After living for quite a while in the green part of Las Palmas, Ciudad Gardin (right next to the worlds richest person, the owner of the IKEA) it became time to find a bigger place. Our new apartment is a bit more in the center of the city. The building is well knows as the old x-rated theater but now the building is change to have nice spacy apartments in the center of the city. We now have a garage and a lot of shops nearby.
Alex is very excited because of the move. He is very enthusiastic and sleeps with difficulty. For sure this new found source of energy is because he is now noticing a lot of moving activity around him. He now has two weeks to settle down in his new home and then there will be a big party. His first birthday!!!
During our visit to the Netherlands we spend a couple of days at my brothers place. He had just bought a nice new car, an Audi A3. He had the car for only a couple of weeks, and it is usually parked right in front of his door in a quiet residential area in the Hague. Everything seemed okay, but something very unexpected happened. One morning we suddenly encountered a big gaping hole in the door, just below the lock.
Ofter filing an online report at the police department and the insurance agency we visited a mechanic and got some very clear information. He hole was clearly made to rob the built in navigation. The thieves were interrupted during their work, and left just after making the hole, and before entering the car. The car window was still intact, because breaking the windows triggers the alarm. A big hole in the door is ignored by the alarm system and allowed the thieves to open the door without triggering the alarm..
Taking the car home without repair would imply that the navigation system would for sure be stolen that night. The car was left at the mechanics to repair and reinforce the door, but the previsions are not very good.
We also received some unofficial information. The thieves will be back for sure. The door will be reinforces but probably it will not be enough, of the thieves will return with bigger equipment. The navigation system is said to be worth just 10 euros in the south of Europe. I doubt if this is really the price, because a new navigation system costs around 1500 euros. The current solution is a big metal bar connected to the steering wheel, which extends to hover before the navigation system. Hopefully this will deter any thieves.
It is a very strange sensation. Our car breaks down every couple of months. I always take the car to the same mechanic, because I believe I’ll be less likely to be cheated being a loyal customer. As a foreigner I run an even bigger risk of receiving highly inflated bills.
Sometimes I receive very little benefit from my loyalty to our mechanic, who sometimes likes to be creative calculating the hours he spends on our car but ever since I returned his screwdriver to him I notice a difference. Our most recent problem was a warm liquid that was dripping on the passengers feet. A liquid with a very obnoxious smell.
We quickly realized something was wrong about a wet car and pulled over. After a quick checkup I found out it was the cooling liquid, Quickly I added almost 3 liters of water to the cooling reserve and we continued our drive home.
According to the mechanic the problem was with the heating. The cheap solution was the disable the entire heating system. Result: 30 euro. A very nice price.
Our car turning into a sad story all the time. The alarm was dismantled, he heating does not work anymore, the paint job was destroyed because I cleaned the car with a very tough sponge and at some spots rust is appearing. How much longer will she survive?
For almost four years we have been renting our little apartment in the middle of the city, in a very green area. The area is called ‘Ciudad Jardin‘, which means city garden.
Our problem is that there is another apartment for rent in our block. According to the website where the apartment is advertised the rent they ask is higher than ours, but we overheard a salesperson talking to potential renters, and this salesperson commented that there was space to negotiate and they could drop the rent for the apartment to 100 euro less. A bit strange to have these negotiations out loud when other renters are nearby, but we’ll just have to profit from this information.
We never had problems with our rent, but now that we know there is room to negotiate, of course we also want a lower rent! Even more so because we are exemplary renters and we made a lot of improvements to our apartment. We painted, repaired and improved. We even addressed the deterioration of the neighborhood and made the area a better place to stay.
Lets see if we can get a new lower rent, and if I can convince Ana to start the negotiations. Due to the crisis rents have dropped everywhere, except for us. We are even renting two apartments now. One for us and one nearby for Ana’s parents. There must be room for negotiation!
I was just called by the mechanic that yesterday charged me two hours for one hour of work. As it seems he is missing some tool, and he presumes the tool is located under the hood of our car. Well, that’s a coincidence.
The mechanic even claimed that I should leave my job and go home to check the car, get to tool, and bring it by his garage. I think he must have been on some kind of mind altering chemical to make these pretty outrageous demands.
We made the deal that this afternoon I would look for his tool and afterwards we will see.
- Phone inquiry: Free
- Search: Half hour (15 euro)
- Return product: Half hour, plus gas and deduction costs car
- Rounded up: 40 euro
I’m planing to tell him to come and get his tool, or he can wait until I pass by when I’m in the neighborhood.
