Ep81: 76 things that might catch you out in Spain (Part 2 of 2)

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New listeners Tom & Mai got in touch and asked us an important question:

What are the cultural norms, things to avoid, and things that surprised you when living in Spain?

So over the last 2 episodes, we talk about everything that caught us out in Spain, from culture to food & drink, to travel and finally weather & language.

Other episodes mentioned:

  • Episode 80 is part 1 of this two part series

NOTE: This is following our new format of podcast episodes that are either about:

  • WHY you want to live & work abroad
  • HOW to live and work abroad
  • WHERE to live & work abroad

The roadmap we mention can guide you through the questions you need to ask before starting your own adventure.

Want to get involved? It's completely free – just go to ASidewaysLife.com/roadmap.

As ever, get in touch on Instagram (@asidewayslife) or email asidewayslife@gmail.com. We genuinely would be thrilled to hear from you.

The Transcription

As ever this is auto-generated, so some bits might be 100% accurate!

Leanne
Rain falls mainly on the plane.

Al
Very good. The planes of I know the plains of Africa is because I'm a big fan of Toto. Hello and welcome to episode 81 of a Sideways Life podcast. I am Al. I'm Leanne, and we've travelling since 2017. Probably left the UK. 2013. So we done 46 countries, about 120 airbnb, about 250 places we've stopped. And how many gyms have we drunk beyond.

Leanne
Good time?

Al
Well, this is part two, isn't it, love?

Leanne
Yes, it is.

Al
So part two of the first part was episode 80 last week, which was 76 things that might catch you out in Spain. Now, you might be wondering, why are we talking about Spain? Well, we've been here for summer for three months over spain is the place that we leanne. We got our best language skills in Spain. We spent so much time in Spain, about five years in Spain, haven't we?

Leanne
Yeah. Probably maybe a little bit more over the years.

Al
Yeah. And so last week we talked about we sort of grouped all of these things, these 76 things that can catch you out into different categories. Last week, we talked about culture, we talked about eating and drinking, we talked about language. And though we went through each one of those categories, we went through the things that both of us have found. They just catch us out. I suppose we are foreigners with guests. We keep talking about this guest idea, don't we, Lea?

Leanne
Yeah. I think that's important if you are new to expatting, nomadding travelling. Sorry, excuse me. Expatriate. Yeah. I think it's a good mindset to have to remember that you are a guest in someone's country. If some cultural norm isn't your taste, that's on you, my friend.

Al
So today we're going to talk about transport, talk about weather and living, shopping. And then the last two bonus rounds are things we can't get our heads around. Let's say this is just us as guests. We're not used to this. And then things to avoid, to avoid upsetting the locals. So we'll come on to that. So do you want to kick things off with transport, Lea?

Leanne
Sure. So, transport. Now, this might just be applicable or raise an eyebrow to the people in the world who continue to drive or continue I think we started, didn't we? Whatever. Let's not get into that. Those countries in the world that drive on the left hand side of the road, as you know, most of continental, in fact, all of continental drive on the right hand side. But if you are from Australia, if you are from Pakistan, I want to say Indonesia, but that might not be.

Al
Right down in Indonesia. But I think that it is in either Thailand or Myanmar or one of those.

Leanne
Thailand? It's Thailand, of course. Then, yes, you will be used to driving on the left hand side. And you may have noticed that when you're walking down the street, and you pass somebody, you'll stay on the side that you're used to driving, so if there's not someone's approaching, you go left, they go left, you pass seamlessly, you don't get that weird sorry, sorry moment. In Spain, they walk on the right and I guess it's because they drive on the right.

Al
Yeah. And we found that in lots of European countries, people will come to pass we're walking towards you, and they will pass you with you on the right, or pass you on your left, and you try and do it any other way and they look at you if you're a bit weird. And so, yeah, I think walking on the right is a bit of a weird one. It's a very strange one, but still, it just seems to happen in Europe.

Leanne
It does. Something to be aware of.

Al
So the next one I've got is parking. Now, when you park in a public car park or on the street or something, in a lot of Europe, particularly in Spain, you're going to get something called vessels, which is kisses. And that's a very euphemistic way of saying someone's going to basically crash into the back of you, al in front of you at some point in time.

Leanne
Yes. I think it's important to know that in Spain, bumpers are a functional part of your car. They're not there to look pretty, they're there to bump. And I think my favourite thing is when you're sat in a cafe somewhere in near a square, near a road and you're seeing someone parking, they're just slowly bumping the car in front of them for an inch so they can get in. We actually saw one do pick up an entire motorbike and move it. Brilliant.

