Meeting our Spanish neighbors

Meeting our Spanish neighbors

After the big day of cleaning yesterday, which left me tuckered out and covered in mosquito bites (note to self: keep the screens closed as soon as dusk falls!), we spent this next day lounging around. In the afternoon there was some shouting and calling from the front of the house and when we went to see what was going on, we were happy to meet our neighbor and two of his friends. Our house is located in a row of four houses. From right to left, there is “The Spanish Lady’s House,” our house, “Juan’s house,” and “The British People’s House.” That’s how we’ve always referred to the different houses since we had never met any of the owners, but only heard who owned which house.

The man who came to visit was Bob (Yes! another “Bob!”) and he owns “The British People’s House.” He and his parents bought their house 15 years ago and had the house renovated. His parents had been living there since then, but now, because they are getting up in years, have returned to the UK. So Bob and his wife are going to do a little updating to the house and plan to use it as a holiday home.

He talked to us about “Juan’s House” which is really at this point just a ruin. The roof has fallen in and although Bob had offered to buy the place from Juan in the past, it doesn’t seem that Juan is too concerned about selling it, because after discussing one price, he proceeded to up the price to a ridiculous amount that he knew Bob wasn’t going to pay. Bob let us know that he had put in a denuncia (complaint) with the city hall, asking them to look in to the issue. We agreed that this was a good idea, because we have been wondering what will happen as the house next door gets in worse and worse shape.

Three houses in Arboleas, Spain

“One of these houses is not like the other…”
Juan’s House, Our Casa, & The Spanish Lady’s House

Bob said he was heading back to the city hall on Monday, and that we could tag along if we wanted. Maybe two neighbors having a concern over the ruin would be more effective than just one. We agreed and made plans to ride into town with him Monday after Curt got done cycling with his new buddies.

It was really nice to meet Bob and his two friends. Very nice people! We took the opportunity to ask them a few burning questions. One was: how to start the space heater? When we came to stay at the house in January, we nearly froze and couldn’t figure out how to start the space heater. It has a butane tank attached to it, and instructions and everything, and I felt like I was translating it all properly, but we still couldn’t get the thing to start! We got the lesson on how to operate it, so next time we are here in the winter, we should be toasty warm.


Ooops! We were supposed to flip that orange tab up to turn the gas on!

They also helped us out and showed us exactly how to change out the tanks. The gas stove uses a tank like this also and since we aren’t familiar with these at home, we wanted to find out all this important information before the tanks  became empty and we had to swap them out.

The other thing we had to find out about was who to call to empty the septic tank. Bob, not this Bob, but the other Bob — the last-owner-of-the-house-Bob — had left us a note to get the septic emptied every 10-12 weeks and to call “Diego.” He included a phone number and a handy list of phrases like: Puedes vaciar mi fosa septica?  and Cuando puedes venir? and Cuanto me cobras? Now, I am not 100% sure that is all grammatically correct, but even if it isn’t we really appreciated him leaving that information for us. The problem was that when we tried to reach Diego, we only got a voice mail and he never called us back.

Bob (this Bob, neighbor-Bob) told us that he really didn’t know about emptying the septic because his parents were the ones dealing with the house while they were there, but he said he would Skype them and ask.

We also asked him about where to access free wi-fi in Arboleas. He said that he wasn’t sure but that he had wi-fi and we could use it while we were staying here. How awesome! He said he’d be back with info about the septic and would give me the wi-fi password at that time. I am tickled pink to think that I can update my blog from the terrace!

While chatting with Bob, we heard more noises from the front of the house, and here was our other neighbor, The Spanish Lady! Turns out her name is Pepper and she was out for a walk with two children. Pepper and her husband Antonio live in a house somewhere in town and we had heard that Antonio was not keen on leaving the “in town” house because he liked to hang out with his buddies and play petanca. This is a bowling type of game known as boules or pétanque in France, and bocce in Italy. You can read about it here.

Pepper is super sweet, and super fast talking! My head was spinning in an effort to keep up with what she was saying. We were able to communicate enough to get across that we were, in fact, the notorious “Texans” that she had heard about. She was very concerned about whether or not we had a dog. She relayed to us how the previous owner’s dog liked to nip at her and she was quite happy to hear that we didn’t have a dog with us.

After a little bit we bid hasta luego to everyone.

That night for dinner, we cooked the chicken from the Zurgena grocery and enjoyed a leisurely evening at home. Tomorrow we were planning an excursion to Cabo de Gata and the beaches there.

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