Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yesterday’s eclipse was the first in Galicia since the one in 1772, which I missed. And, if I’d known the next one wasn’t coming round until 2082, I would have taken more interest in it.

Another 600 Africans rushed the fences around one of the Spanish enclaves last night and 300 of them managed to get onto Spanish soil. My understanding is Spain can’t now send them back directly but must either absorb them or go through due process, hampered by the fact the illegal immigrants never have any papers revealing their country of origin. Spain has again appealed to the EU to throw money at the problem. And, right on cue, a Moroccan politician has said what Africa needs is a ‘real Marshall Plan’.

The Spanish for werewolf is hombre lobo, or wolf man. So were-rabbit would be conejo lobo. But presumably this doesn’t quite work in Spanish as the title here of Wallace and Gromit’s new film is not La MaldiciĆ³n del Conejo Lobo but La MaldiciĆ³n de Las Verduras. Or The Curse of the Vegetables. Honest.

And still on the subject of language, someone recently had one of my blogs translated into Spanish by Google’s computer. I had written about the two Spanish helicopters that crashed in Afghanistan, querying why the Spanish press had used the expression “feet above the ground”, instead of metres. I’d quoted the Spanish word for feet – pies – and the computer had taken this, assumed it was English and come up with empanadas in Spanish. So, according to Google, the 2 helicopters had been flying at 10 Cornish pasties above the ground. Think about it.

And still on Google - a friend and I have non-commercial sites about different parts of Galicia. Both of these used to appear on the first page of a search for ‘Galicia Spain’. Now they are nowhere to be seen and have been replaced by a host of commercial, much less relevant pages. He has discovered we’re falling foul of some secret filters of Google that penalise our pages for reasons unknown. This doesn’t happen with other search engines. So you might want to bear this in mind when making any future searches.

The reader who sent a query re his/her family name in a no-reply comment needs to write to my email [colindavies@terra.es] for a reply.

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