Al
So, parking, yes, there might be private parking with your apartment, but even that's not safe, because we stayed in Seville. I think we stayed in the underground car park and we came back down. And to be fair. Our car at the time was mainly about eight or nine years old. But there's a huge big scrape along the front of it that matched perfectly the Mercedes that were sitting next to us in the garbage. And they had a similar corresponding scrape on the front of his or hers. And it was just essentially they'd come in and go.

Leanne
Oh.

Al
It's tight in here. Isn't it? Oh, goodness. Yeah, I just caught that car. Never mind, let's go and have a beer.

Leanne
I remember as well, if you are driving in Spain, particularly even some of the big towns like Seville, Granada, Malaga, but particularly if you go up into the country into kind of mountain top villages, or papa Blancos, as they're known, the roads are tight. They are. So I can't even tell you how tight it is. You'll see a wall going down the side of the road and it's just like splattered with different shades of paint where people have scraped their mirrors. It is so tight, even as now, I think we was last weekend, we basically just held our breath the entire time getting through our customer. So bear that in mind. If you're bringing a brand new car to Spain, try not to be precious about it, because it will get some buses.

Al
It will. Okay, so what's number three?

Leanne
Number three is buses. So if you want to get public transport, and you should, it's very affordable. A lot of them are hybrid now as well, so good for the environment. But if you want to jump on the bus, chances are, depending where you are, you will need to get a plastic card and charge it up a bit like an Oyster card in London, right. Charge it up with money and then you tap it on the sensor when you get on the bus. In certain cities, they will also accept cash, but typically you'll have to have less than €5 and change if you want to pay in cash. So, worth bearing in mind, in terms of tapping it up, using the little kiosks you see to back off, as you can normally top them up. Maybe that little corner shop.

Al
Yeah. And often it's quite a bit cheaper, maybe 60% of the price if you do precharge your card. If you're staying in Airbnb, ask your host, they'll tell you where to get a card. If you're using Android phones, then you can charge them from your phone. If you're using iPhones. We discovered that Apple doesn't allow that because it's got a monopoly on the I don't know why they don't. There's some technical reason, but it's probably just because Apple is a bit greedy. Anyway, so moving on with these, then. We certainly found in Spain and in a lot of other places, public transport still insist on masks. We're in Luxembourg. We were waiting for our last bus home from the centre of Luxembourg to maybe three kilometres to our house, and we didn't have a mask with us. We got on the Boston, we got kicked off. So always take a mask with you and there's a very good chance you're going to get kicked off. If you don't get kicked off, you probably look at very judgmentally, I think.

Leanne
Yeah, and I think that's probably a good thing. Particularly UK, understand. I don't think these masks have been there for a while now, apart from maybe in hospitals, but there are a few places in Spain where they are still required, public buildings included, and pharmacies, which kind of makes sense, actually.

Al
Perfect sense. So what's your next one?

Leanne
My next one and our last one under transport, sticking with the public transport system, is trains. There are some wicked high speed trains in Spain. So if you are coming and you don't want to bring your car, but you want to travel around, don't worry too much. Yes. To get to smaller places, it might take some time, or you'll need to hire something. But if you're going from city to city, there are some incredible train links. Malaga to Madrid, for example, is about 3 hours. To Barcelona is about 5 hours. And it's so far away, it's insane. And really quite cost effective as well.

Al
Yeah, they have the speed in the carriage. The carriage is really nice. They like sitting on a plane, on a nice plane. And it's got the speed above the carriage so it'll show you the little LCD display, how fast you're going, which I think it was 245 kilometres an hour, I think at one point on our train.

Leanne
Very fast.

Al
Okay, so the next section is weather and living. And we'll whizz through these because I think most people know that the weather in Spain is incredible.

Leanne
Most of the time the rain falls mainly on the plane.

Al
That's true. Very good. Where is the plane in the sky? I don't know. I know where the plains of Africa is because I'm a big fan of Toto.

Leanne
What a change.

Al
So the first thing you need to know about weather and living is the beach is a big thing the Spanish understandably do not fuck around when it comes to this. So Leanne will probably tell you some stories, but basically what you'll find is you go to the beach and forget the whole putting your towel on a sun lounger thing.

Leanne
Amateur.

Al
Yeah, amateur. What the Spanish will do is they'll turn it with literally a gazebo, a trestle table, if not two, a barbecue, six or seven different cool boxes with drinks, with chicken, with whatever in there. All these different chairs that fold down into the size of a postage stamp. Excuse me, full and size, the postage stamp. But they fold out. They've got everything you could possibly need to have a day at the beach. And they do not mess about, do they, Lea?

