I engaged a new lawyer today. Yes, we have one in Barcelona (and our old one in Valencia). But I think it’s important to have someone who is local to the area where you’ll be living. And so I interviewed abogados (lawyers) today and selected one who seemed the most knowledgeable and interested in helping me. The process here in Galicia isn’t quite like it is in other parts of Spain, apparently. And certainly not the same as Portugal. If we didn’t get good advice we might have made some bad assumptions and grave errors.
I was expecting to pay for a consultation fee, as we had in Valencia, but my new Abogado de Lugo waved his hand. ‘Let us wait until you have the agreement with the sellers on the price. Then we will discuss when you will pay our fee. If we don’t do the work we don’t want to charge you.’
We talked pricing and negotiation strategy. What not to do. Including the current situation of rural properties in Galicia with Covid and Brexit and how to ensure we get the best price. ‘Don’t fall in love with the property or the sellers. This is business.’ I will have to reiterate this to el Jefe.
It seems that having this entire week in Lugo is going to be a blessing in disguise. I’m getting a bunch done and I’ve made a new friend.
Since arriving, I have been ferried around by 3 different taxi drivers and assisted by a tow truck driver who collected my car off the A6. He spoke no Ingles but we Google translated our way through things as cars whizzed by. This morning I was awakened by my phone ringing.
‘Hello?’ I said, groggily.
‘Hello. This is ___. I am ____’s wife. He has the tow truck and picked up your car. I am calling to see if you need anything. Do you need to go to the dealership?’
I could barely wrap my brain around what she was saying. ‘No. Thank you. I made all the arrangements yesterday. I am just waiting for their call.’
‘It’s no problem. If you need anything you tell me.’
I had no idea who this woman was.
‘I’m sorry. Who did you say you were?’ I asked her.
‘The tow truck driver’s wife. I’m sorry for my English. I just want to make sure you have what you need. And to invite you for coffee. We know you are alone and don’t have anyone to help you. Everybody knows.’
Wait – what? ‘Everybody knows?’ I asked, surprised.
‘Of course.’ She told me with a little laugh. Like it was completely normal and not at all strange to suggest such a thing. ‘I just want to make sure you are OK. You bought shoes from the daughter of my friend yesterday. You are the only American tourist here right now.’
I’m more like a refugee. And now the town is tracking my shoe purchases? I mentally reviewed my shopping from yesterday. They probably know what I’m most worried about by the Sargadelos I bought to ward off bad juju. This could be embarrassing. I’ll need to be careful what I get at the local farmacia. It seems my surmising that I have become infamous since arriving here unceremoniously in the dark of night, after taking out a couple of javalinas, wasn’t ego. It was right on the mark. We agreed to meet for a coffee today.
‘You know this one coffee shop just down the street from where your hotel is?’ I told her I did. ‘Let us meet there at 4 o’clock.’
It wasn’t until after I hung up that I realized I had not told her what hotel I was staying at. And I hadn’t told her husband on Sunday when I met him on the motorway. She wasn’t kidding ‘Everybody knows who you are’ is an actual thing here. And they know where I’m staying. The taxi driver/tow truck driver network is strong in this small town.
‘How will we know each other?’ I asked her.
‘I’m sure it will not be difficult. You will look like an American. Taller than us, and blonder.’
Not far off the mark. Although the ‘blond’ is generous. It’s more grey but I’ll take it. I’ve decided that it’s not so much that they’re interested me, specifically. It’s been a bad year. For everyone. I’m like the circus come to town after a long dry spell with no other outsiders to break the monotony. I’m the bearded lady, the high wire act, and the lion tamer all in one. Something to see and distract – I guess. I wonder if I should give them something more to talk about. Dress outlandishly. Talk to myself in a cafe or two, laughing like a mad woman! But no. This will be the town where we’ll do all our usual business. Infamy and eccentricity is one thing. A bad reputation for being crazy is quite another. I’ll keep you posted on how coffee goes. Cheers.