Down at the mundane level - I went to pick up my liberated mobile at the phone shop yesterday morning and found the place empty of customers. Even better, my phone was ready and the young lady had beautiful green eyes. So I then took myself off to the Movistar shop for my 8th and, hopefully, last visit. Things started well there, too, as the only customer in front of me quickly departed. And they proceeded satisfactorily until I asked for a copy of the contract . . .
OK. I see the contract started on 6 August and it's the fibre optic Fusion contract. (€45 a month)?
You must be joking. Fibre! I can't even achieve a speed of 1 mega and sometimes it's as low as 0.2 megas. It's the ordinary phone-line Fusion contract at €35 a month.
OK. Let's see now. [Takes names and numbers from me, including my passport number]
While you're doing that, can you tell me how I can improve my download speed?
Well, it's very low in your barrio so there's nothing we can do. You could call Movistar's Customer Service line but they won't be able to help you either.
Yes, I know. I was wondering whether there was anything I could do to boost the signal.
No, you just have to wait until they strengthen it in your barrio.
I've already been waiting 12 years.
Well, that's all you can do. Oh, it seems we have a problem with the computer. It's saying that the data it has for your fixed line is not the same as the data I've put in for the mobile line. Let's check.
Well, you have Colin spelt as Colis so that may be it.
No, the problem is around your identity document number.
Well, the number in the fixed line contract of 12 years ago is my old passport number. Maybe we should put in my current passport number for both.
No. That doesn't work. Let's try your Residence Permit number. . . . No. That doesn't work either. I think I have to change the details on the original contract so that we can make them coincide with those on your new mobile contract. This will take some time [i. e. It's time for me to knock off for lunch]. I'll do it tonight or in the morning so all will be OK if you come back tomorrow.
As I walk away from the shop, the thought occurs there might be a very simple reason why Spaniards tend to be slim and live so long. Their lives involve a lot of unnecessary but healthy walking. Nothing to do with the bloody Mediterranean diet. I also thought it's a racing certainty Movistar will charge me 45 euros for one month, at the very least.
Watching the X Factor in the UK, I noted Sharon Osbourne now looks younger than her daughter. As does Isabel "It's just good skin care" Preysler here in Spain. And, thanks to the fact my new TV gives me Spanish programs via WiFi, I see that stalwart of daytime TV, Ana Rosa Quintana, looks a lot younger than she did when I first saw her 12 years ago. But who's to blame them for going under the knife? Certainly not me. I'd certainly consider it myself, if I hadn't retained my youthful looks. [Talking of TV, if anyone knows how to fix a Humax recorder stuck on one channel (not BBC4 but bloody Sky News!), I'd appreciate hearing it]
Finally . . . I went with friends to one of Pontevedra's 3 or 4 Italian restaurants the other night. The dessert menu included 'Nesquik ice cream'. Would this happen in Italy, I wondered. Later in the evening, I realised I'd brought home my serviette and that what I hadn't come back with was my sun hat. They were quite happy to exchange things the next day, amidst much (polite) laughter.