Leanne
They really don't. It's quite impressive, the setup that you will see on the beach, particularly if you're going to more local beaches. So if we're still talking about Spain, east of Malaga, for example, you're going to have a lot of this type of set up local people cana beat. You're not going to have as many, like, beach clubs with the sun beds that you can rent and stuff like that. Of course, west of Margaret, when you're talking like Costa Salt, you will, so you'll probably all right there. But yeah, and it's expensive as well, those little beach chairs. Some investment in that. So, yeah, if you're going to go the beach like a local yeah.

Al
And they bring the whole family. You'll see. There'll be like 17 of them, all sitting around a Crestel table at 02:00, eating what looks like restaurant food they've just basically brought out of their bags. So it's a wonder to see if you are in Malaga area, then, as the end said, go west if you want to go and see the tourists and pay for your sun lounger per hour or by the hour. Go east if you want to go to a place called Lacala de Morales or El Rincon or even El Palo and you'll see the Spanish doing it Spanish style. That sounds a bit weird, that sound a bit rude, though.

Leanne
It is epic. It's an amazing thing to see. Unfortunately, this next one might contradict what I've just been saying, but typically summer during the day is all about avoiding the sun. I think that's true, really, that you'll probably see less and less people on the beach if you're somewhere local in August, just because it gets sort of freaking hot. But in terms of the daytime, it really depends where you are. But we've been slightly in the interior and we've been looking at 36 most days, 38 to 39. Some others. Sunday, I think we were nearly push 40 and we couldn't actually go outside. It was just too much. And everyone else is the same. Towns are quiet, everything is quiet. The summer during the day is just about avoiding the sun. If you are outside, look out for those beautiful, particularly in Savi and Granada. They have bars and restaurants with outdoor air conditioning. They just squirt like mist of cold water at you. It's delicious. But otherwise you're avoiding the sun. You're certainly not sitting out in the direct sunlight at 02:00 A.m. Because you 02:00 p.m. 02:00 p.m. Yes, you will catch.

Al
You will so they do things like drop the blinds during the day and you'll find there will be all kinds of things. You'll find that a lot of traditional houses have got very small windows, which means that they are quite dark houses, but they're also quite cool. So going on to the opposite side of the year, winter is not that much fun. Going back to this idea of Spanish houses having small windows, they are very well insulated against the heat. But it also means that there's very rarely central heating in houses in Spain. The nearest you probably get is the air conditioning, which will turn onto heat if you want. But that's an expensive way of doing it. So what the Spanish traditionally tend to do is they have like a big circular table that can fit maybe eight people around it and it's got pretty.

Leanne
Small, maybe like six. And you'd be like touching elbows.

Al
Fair enough. So six people sit around a circular table. The circular table has like a skirt on. So you basically lift up the material that's attached to the table, put your legs underneath, drop it back down again and underneath is usually a fire. It used to be coals back in the old days. Now it is electric heaters. There's a particular name for this and I'm really sorry, I've forgotten, I should have researched, but there's a particular name for this. But you'll often find that families will sit there and stare at each other for about four months over winter, play cards and obviously talk, because that's what the Spanish do.

Leanne
Yeah, winters are chilly wherever you are. And I think that's that is, I said, the problem that typically Spanish houses are designed to keep the warm out. So, yeah, some good things that we did, if you don't want to sit around the little table, you can buy, like the old gas heaters like your NAN used to have, like the grapes and stuff, you can buy those quite cheap. Gas is real cheap here. You're looking like, what, five €6 for a canister? That will probably last you at least six weeks. Being on almost constantly. That's pretty good. Electric heaters can be good. And as I said before, dropping your blinds, opening your blinds in summer, getting that sun shine through and helping to warm the house up, but it is chilly. Get yourself some warm clothes and a big old duvet for bed at night because it is cold.

Al
It is okay. And also, by the way, sesters aren't always about sleeping, they're just about breaking from the sun, getting away from the sun. So you'll often find like 02:00 in the afternoon, you think, oh, maybe it's nice, I've had a busy day at work, I might nip out for a drink. Good luck if you're in the campo, because that's the countryside, because most places are closed or they will be closing at 03:00, particularly in the weekday, because that's the hottest part of the day and they don't want to stay open standing there in black trousers and white shirts.

Leanne
Absolutely. I think the last thing to say about the weather, particularly in summer, is flies and mosquitoes are a part of everyday life. And there's lots of paraphernalia that you can buy, from sprays to plugins to candles to fly squatters. To fly squatters. Sorry, they do squat, the flies, though. They do. But yeah, in particular, September is awful for flyers, so just prepare yourself.

Al
Yes, and it's one of my favourite things, is to go around killing flies. And I might just put off a section of our audience who are flying to perhaps, I don't know, but okay, so I'm moving on to the next section, which is shopping. Now, this brings in some interesting quirks. The first one is, and it's going to sound a little bit racist when you say this, Lea, so I'm going to make you say this. What's the first one?

