The Word on the Street

International Edition - October 2012


News and Information from Spain


Welcome to the October issue of 'The Word on the Street'. Your monthly news and information from Spain provided by Ábaco Asesores. In a couple of columns we hope to keep you in touch with the news, events and just a little bit of gossip.

Terra Mitica, Benidorm

Terra Mitica, Benidorm
Costa Blanca

Getting your money back - prescriptions

We have taken a lot of queries recently about prescription charges and when money will be paid back to those who have reached their maximum monthly contribution. The good news from information taken from the Costa Blanca News (October 5-11) is that:

- chemists have passed information electronically through SIP cards

- the information about how much is to be returned is determined electronically

- money will be paid directly into bank accounts

However, there will be cases where the details of the patient's bank account are not known. It is only likely that the authorities will have this information if you make an annual resident tax declaration.

If you haven't made one of these you may well have to complete a form to enable the repayment to take place. For information about how to do this, the CBN suggests you speak to your local health centre.

Patients will be reimbursed every three months in Valencia but it is likely to be every six months in other parts of Spain.

This has been an ongoing story with advice changing so many times that we can only begin to hope that we've reached the definitive version.

Clear up confusions with the consulate

No doubt, confusion over prescriptions and health care will be one of the frequently asked questions when British nationals have chance to quiz the 'experts'. On 30th October at 9.30 they are invited to the 'ConeXions' event in Casa de la Cultura, Calpe.

There will be representatives there from the Valencia healthcare department and the Spanish 'trafico' department. The British consulate is coordinating the event which will be attended by the Consul Paul Rodwell. There is no need to register and entrance will be on a first come first served basis.

For more details of the event:

Good news on energy

We become so used to energy prices going up that it's very difficult to believe that they are, in fact, going down.

Believe it or not the cost of electricity and butane gas has fallen. From October 1st the price for a 12.5 kilo bottle of butane fell by 77 cents to 16.10 euros and the standard basic rate of electricity fell by 2.29%. These will be very welcome reductions especially with the drop in temperatures just beginning in Spain.

Book club slot

The recommendations continue. This time the setting is Valencia for Jason Webster's books. Apparently he uses Cabanyal, a fisherman's quarter in Valencia, as a setting. Finding out a little more about this area it appears it has been under threat of demolition to make way for a new road. A campaign was launched to stop the building plan from going ahead. The proposed demolition has been fiercely attacked by locals and not-so-locals. You can find out more about Cabanyal and this intriguing area:

For anyone who might/ might not be interested I have just finished 'The Hand of Fatima' by Idelfonso Falcones. A long, long book but I really enjoyed it and did something I never usually do - skip to the end to confirm that it's a happy one. There's only so much snivelling I can do at the end of the day!

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Important update about Imserso

You might be stunned this month to see how early our October newsletter is released. It's no mirage. We wanted to let people know as soon as possible the most recent information about the Imserso Spanish holiday programme. Please see our letter for the latest information.

The Spanish are happy to donate

But this time it's not to charities but hospitals. The headline is that 17% of all registered organ donations in the EEC are in Spain. Therefore one in five of all donations in Europe are Spanish. In 2011 there were more than 4,200 transplants carried out. The greatest number of transplants are for kidneys followed by liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and intestine. Congratulations - this is one statistic about which Spain can be truly proud.

Fair cop

A new draft penal code for Spain has been published. If you would like to find out more about what you can't do and what punishment you might get if you do, click here:

Some of the main headlines seem to be:

- Stalking or harassing a woman will receive up to two years imprisonment

- It will be a crime to distribute intimate images even with someone's consent

- The distribution of messages which incite public order offences or 'alteration of public order' will be punished (no doubt aimed at twitter)

- 12 month sentence for anyone deactivating an electronic device

There is a strong theme of measures designed to address the threat of public disturbance. As always there is a fine line between allowing freedom of speech and preventing violent protests.

If you ever doubted that anyone can become a hero at any time - here is the proof

Alberto Casillas, from Madrid, shot to fame overnight due to his courageous actions on behalf of others. The Madrid café owner, allowed fleeing demonstrators to shelter in his café from police during demonstrations. His action meant he had to cancel the birthday celebrations with his 24 year old son who turned out to be quite happy to exchange the celebratory drink with his father for becoming the son of a celebrity.

Becoming a local

There is an interesting topic discussion in Eye On Spain about how you know you've become a local. There are some quite amusing responses. Contributions include:

- when you eat lunch at 2.30 and have dinner after 9.00

- when you see whole skinned rabbits at the meat counter and you're not shocked anymore

- when you order a beer at McDonalds

- when you feel rude if you don't kiss someone you've just met on both cheeks

- when you are given a nickname by the locals

- when you support the local football team and not one back in your home country

What do you think makes you a 'local?'

For more suggestions:

Buy your own town for 59,000 euros

For such a measly sum you can buy your own abandoned village. Apparently there are a number of villages available for sale, particularly in the north of the country. As their existing population 'moved on' and their young people left to find work they have been left unpopulated. If you are interested in investing in your own community why not try:


Who's afraid?

Of Hallowe'en? It's not actually a traditional Spanish occasion but any excuse to dress up and enjoy yourself tends to be embraced enthusiastically here. So you will find plenty of evidence that it's the night when ghouls, ghosts and witches are about. If you want to make the most of the occasion you could visit Terra Mitica in Benidorm which is hosting its own Halloween celebration from the 6th October:

Not to be outdone PortAventura have also organised their own way of marking the event with a discount package:

Spain does have its more traditional celebration of the darker side to life with its, 'El Dia de los Muertos' (Day of the Dead) or 'Todos los Santos' (All Saints' Day) This takes place on November 1st / 2nd when people remember those they've lost. It's most avidly celebrated in Mexico but is also a national bank holiday or 'red' day in Spain. This year the bank holiday falls on Thursday 1st.

As you might expect, there are a number of traditions surrounding the occasion which is far less morbid than you might expect. A popular activity is watching a performance of 'Don Juan Tenorio' with themes of damnation a little bit like Dr. Faustus but with a happier ending. For more information about Todos los Santos:

To familiarise yourself with the story of Don Juan Tenorio:

Knowing your cava from your champagne

Cava is not the same as champagne but it has more than a passing resemblance to it. A sparkling glass of Cava has plenty of the feel-good-factor that comes with its more expensive French alternative. It has become increasingly popular as a celebratory drink in Spain.

A lot of the cava we drink is produced in Cataluña and Codorniu and Freixenet are two of the best known makes.'Proper' cava can be distinguished from its imitators by the four-pointed star on the cork. It comes with different degrees of sweetness including from least to most sweet:

- Brut nature
- Extra Brut
- Brut
- Extra seco
- Seco
- Semi-seco
- Dulce

It doesn't improve with age and should be stored in a cool but not a cold place. Cheers!

Port Aventura, Salou
Costa Dorada

TKO and radio stations

We know that the loss of some local radio stations has caused concern locally and to non-residents who listen online. We understand that the situation is a temporary one and we're told that, 'since 1997 no-one has had to apply for a full licence and there are 2,000 radio stations without licences.'

We were informed by another local broadcaster that there are 31 licences available for the Costa Blanca. Some radio stations have presented licence applications and are on air but are waiting for the licence to be issued.

Hopefully, our local radio stations will soon be regularised and we'll all be able to tune in again.

The best of Europe - in cartoons

Some people can find the funny side to any situation, even the difficulties being experienced in the EEC. For a satirical look in cartoon form go to:

Here you'll find a collection of award-winning political cartoons. Which one's your favourite?


Ábaco Asesores: (+34) 96 670 3748

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