We picked out an apartment last week. The same day the container rush broke loose. Over here there don't seem to be any "for rent" signs and no apartment finders. There are fincas - realtor agencies that will help you, but for a fee of a months rent. Since we are in this for the short haul, the missionaries were trying to help us avoid the extra fee.
One little area has apartments and someone knows the lady etc. They showed us one apartment on our first visit. It was on the first floor and hadn't been cleaned yet from the last occupants. It seemed a little dingy and dreary, but after more searching nothing else turned up. We're only looking at a few months, but when we went back to talk to her some more it turns out there are other apartments. The beauties of communicating in a language not your own - even with someone fluent with you! We were able to see a 2-bedroom instead of a 3 in a different building. Liked it much better, but that one wasn't available it was only an example. Much lighter and brighter and cleaner. A cheery place all around. It would be another week before we could see the other ones she had coming available. People rent these by the week in the summer to stay by the beach.
A young man who turns out to be the estate agents nephew took us and pointed at the apartment he thought was the one coming available. It was on an upper story which we liked and seemed like it would have a nice view.Not that that is all important but it would get us up out of the danker atmosphere of the bottom floor. This one was on what is called the second floor here but the third floor by US standards. Ground floor is zero. The young man, Juan, is learning English and we are learning Spanish, so this works out well. We have established the words for closet (amario) and swimming pool (piscina) several times between us.
Rather than wait until only days before our move date, we decided to take the apartment without ever looking at it. Crazy? Perhaps. It just seemed like the right gamble. So for several days we had an apartment reserved we had never seen with a move in date of Aug. 30 or Sept. 1. The missionary lady helping us thought we were crazy.
The day we took our deposit by (in cash - they don't do checks here only bank account drafts), they said it happened to be empty. We approached the door marked L on the second floor with some trepidation. Turns out to be clean and bright. The furniture didn't gross us out, some of it was cute with blue plaid slipcovers. Extra beds for guests in tiny guest rooms and dishes in the kitchen, along with the washing machine. The balcony has a partial view of the sea and a big table for eating outside. The "dryer" is on the balcony - a big rack where you hang your clothes to dry.
In the winter, they drop off two space heaters that will be our source of heat. Should be interesting.
We gambled and won it looks like. It will be a relief in some ways to get in our "own" place and unpack a bit more than we have. Though there are some major challenges too such as setting up dsl, buying appliances that thus far were already in the house (an iron, a computer monitor, toaster, etc.) As of today, we are also the proud owners of a Spanish bank account in order to participate in things like telephone service etc. The man who helped us spoke "a bit" of English that was a lot more than our Spanish.
Everyday is an adventure still.