Monday, July 25, 2005

A Spanish company which calls itself ‘The most advanced medico-aesthetic company in Europe’ is advertising a new product. This is the ‘intra-gastric balloon’, which is inserted in your stomach and inflated to make you feel full. A graphic-cum- photo was required for their full-page ads and this, naturally, turned out to be not of an obese matron but of a slim young lady, naked from neck to groin. This must be the aesthetic bit.

All of which reminds me - I still don’t have a taker for my slimming guide, How to Lose Weight by Eating Less and Exercising More. I fear this is because it only has one chapter. Well, line really. And this is the same as the title. But there’s a long Preface. Perhaps I should put a picture of a nude young woman on the front. And the back.

Galicians are said to have an even greater affinity with their land than other Spaniards. In fact, I’m not sure the Spanish for homesickness – morriña – isn’t a Galician word. This may explain why they’re the second largest group of returning émigrés after the Madridleños. Today, in fact, was Galicia’s national day, coinciding with the feast day of the region’s patron saint, St. James. Or Santiago. I caught a few minutes of the celebrations on the local channel this evening and was interested to note that Galicia’s ‘national’ anthem is so mournful it makes God Save the Queen sound like a Scott Joplin rag. Especially when accompanied by massed bagpipes. Miguel Fraga appeared to be as familiar with the words as John Redwood famously was with those of the Welsh anthem.

Reading about Lance Armstrong yesterday, I was confused by a reference to the Elysian Fields [Los Campos Eliseos]. And then it dawned on me this was the Champs Elysée. This left me wondering whether it’s customary to translate foreign landmarks into Spanish. Plaza de Trafalgar? Gran Ben? If so, I wonder what they make of The Mall. El Centro Comercial, perhaps. Probably not.

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