAI (Federacion Anarquista Iberica) in the republic of Catalunya during the Spanish Civil War.
Fontseré became an exile, first in France, then Mexico and finally the US. Finally he returned to Spain in 1973. He worked with Dali, he worked in Hollywood, and, without his consent, with the Gazpachomonk too.
"Al meu amic Carles Fontserè"
Today I'm starting a new series of posts about Phone apps that make life easier for people living or travelling abroad. As someone who is obsessional about mobile technology and driven to find ways of making life more simple, I thought I'd highlight a few of the most useful apps I use in the pursuit of elegance and efficiency in the 21st Century.
So today Im looking at Abbey Text Grabber.
This app is one of my favourites for the simple reason that its always on me and always available for those moments when I need to either record down some info, translate some info or OCR (Optical Character Recognition) some info.
Imagine for an example:
Im in a bar, browsing the daily edition of El Pais Newspaper and - for example - I come across an interesting small article on the Gazpachomonk. Well, with text Grabber I can take a photo of the text and then choose to do a number of very useful things: OCR the text and store it on my phone as a digital record (no longer a photo but editable text). Or, is this is where the travel and living abroad bit comes in, I can OCR, then translate it into another language in seconds, and store, email, post to FB, Twitter etc from within the App.
Imagine you are in a restaurant and boasting to your family, friends and visiting dignitaries how good your Spanish is, when someone asks you to translate a menu item that you have never seen before. You mumble a few words about not carrying your glasses, but no-one appears convinced as they know you wear contact lens. What to do?
Well, hold upo the menu high so no-one can see what you are doing, take out your phone and quickly OCR the word and translate it. Before you know it your street credibility and self image will have been restored.
Finally, you recive a worrying letter from Hacienda (Inland revenue) asking for details of your financial affairs from 7 years ago. Do you spend the next 3 hours flipping though the dictionary translating every impossible legal term or do you simply OCR the text and translate it into a language more familiar?
All this ease of living and peace of mind can be yours for just a euro or two.
Finally, I'll tell you how I use it. When reading a book and I come across a great quote, I used to have to type it into my phone or laptop to remember it or use it in an article or tweet. Now, I just OCR it. Wonderful.
Check out the great little video below to see the ease of use. You can find out more by visiting their web site here.
Why Orwell is essential to understanding Spain today. More here - Forgotten Stories From Spain
Find out More about the ebook and audio
Forgotten Stories From Spain Book HERE
AND WATCH THE TORTILLA VIDEO HERE