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Thursday, May 6th "Relaxation accomplished, stress level rising; Spanish bureaucracy: is it really that bad?; How cheap tickets become expensive"

Marbella was quite fun - 3 days of sun, 2 days of wind and one day of rain. We made our way to a few small towns in the mountains above the beach, ate our fair share of seafood. You can see my feet next to the pool just to the right there. I've yet to go through a whole day this week without thinking of that pool. Although we tried our best, we spoke plenty of English to staff and others in the area. If you want to live somewhere in Spain where you don't need to speak Spanish then come to Marbella! Even when I spoke Spanish with the hotel reception and others they spoke English back to me. I know my Spanish isn't perfect but it's pretty damn good and nobody has a hard time understanding me in Seville. Perhaps they're practicing for peak season. It was nice to relax, but leaving for a week means arriving to many things undone. My several work projects have gone into full gear and for those of you awaiting word from me you will hear something soon. While vacations are great, the arrival back is often painful.

The need has arrived for me to go through some paperwork both in the states and here in Seville (reasons I will keep to myself for the time being). For my Seville paperwork many nightmare scenarios were going through my head. I've heard and read that dealing with local and regional government offices was difficult and I was prepared for the worst bureaucracy of my life. After 3 hours I had walked across half of Seville, visited three different offices and got exactly what I needed. I spent no more than 25 minutes in each place. So maybe things are changing around here? I should probably go ahead and laugh now. I have a few more visits to go and perhaps I've just cursed myself. Come back for a follow up...

I wrote here previously about my cheap plane tickets to get back to the states. I forgot to mention that the flight leaves from Madrid at 7:40am. This complicates things a bit. No flights leave Seville in time to catch the Madrid flight without staying overnight: cost 50€ for hotel room, plus another 130€ for round trip flight. If I stay close enough to the airport I can take advantage of a hotel shuttle for free. Of course I could take the AVE which in combination with my plane ticket will cost 96€ (there is a discount for using the AVE in conjunction with flying). But then I will have to pay cab fare to the Madrid airport (too many bags to catch the bus). Cost: 20€. Make that 40€ as I have to come back. And I'll still need a hotel room. Alternate decision is catching the late AVE, arrive at Madrid around 12:30am and spend the night at the airport. Thankfully Seville's airport is picking up more flights. Maybe in the next few years we'll have more options, but for now Málaga or Madrid are the best bets for cheaper, easier and more frequent flight options.