Here's an example of the sometimes maddening experiences with the authorities in Spain, which I found on an interesting site called Red Queen Musings
Confused? – You will be.
''Yesterday OH and I went to the Ayuntamiento in Arona to get a Certificado de Viajes; this is the document that allows discounts to European nationals who are resident in the Canary Islands. After taking a ticket and waiting for half an hour we were seen by a man who said he could not issue one because we had the A4 green form and needed the new wallet sized one.
Our Spanish isn´t that good and I was probably looking suitably dumbfounded as our residencia document supposedly never expires! But this also shocked the couple who were standing behind us and questioned the man at the desk. After a bit of toing and froing the man confirmed, No he says you definitely need the small green form not the one you have.
Today we decided that we would go to the police station in Las Americas and get the new paperwork. Before we could do this we needed an up to date Empadronamiento (these only last 6 months). It is the paperwork that proves that you have been registered on the Municipal Padron as living at your current address. So again armed with a book to fill in the hours we would probably be killing until our number was called we headed off to the Culture Centre in Los Cristianos.
Now this is where it gets interesting and makes it extremely difficult to advise people on what they should and shouldn´t do in order to survive living in Tenerife. We told the lady at the desk when our number 121 was called after an hour, that we wanted the paperwork to renew our Residencia. She shrugged and asked why and when we told her she shook her head and said rubbish. Our paperwork was all correct, it did not have an expiry date and she could issue us with the Certificado de Viajes, which she proceeded to do.
I am now convinced that Tenerife is the place where the term not knowing your arse from your elbow originated.
So this was our experience, I would hesitate to tell anyone else how to do it because they could have a totally different experience depending on the location of their town hall or even the mood of the employee, on a particular day...''