Leanne
There are a lot of shops, imagine in the UK, I'm not sure what they would be in the US. And get in touch, tell me what your equivalents are. But in the UK, you get things like your pound land, your home sense, your shit. Shops have everything, but they are there. Like, you can get a watering can, you cana get some moisturiser, you can get nappies, you can get like, dog food, you can get pillows, you can get everything from the shit shop. Well, in Spain they're usually branded as Chinese bazaars, so be called like bizarre dechino or something similar.

Al
Lucky seven.

Leanne
Lucky seven, yeah. And what we have come to learn is they're not always actually owned by people in the Chinese community in Spain, but they're branded in that way by other Spanish people who own them. It's all a bit odd, but if you need anything, as I said, super glow, you want to go to the beach, you need all your paraphernalia for that gorgeno. Honestly. They are usually vast, huge places with everything you could possibly imagine.

Al
Really cool places. And yes, as you say, stationery. The lot is brilliant. Okay, the next one is that if you're used to coming from particularly northern Europe or I'd imagine the US and Australia supermarket is done up until 09:00 a.m. And they often close to close at two and then reopen at five and close at 09:00 p.m.. So those of you who like getting up early and going getting the shopping, it's not going to happen in a supermarket, but there are local shops that tend to open a bit earlier whilst we're in the supermarket. Then the majority of soup markets, there is a self cheque for fruit and veg. I'm not saying that very well. When you get your fruit 16 oranges, for example excuse me, you get 16 oranges, for example. Then generally in the UK, then you will have those all prepackaged, whereas the majority of fruit and veg is you have to go and weigh yourself, put in the code and then it prints out sticker and you put it on your bag. I feel like I made a meal, no pun intended, the meal of that lea if I explained it properly.

Leanne
No, exactly that. If you have loose fruit and veg, typically in the UK especially, you put it in your bag, you take it to cheque out at the checkout, they will weigh it and they will price it up for you. In Spain you have to do that yourself in the fruit and veg section. Same in Croatia, actually, for not everywhere, but for some stores. I cannot tell you how annoying it is to be stuck behind a tourist with a mountain of fruit and veg and they haven't weighed anything because it's not like they can weigh it at the till. They have to then take it to the customer service or back to the fruit and veg area to weigh it out. And everyone's just like standing there and you look like the biggest tourist in the world and you feel embarrassed. No, behind you. So remember, wear your fruit and veg.

Al
Exactly. Place like Mercury catapult. All those make sure you do it. Okay, so what's next?

Leanne
Leah next, if you don't want to go to the supermarket, then there are towns where the supermarket will come to you, including Malaga, certainly. Once you get up into the country, into the little villages. Bread, gas, vegetables, fruit, water, you can all get it delivered. They'll either come past your house, usually around the same time in the morning and give you to let you know you'll run downstairs, or I think particularly with things like water and gas, you can actually arrange them to be dropped off. So that's quite nice. It's like delivery, but a bit more impromptu.

Al
Definitely going back to supermarkets. If you do prefer to stay in supermarket, let's be honest, it is a little bit you feel a little bit safer going to the supermarket because you can see where everything is. Whereas I went to the bread van man yesterday, and I only know like six different four different types of bread, and he didn't have any of them. And I was like, oh. So I ended up having to just buy something, which I thought was what I wanted. But if you do go back to the supermarkets, then just bear in mind that a lot of them have parking underground, particularly the Mercadona, which is great, keeps your car nice and cool, but you'll often have to get a ticket and validate it at the till. So I know this isn't a new thing, but just bear in mind there's nothing more annoying than going down.

Leanne
We thought it was annoying behind being stuck behind someone weighed their fruit and veg, but stuck behind someone in the car hasn't validated their ticket, and then everyone's having to reverse up.

Al
Don't be that guy. Okay, what else you got?

Leanne
So I'm going to group these next three together because they're all kind of around payment etiquette. So in smaller shops, and this is something we actually sold well in Australia, in bigger shops as well, but in smaller shops especially, they will tend to round up. So if your bill comes to €4.95 and you give them €5, chances are you not getting any change. If you do get change, then actually the custom is typically there's a little plate next to the till that you'll often see, like little one cents coins or $0.05 or $0.10 coins in. And usually, I think it is, if you do get changed, you pop it on the little plate so the next time somebody is in, because they'll round up, but they'll never round down. So if your shopping is in €5.05 and you haven't got $0.05, you're going to get your €5. It's perfectly acceptable to look at the little plate, take the €5 off and give it to the $0.05, not the five year. You've got five euro to take $0.05 on the plate. And then which is quite nice, actually. Quite a nice idea. But yes, particularly in petrol stations, you see that.

