Monday, March 27, 2006

It’s pot luck what I will find in the forest when I walk the dogs between 10 and 11 of a morning. Yesterday it was a gypsy doing some fly-tipping from his van. Today it was a semi-naked couple in the back of a 4x4 who seemed to be shooting up, either before or after a bout of horizontal jogging. From the bang on the window when I innocently squeezed past – the vehicle was blocking the path – I think they had the effrontery to object to my being in the forest. Or perhaps it was a friendly greeting.

I was nearly hit yet again on the zebra crossing down by the bridge into town. This time it was because a white van was parked across a quarter of the crossing. But it had its emergency lights on and, in Spain, this means the vehicle is now invisible and so can’t be causing an offence or a nuisance. