Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The draw for the Christmas lottery - El Gordo – was made today. Of the €2.3billion receipts, €1.8billion [yes, billion] was returned to punters and €0.5billion retained by the Treasury. This windfall for the government possibly explains why the process for arriving at the winners is more complex and formalised than the state opening of Parliament by the British Queen. And, at over 4 hours, quite a bit longer. With the biggest prize being only €2.0million and the smallest around €100, there are an awful lot of lucky numbers to generate and announce. The worst aspect of this is that the latter is done by teams of kids who sing out the numbers in plain chant. This is clearly a long-standing tradition and I suppose that, if you’ve grown up with it, it might have some appeal for you. Personally, after ten minutes, I felt like machine gunning the entire crew. This would have been particularly bad form as some of them had Arabic-sounding names.

The Galician police have announced that a recent series of spot checks netted only 167 people over the alcohol limit. As this was out of more than 10,000 drivers randomly tested, I assume they did most of the checking outside the churches on Sunday evenings.

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