Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A welcome step in the direction of consumer protection today. The Catalan government is obliging all phone companies to open an office in every town of more than 10,000 souls. This is to give long-suffering customers a fighting chance of getting their complaints/queries dealt with in a country where you tend to be ignored once you’ve been locked in to a contract. Let’s hope it catches on in the rest of Spain.

In another positive step - this time much closer to home - the town council has said it’ll be building a municipal tip. This will accommodate such things as the old mattresses regularly left propped up against the street rubbish bins. A few days ago, there were two of these alongside the track in the forest behind my house. But today only one. Someone must have been pretty desperate.

Construction projects take a long time in Spain, one reason being things regularly enter a state of suspension. The photo below shows a digger which did a few minutes work on a nearby plot over a month ago but which hasn’t moved since. If and when the weeds grow up the side of it, I’ll take another. But at least it hasn’t been stolen, as it surely would have been in the UK by now.

You’ll be keen to know the winning bullfighter for the recent season was El Fandi. He was way out on top, with 110 Ovations, 210 Ears and 11 Tails. He was also the unanimous favourite of the surviving bulls, though there weren’t enough of these to manage an ovation.

If you’re bored with my complaints about the high costs and low efficiency of Spanish banks, skip this paragraph. It’s only Tuesday but so far this week I’ve … 1. finally received a reply to an email sent 6 weeks ago; 2. been charged 5% commission for depositing a cheque, plus 28 cents postage ‘because the issuing bank is in another town’; 3. spent 20 minutes on the phone [premium rate no doubt] trying to get a new bank card activated; and 4. been asked on the phone not only to give all the personal details I provided during a special trip to the bank last week to get a credit card but also to fax [not mail, note] a copy of my identity card. If you’re thinking of living here, you can’t say you haven’t been warned about this wearisome, time-consuming and irritating aspect of Spanish life. Thank God there are so many compensations.

For new readers – If you’ve arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, you might find my non-commercial guides interesting – at colindavies.net

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