Leanne
And in petrol stations as well. Just be mindful that in about 60% of them, I'd say, you need to prepay.

Al
And also some of them, particularly in the country, they'll come and actually fill you up like they did back in the 80s, which is quite cool. Okay, so these next couple, I'm going to group again together, because we've already mentioned the supermarket is closed in the afternoon. Particularly, there's something called coverage, I think, which is like a kind of a spa franchise, where there's lots of little shops, local shops, they will almost certainly close in the country in the afternoon. If you go to a town or a city, then quite often you'll find that the bigger ones won't close, but they will have a quiet hour. And this is a bit of a strange situation, but the idea is that there's no music, it's during the cyclops and you can go and shop, but you shouldn't bring children to scream or whatever, because this is just everyone's chance to have a little bit of quiet time, which is obviously very welcome for introverts like us.

Leanne
Yes, very civilised. Very civilised.

Al
What do you got next?

Leanne
I think just to finish off the shopping thing, did you know that if you have a can of pop or even a can of beer and you buy it from the shop, you'll pay more if that can is cold? I learned that the other day. I was like, what? Really? And quite a bit more as well. Like, I'd already bought my can of Coke, looked around and saw the fridge because I couldn't see the fridge. Oh, there it is. Asked if I could swap it. She said, yeah, of course, but it's a Euro, morph. A euro. You are right. I'll call my own cat at home. Thanks.

Al
Well, you say that, but you've been shopping in the wrong place. Because I went to my favourite little place in Arcos where they love me, because I went in there asking for an orange and they only had one scrappy old orange sitting there. And I said, It's just my gin tonic. And she went, you can have it as a gift from me. And I went in there the other morning to buy you a pop and there was a cold Coke, but no cold sprite. And so I took a warm one to the counter and she went she said, Wait. Went under the counter, took a cold one from the fridge under the counter and swapped it over for no extra cost.

Leanne
Well, clearly I am shopping in the wrong places.

Al
And the last thing we've got to say about shopping before we move on to the things we can't get their heads around and things to avoid, is that you'll see on the street a lot of people who are selling lottery tickets. There's kind of like three different types of people selling lottery tickets. There's the lottery office, where all they do is sell tickets. You'll find that the Spanish do like a lottery. There's like 17 different types of lottery, so there will be those and they just go in there and you buy a lottery ticket. Then there will be people wandering around selling lottery tickets. They'll have a stamp on the back often, and what they've done is bought it from the lottery office and then going around and trying to resell it, generally to tourists for a bit more. You might want to support those people. Some of them are a little bit down on the look, so in that case that's fine. But just bear in mind that you are paying more than face value. And the final type is something which I think I've only ever seen in Spain. It's called I want to say onse it's spelled once.

Al
And generally the people who sell them are in some way disabled and you'll find that they will sell the tickets and a proportion of the profits go to help out the disabled, which is a really nice way of doing things. So if you see them, they're usually in green. If you do want to buy a lottery and you fancy giving back to someone, then it's definitely worth buying from them. And there is something called the lottery El Gordo. El Gordo, is it? El Gordo, yes, which is the Christmas lottery, which is like a massive lottery. People are buying in August for this Christmas lottery. And that's the big one. It's called El Gordo, which is Spanish for the fat one or the rich one. I'm not sure which one it is, but the big one, basically. Okay, so that concludes, I think, shopping. Now, should we talk about things we can't get our heads around?

Leanne
Yes, I think by things we cana get our heads around. Maybe when we first got here, we were like, what? But then, you know, it's just these little quotes and we're not saying it's wrong. It's just like okay, the first one was when we first came out to this part of the world was when we were planning our wedding and we actually stayed on the border of Gibraltar, went into Gibraltar, and it was early December, but it was beautiful. It was maybe like 22 degrees during the day, bright blue skies, a bit of a nip in the evening, but the day is beautiful. People in Spain do not dress for the weather. They dress for the season. And we've had this confirmed by some local Spanish friends that we've made. So, for example, if it's December, people are wearing, like, warm clothes, big coats, scarves, trousers, boots. The lot is December. Doesn't matter what the temperature is, it's December. Similarly, if you get a cold day in July, they're wearing shorts and T shirts. It's July, my friend.

