"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.
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After 15 years of trying to explain to the Guardia Civil that my English License was valid in Spain, even though I was a resident, and knowing I ought to CANJEAR the PERMISO for a Spanish one, I have....at long last begun the process of exchange.
5 years ago, traffico, gave me a small sheet of white paper that I was to carry with me everywhere and that would serve to justify to Guardia Civil agents why I am still using my English License. It never satisfied anyone, least of all the traffic police.
Still, I persisted but since the ID cards have been withdrawn, Ive found myself, like many people, without a useful and vaild ID here in Spain.
So reluctantly, last week I took myself off for the medical, the eye test and the mechanical steering test, and this week Ive been down to TRAFFICO in Granada to hand in the documentation.
Obviously things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped.
Read more tomorrow.
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