Result: I am to good for this world. In the end we had to be in the neighborhood, van I delivered the screwdriver to his porch. Still, I managed to secure a discount for the next job. Now I only hope he will remember about this discount, but might he forget I still have the photo proof.
Since we are living in Las Palmas we take our car on a regular basis to the same garage ‘Taller Peru’. Thanks to our old seat we provide our mechanic with a steady flow of jobs. The weird thing is that is seems like our car has a completely new problem almost every month. In recent months we experienced:
The most recent problem with the windscreen wipers was solved quickly and for the nice round amount of 80 euros. The weird thing was the invoice. We needed to pay 2 hours of work (30 euros an hour) plus some small parts like oil and rubbers. Only the car had been in the garage only a single hour! Maybe we need to find us a different garage.
It always happens on the worst possible moment. One day before I needed to pick up my pregnant wife from the airport the cars cooling liquid is forcing its way out of the engine. A situation that does not make me very happy.
I just went to do some shopping and had parked in a gas station. I wanted to fill up the car with its favorite juice, but as soon as I stopped driving I noticed a big cloud of white smoke and a very peculiar smell coming from under the hood. Oh-oh!
It seems the temperature indication is also a bit defective, because it kept indicating the motor was quite cool. My plan is to first relax, have a beer and accept the situation. Tomorrow I’ll have a talk with our mechanic.
The bamboo solution was reasonably successful in returning peace and quit to our home, but it was not the solution we wanted.
Prior to this solution a number of things had occurred. Discussions with the homeless person, the police would not move a finger, contacting the land lord, a letter to IKEA, investigating Ingvar, you name it. Sadly nothing proved sufficient in addressing the fundamental issues we were facing.
Apparently one of our actions did have an effect. And what an effect it was! This morning I was confronted with the solution to all our problems. A huge fence was blocking all access to the property. A big 2 meter high fence with impressive thick steel bars. Now nobody will be able to enter or exit the property. Apparently the ball started to roll and someone took his responsibility.
Sometimes a solution to a problem is so obvious and so simple that it is astonishing and makes you doubt whether the solution is real or you’re having a strange dream. This solution occurred during our adventure with the house of the richest man in the world. After contacts with our landlord, the local police and even a letter to Ingvar himself, we thought of a creative solution.
It was very easy. We bought a bamboo mat and hammered it against an open wall. This was a type of wall that allowed the homeless to see into our home and allowed us to see the homeless. The bamboo mat blocked all vision that both parties had. We placed some plants against the mat so have a visually pleasing effect.
The result: One day later the homeless person was gone. His old place was cleaned up and the nuisance was ended. There was another homeless living near the pool but this one we cannot see or notice, so we don’t mind. Problem solved.
The situation with our ‘neighbors‘ is still the same and has not improved. Myself and my pregnant wife are getting more and more annoyed by the situation and by the lack of action undertaken by the parties involved.
It was my idea to send a letter to the owner of the property where the homeless were staying but it proved difficult to find the address of the world richest person, Ingvar. I did found out he had a foundation called INGKA that is under his supervision and that controls all administrative affairs of IKEA. A foundation that is actually located in the Netherlands. To this foundation I sent the following letter.
Dear Ingvar Kamprad or representative,
Although you will surely not know me, I would like to introduce myself shortly and address an issue that effects us both. My name is Adrie Berg, and I live in Las Palmas. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting you, we are in fact neighbors. I live next door to your property in the ‘Lope de Vega’ street. We have in fact been neighbors for the last 3 years that I live in Las Palmas even though no-one lived on your property during that time.
The view of my window is over your backyard and the small path you take to enter the backyard. The access to your garden is blocked by a big iron garden door. Sadly, the last few month my home is troubled by some homeless people that have taken refuge in your backyard. These homeless are demanding that we are quiet from around 7 o’clock at night because they leave the house around 6:30 in the morning. As a result my wife is uncomfortable in using the balcony of our own home.
We have talked to the police, but they will not act until the homeless person inflicts physical harm. We have also contacted the agency whose phone number appears on the building, but they don’t really seem to care about the situation.
My wife is pregnant and this raises concern and we would like to address this situation. My suggestion is that you either fix and sell the property which is in a beautiful area, or assign someone to take care of the property. If you want I can take care of this task, but you will need to provide me with some way to enforce my power over the property to remove the homeless, and make the property livable.
Please inform me that you will take appropriate steps the resolve this situation and feel free to contact me with any doubts or questions you might have.
The question is whether this letter will ever be seen by the right person. I have my doubts and suspect it will end up unread in the trash but it doesn’t hurt to try.