Al
Exactly. It's a beautiful site. I kind of admire them for it because the Spanish are generally very stylish nation. Particularly you go to Seville or you go to Barcelona, you go those places. They're amazing people. And so why not show off your winter clothes even if it is 25 degrees outside and you're sweating? Like, I don't want to use that. I don't know, in appropriate way. This way he's sweating, like, apart from one person, apart from one of my friends and my dad used to say, which I'm pretty sure we're okay in the not okay now. All right, so the next one is it's a bit weird, but petrol stations have smoking areas outside. And if you're from, particularly the UK, can you imagine stepping outside your BP and just lighting up a cigarette and just like, tapping away in your cigarette while someone about three to 6ft away from you dispenses petrol? You still can't smoke when you're dispenser petrol, but there is a smoking area outside petrol station, so don't be too surprised when you see that. You'll also find probably there's a tapas area as well, because most petrol stations have some kind of restaurant or tapas attached to it, which is the thing.

Leanne
Anyway. Actually, restaurants, I think we talked about this in the food and drink restaurants came from on the road and they'll look a bit run down, but that's usually pretty good.

Al
So what have you got?

Leanne
Next, I think, is kind of a bit around the economic position around Spain or situation with Spain, and I guess the preconceived notions that you have as a foreigner when you look at statistics. So, statistically, yes, there is high unemployment in Spain. There is particularly high youth unemployment in Spain. That said, there are a few different aspects to this that we feel, and again, talking to local people feel, that actually the statistics may not be giving you the full picture. So, for example, people don't tend to buy houses here, they'll tend to inherit them from their family, from their grandparents, from their parents. They'll get passed down generation to generation. So while income may be lower, whether on unemployment or unemployment, they're typically not paying rent. On top of that, multi generational living is really common. So it's unlikely you're going to get somebody in their 20s living on their own. They're probably going to be living with their siblings and their parents, with their grandparents, or their auntie and uncles. It's quite typical for that to be the case. And if they're not living in the same house, they're living very nearby. The other thing as well is particularly in places like Anzacia or tourist places.

Leanne
Where there is a lot of seasonal work. A lot of cash in hand work. Which is the same in the UK. Let's be honest. I think there's a case of officially people are unemployed. But unofficially they are working at their auntie's cafe or their brother's bar. Or their dad's barbers and getting cash in hand while studying as well. Actually, education here is quite a big thing, isn't it, right into your early 20s.

Al
Absolutely. So I don't know if this is probably a function of the fact that the average income or the average provable income is relatively low, but cars are not status symbols here, as we've talked about before. Your car will often have best off on it or kisses where someone else has smashed into it, but it's just not a thing, really. I mean, it might be now in Madrid or Sevilla or somewhere like that, but generally you go to a medium sized town or smaller and the kids are knocking about in, say, apps that are older than them, because it's just not a thing, they just don't care about the car. Whereas I think I know definitely in the UK, and I'm pretty sure in the US and Australia and Canada, is that the Aspiration is to have this BMW Five series whatever. There's no point in Spain, because number one is going to cost about twice as much, because it's really expensive to buy cars in Spain. Number two, your auntie's probably got an old Ford Fiesta that she's going to give you for nothing. And number three, it's just going to get scratched and bashed.

Al
So people the cars aren't really status symbols. And that also has the other thing to it as well. Just bear in mind that if you see someone in an older car, a 20 year old car, let's just say a fellow walks, he jumped out of his car, his shirt is misbuttoned up, so he's got buttons in the wrong thing, he's stroke in the back of his head, looks like he just doesn't know what the hell's going on. He could well own, like, half of the village that you live in, which is like our old landlord, who looked like he lived on the streets and actually owned the majority of the village, didn't he?

Leanne
Well, that's a big pepper. I doubt pepper listen. But, yeah, absolutely. And I think that's the thing you might be quick to judge when you look at certain statistics. You might be quick to judge when you see certain cars. You may be quick to judge when somebody is 30 and living at home with Mum and dad. It's a different culture, it's a different thing. You can't apply the standards of where you're coming from to another country. It's just not fair and it's not right. If you really want to know, ask some polite, respectful questions about somebody's life and how they live.

Al
And, yeah, like you said, it's perfect example, you don't judge them based on your own standards. And people in Spain don't have this status thing of having huge houses that they can't really afford, having cars that they can't really afford, whereas in the UK, our feelings when we go back is more and more people are buying things they don't really want with money they don't have to impress people they don't even like. And I think it's just the opposite over here in Spain. So, as Leanne says, do not judge anyone. You could be talking to someone who's got three times as much money as you, and they could be driving around the 25 year old Persian 205.

