Did I mention that the GF has been unwell ? it's lasted 3 weeks and comes and goes, more coming than going. Every time she feels better we go out for a bike ride and the rather persistent cool breeze knocks her back again. So she felt rough on Saturday after the ride across the salt marshes when the return trip was into the breeze and by Sunday morning I had to do something. Phoned our medical insurance and explained the situation and then spoke to a nurse. They had a dedicated Spanish desk and they looked up our location and advised that we went to the Ramon Jimenez Hospital in Huelva which was on their list of Ok places. Huelva is 35 miles away so our friendly taxi was summoned again at 10.30 and off we went. Checking in was ok after I shut her up and told her that my muy poco espanol was better than her no habla espanol so let me do the talking for both of us..we were soon whisked into the system and taken to the classification room ( as we later realised ) where a very nice lady nurse/doctor spoke no english whatsoever - and why not, it is Spain after all. Having established the language barrier, the lady clutched her chest in the bosom area and said 'Dolores' ; The gf clutched her bosom and said 'Felicity'; the lady pointed to her back and said 'Dolores'; the gf said 'Felicity' and smiled. This continued for some moments, until the lady had pointed to most of her upper body, crying 'Dolores' and the gf smiling and crying 'Felicity'. Sensing a misunderstanding, I was thumbing through the Berlitz Useless Phrase Book until I discovered that Dolores? means pain? and that she was not introducing herself in a friendly fashion as the gf had assumed, merely trying to locate any pain in a businesslike manner.Gosh how we all laughed.
Start again with acting,pointing and muy poco espanol until some sort of diagnosis was reached. This is when we discovered that we were in classification and not in front of a doctor. We could have been sent to Area A which was empty, Area C which had 4 customers or Area B which had about 50 people .......no prizes for guessing where we were sent without any idea of the system. Time revealed that the system was train-station type loudspeaker announcement which sent people through swing doors to oblivion. After an hour and a half of wondering whether we missing something and my muy poco espanol eliciting that time as we know it ceased to exist in this place (although, strangely enough, not in the carpark where the taxi meter appeared to function in real time quite satisfactorily). However at the precise moment I was enquiring how long it would be, the station announcer launched into something which included ' Felicity Joyce'so we crashed through the swing doors. Our Only problem was that we had failed to understand the subsequent instructions and now stood in the midst of mayhem in the A&E ward like spare pricks at a wedding. Fortunately we were rescued by the man who was probably next in the queue who had watched our hesitant entry and now followed us in to say 'Cuatro' and point down the corridor where there was indeed a Room 4 and a young lady doctor expecting us.
To cut a long story, after no hablo inglese, and my offer to ring the insurers who had said that they would translate if we had a problem, a dishy young male doctor was located who spoke english. The GF got her wish of someone to shine a light down her throat and she was told she had Pharyngitis. The antibiotics she had been taking since wednesday (supplied by her dentist before we left the uk in case an abscess flared up) were pronounced the correct treatment but the dosage was inadequate and probably useless. So we given a prescription for 875mg tablets ( hers were 125mg), a new linctus for the cough and tablets that fizz in water to help the bronchial relief and sent on our way. The berlitz useless phrasebook does not tell you how to say 'thank you, you have been very helpful'but it does supply you a number of phrases on how to pick up gay men in a bar. I just bowed,smiled and said gracias a lot.
Our taxi driver was still waiting and for the 70 mile/3.5 hour journey charged us €70 and wouldn't take a tip which seemed fair enough on a sunday morning. So the Gf spent 3 days in bed, and is now up and about again although still sniffing but not coughing and feeling like **** and the white spots in her throat have all gone. The insurers rang on monday and tuesday to check progress which was nice, and have now closed the case.
NB. For interest, I did take the tour of the fish markets and, as it turned out, the finer old buildings of Isla Cristina. The fish port is the main one in Andalucia, with a fleet of over 300 ships and is a rarity in that every catch is sold daily in total, so that everything is fresh. The auction is computerised, boxes of fish on a long conveyor belt which are weighed with details of the trawler they come from and as each box reaches a red line it stops whilst a dutch auction starts counting down . Buyers in the stand press a button on their hand held controllers to stop the auction when they feel the price is right and they want to buy. The variety of fish is enormous, and some boxes only have 1 or 2 fish in them. A lot of buyers are from local restaurants and they are looking for relatively small lots. The area is famous for its clams of which tons are landed daily. There's a lot of fish in the sea.