Friday, January 20, 2006

Here’s a bit of news that could well surprise many people – in this rather dry country, the per capita consumption of water is higher than in ‘central European’ countries. Possibly because it’s still relatively cheap here.

And here’s a bit of news that probably won’t surprise anyone – Spain is the EU country which most exceeds its fish quotas and against whom the most complaints are progressing in Brussels.

I wrote a couple of days ago of how foreigners perceive Spanish manners. It strikes me there’s one situation in which the Spanish are too polite, though this in the end also irritates non-Latins. Such is the profoundly oral and face-to-face nature of this society that very few people can resist responding to someone who addresses them, even if they’re already talking to sombody else. My impression is it’s considered rude not to respond. Very few Spaniards, I suspect, go through their day [or any part of it] ensuring they’re not interrupted. Or saying on the phone ‘Sorry, I can’t speak to you right now; I’ve talking to someone else.’ This willingness to respond does nothing, of course, for one’s concentration, continuity and, thus, efficiency. And it may help to explain why the Spanish – we are regularly told - work the longest hours in Europe but have the lowest productivity.

In the past few days, I’ve had well over 100 phishing emails purportedly from two Spanish banks. I find it hard to believe there’s anyone in the world still taken in by these. And impossible to credit suspicions wouldn’t be raised by a veritable torrent of them. This probably explains why I’m not rich.

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