Leanne
Yes. So, moving on, let's talk for American listeners, the holidays, so, Christmas, other festivals, things that go on through the year. There are many, many festivals that happen in Spain, usually around something religious. So yes, if you're at whatever time of year you're here, you'll probably see some kind of festival, which is really cool. The great ones and the big ones look out for is the annual Ferrier. That will happen in a lot of towns and cities, usually over a few days for a week. If you do go to the Ferriers, they are massive. They'll take over the entire city, they take overground area. Just bear in mind that they will have bars in that area where you can buy drinks and food, typically, particularly for drinks, it's not a cash bar. You have to go somewhere else and buy a little raffle tokens first and then go to the bar. So just bear that in mind because again, you don't want to be that person and just order a lot of drinks and you can't pay for them. Just don't be that person. And the other thing as well is Christmas. Christmas is incredible in Spain, but also very different in how it's celebrated.

Leanne
Al, would you like to take that one?

Al
Yeah, I mean, without going into because it's quite different in the north and the south, and it's also becoming a lot more Western. I don't say west night because Spain is west, but it's becoming a lot more anglicised in that Christmas is Christmas Day. Is not Christmas Day. But traditionally the children used to get their presents on the 6 January, is that right?

Leanne
Yes, that's right.

Al
Then there is a big parade and it's called Los Rios, what's it called?

Leanne
Yes. The Three Kings, isn't it?

Al
Yes. So Three Kings. And so again, there'll be one of those kings will possibly be in blackface. I don't believe in any way it's offensive. It's just if you're going there, you might go, okay, well, there's a Spanish guy, usually with boot polish on his face. It's just the tradition.

Leanne
One of those things. You just can't get head around what this categories are. You cana get head around it. Okay.

Al
Christmas Eve. They tend to eat big family meals on Christmas Eve. As you can imagine, in a very Catholic country, it's all very family orientated. It's around the kids. And so Christmas is an amazing time to come to Spain. And if you have the opportunity, definitely come to Spain. Granada is a great one, maliga is another one. Come along and just stay for the ten days over Spain. It's got two advantages. First of Al, you get away from your family and friends. For some people, that's a good thing. Secondly, you're going to experience something totally different. And I think that it's such a great opportunity to see how the Spanish celebrate, you've got to go to on the 6 January to the Three Kings. Festival where generally it will be like an old fashioned 80s float coming through. Basically Christmas pride, but for Christmas, that's.

Leanne
A really good way to put it. Yeah.

Al
And one of the fun things is that the kings coming down there will have huge bags of boiled sweets they will fling in your face. And so it's potentially you might lose an eye.

Leanne
The idea is the kids have all got bags and they try and catch more pick up off the floor. But they are typically bald sweets. They will, yeah. If you catch one in the forehead, quite sore.

Al
There's also a cake as well, which has got things in it. It's a circular cake. Imagine a big party ring.

Leanne
No, we've talked about this before. We've talked about this as a podcast. If you're interested about Christmas in Spain, go back. I believe the episode is called Feliz Navidad.

Al
There we go.

Leanne
Go. Listen, there we talked about all of this with all the right names and everything.

Al
Okay. So things to avoid, to avoid upsetting the locals, this was one which was specifically asked for by Tom, because I'm hoping that Tom's not looking to do these things. I'm hoping Tom is looking to avoid these things, but he was asking us, what is it you could possibly do by mistake that would offend a local? So do you want to kick things off?

Leanne
Lea yeah, I think the first one is probably quite an obvious one, is assume that everyone speaks English and do that with a broad thing of speaking to them more slowly and louder and assuming that they'll be able to understand you. Don't do that. One of the best phrases you can learn is, do you speak a little English? A blast and poker de English. And that will just help somebody to then say either if they have a little bit of English, go a little bit, but not much, or they're going to go, yeah, of course you want to speak in English. Fine, what do you need? And you're like, okay. But it's just that polite way to ask. And if people don't, then usually Google Translate. The app is amazing. Now you can type it out, you can speak into it. Just do your best to converse on an equal playing field rather than just demanding or assuming that somebody else will speak English.

Al
That's good advice, no matter where you go in the world. Okay. Number two for me is don't go shirtless. Even in beach bars, I wouldn't have that much if a woman wants to go shirtless, I wouldn't have that many arguments for it. But I think, for example, someone like me, who is a 45 year old, slightly flabby white man whose boobs hasn't seen the sun ever, then I wouldn't ever consider doing it. But there are people who come on holiday, and they're obviously, in terms of Chesterly, they're much better looking than I am, but they'll still wander into beach bars with a shirt off. Although it's not like they wouldn't get kicked out or anything, it's just a little bit of respect for someone's business now, I mean, we are talking more traditional Spanish again, east of Malaga rather than west. You go to Marbella and that's an expectation, I'd imagine. And I'm not shitting on Marbella, I'm just saying that's kind of what happens. But when you go into a restaurant or a bar which is somewhere that's not particularly touristy, just stick a shirt on. You don't button it up, just stick it on.

