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A review of life as an ex-pat in Las Palmas Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands. 

It has been a while since I updated my letter from Las Palmas blog.


I am unsure why, as a lot has happened and I enjoy writing down my thoughts.  


It is now almost five months since I bought an apartment near Playa Las Canteras in Las Palmas. 


So how is it going? 


I was recently talking to another Irishman.  He has also purchased an apartment here.   He said we both were similar and had taken a life-changing decision. 


I replied our risk levels were different, and I had done a mutiny on the bounty risk.  He asked what that meant.  


I said you still have a house in Ireland.  I have sold mine.  I have, like the crew of the Bounty, sank my ship, and there is no going back now. 


Hopefully, I will fare better than the mutineers.  Ten were captured and returned to England, and six were hung.  



So what is it like living in a seven-story apartment building in a Spanish city? 


The building is located on a side street. I don’t have a sea view, but it takes me ten seconds to be on Playa Las Canatreas when I go outside. 


There are six other apartments on my floor, which is on the sixth floor. For five months, I have never seen my neighbours on either side of me.   In Ireland, this would be impossible. 


I do miss the connection of neighbours like back home. On the other hand, I have friends here that have had significant problems with neighbours. Maybe it is best to have connections outside the building. 

There is one person that I have daily contact with.  An elderly Russian lady that has lived in Las Palmas for many years.  We chat most days coming in and out of the building.  I can tell she has some dementia.  


I have noticed in the past week she has deteriorated a bit.  I now find her outside the main door, not knowing which key to use. 


She has also stopped speaking Spanish and now talks 100% Russian.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what she was saying in Spanish, but we could communicate. 


I do look at her and wonder if that is the future.  The good thing is she is unaware of her situation, but I worry about how vulnerable she is.  I have seen some dodgy-looking people talking to her on the promenade.


Spain has a sound health system, but I am not sure If it is as good for older people in her situation. 

There was one other person that I spoke to in the building. A guy from the apartment underneath me knocked on my door to say a leak from my apartment had caused his bathroom ceiling to collapse. I said if it were my fault, I would work to resolve the issue. 


After reviewing the situation, I was not convinced the leak came from my apartment. It could have come from any shared pipe. He said I had to turn off my water for a week as he had an Airbnb guest arriving.


I put him straight; that was not going to happen. We both agreed to contact our insurance.   I did have the help of a local friend of mine to help translate some things which was a great help.


Both insurance companies’ responses were pretty bad.   He’s never called to my apartment and said it was my fault. Mine never looked at his apartment and said it was not coming from my apartment. 


Each resident pays a monthly fee for the upkeep of the building. Part of this is for insurance. An independent plumber thoroughly checked everything and said 100% there was no leak from my apartment.


A few days later, the neighbour asked if a friend could recheck my apartment. I wondered whether he was a plumber. He said no, and then so did I.  


I have been very open to discovering if the issue was coming from me.   I asked him if he asked 100 people and 99 said not my problem, and one said it was who would he believe? 


I have not seen him since. There was no leak here, but I am sure the visit from my insurance company’s plumber will be reflected in next year’s policy. 

I did have one other brief encounter.  One day I opened my apartment door, and there were two police outside the apartment across from me.


A guy at the door shouted at them to draw their guns and shoot him.   Funny enough, I had seen the guy around.  He was a tourist that was very drunk all the time.  He was constantly pestering people.  


Anyway, it was an Airbnb, and I never saw him again.  I’m unsure what I would have done if he asked me to shoot him.  I can be a very accommodating person at times. 


So I am almost five months into my new life in Las Palmas.  To date, I have been mugged and pickpocketed for the first time in my life.  I am, however, still standing and not speaking Russian yet. 

One of the best things about becoming a resident here is getting a 75% discount off all airfares within Spain.  


In the past two months, I have visited the smaller islands of La Palma and La Gomera.  One of the trips cost me ten euros return flying.   


While the smaller islands are not beach destinations, they are both fascinating and beautiful islands.  Well worth a visit. 

The day I have been dreading for a while is almost upon me.  Next Friday I will be sixty years old.  I have to be honest; it is not playing well with my mind.


When I hit fifty, it was not a problem for me.  I don’t know why sixty is such a big deal for me. 


I went to London solo when I was fifty for a few days.  As the clock hit midnight, I found myself talking to a drag queen at a bar counter.   I was happy I was doing something unusual as I hit that milestone. 


That won’t do next Friday, as talking to a drag queen in a bar in Gran Canaria is not that unusual. 


I will be happy for the day to pass as normal.  


That night in London, if someone had told me I would be living in Las Palmas in ten years, I would not have believed it.  


Who knows what the next decade will bring.

3 thoughts on “A LETTER FROM LAS PALMAS.

  1. Happy birthday in advance sixty ok I got through that I’ll be 72 in November and still going strong heading to Warsaw and on to Croatia on my bike leaving Ireland July 3 will send daily updates enjoy as you’ve had the privilege to reach sixty that’s not afforded to some looking forward to seeing you all soon

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