Leanne
Absolutely. And I think that the next one we've got here is not taking people at face value, like assuming somebody is unemployed, poor, whatever other words you want to assign to it, just don't make an assumption because chances are they are in half a village and that's the person you need to be busy mates with to get a really great place at a really good price. So, yeah, don't make that assumption. I think the only other thing that I'm saying, and it is unavoidable, you can't avoid it, but avoid getting angry about it and that's the bureaucracy in Spain. Paperwork is a thing like paper, not like online, some of it is, but most of it is actually physical bits of paper that you need to go and get notarized. Do we even know what that is? I didn't know what that is until we moved to Spain. You basically take this office called a notary and they're everywhere, where you go in with the person who has also signed this document, they stamp it for you, they give it some kind of fancy seal, they scan it basically means they're going to put it onto the government, local government records that this is an official document, legally binding document.

Leanne
And then once you have that, you can apply for other things like your NIE or your residency or buy something. Paperwork is everywhere, it takes ages. These notaries usually on open for about 20 minutes every other day. Just avoid getting heat or angry about it. There's nothing you can do, honestly, nothing you can do. You just got to file the system. I think we've said this before, we talked on the Croatia podcast. If you can financially afford it, investing some money in somebody who is local, who knows the system and knows how to navigate it, it is well worth doing and will save you a lot of time. Please just go with it, my friend. Bureaucracy is real and it ain't going anywhere.

Al
And before going to the last one I was going to add to that as well. Is that often if you need to pay for a government service. They will give you a piece of paper. Then you need to go to a bank and pay at the bank with this piece of paper. Then go back with the stamp to the government service and generally what will happen is you'll find the pattern will be you'll go to the government service and your cue from nine to eleven. You'll get your piece of paper. You'll go to the bank and you'll find the bank is closed because everyone's gone for breakfast. Then you come back about twelve, the bank is back open and you'll get your stamp. Then you'll go back to the government office and find that the guy you were talking to has disappeared off for his breakfast. And then you'll queue, queue, and then they'll shut at 02:00 and you have to go by the next day.

Leanne
Yeah. And that's on a good day. The other day is when the process just doesn't even make sense. That German. We got the dangerous dog licence. Something else to look into as well. There's lots of dogs in Spain that class is dangerous in inverted combat breeds, dog breeds that aren't classes dangerous in other places in the world, rottweilers being one of them. But it was one of those things where we couldn't get him microchipped unless he was insured, but we couldn't get him insured unless he was microchipped. And it's like, well, how does that work? And of course we can't apply for licence until you both microchip and insurance. So it's like, well, what do we do? And in the end, I think we just explained to the vet and she was like, yeah, okay, so I think she put a microchip in to get the number, but then didn't register it. And then there's all these little loopholes you have to go, which is why don't be a dick, be nice to everybody. Because you never ever know who you might need to call on, a local you might need to call on for a favour to navigate this whole crazy world.

Al
Absolutely. And the last one before we wrap things up is that back certainly in the there was a stereotype that the Spanish were lazy because I'm guessing because they took a siesta. I'm sure you're not thinking that for a second, but if you apply your home thinking to Spanish thinking, then you might go, well, I can't believe that they are taking the whole of August off. This family is shutting their shop and disappearing off of August to go and live by the coast. That's not the way they run a business. Don't think like that. Don't start applying your own values to someone else's life. Because the fact is that, number 1, august is a horrible time to work. Number two, if they're going to close between two and five, there's a very good chance. And number three, more importantly, they value things much more importantly than just, I don't know, being the richest person in the graveyard, being having the coolest car. They don't care generally, they don't care about that kind of stuff. They care about family, they care about having a great time and they care about when they put them in the ground.

Al
They've got 100 different stories that they.

Leanne
Can tell about them here.

Al
So I think that concludes we've been on a bit longer. We're aiming for 20 minutes. We've gone for 40.

Leanne
There was a lot to get through in that one. There was a lot to get through. But I think the headline is don't push your norms onto somebody else, and you'll be absolutely fine.

Al
Exactly. That works for Spain anywhere in the world. Probably works for your home country as well. Okay.

Leanne
Don't be a dick.

Al
Don't call me dick.

Leanne
The last episode.

Al
Okay, so next episode, which is episode 82, we're going to be talking about how we became the luckiest digital nomads in the world. Now, you didn't see my fingers when I said luckiest. I was doing those little rabbit fingers going, luckiest, because the complete ballots were not lucky.

Leanne
But.

Al
You'Re will find out, is why we think we're lucky. Even though some pretty bad things happen to us, we'll have some good tease.

Leanne
I'll leave it there. Yeah.

Al
Okay. We'll see you next time. Bye for now. Bye bye, you.

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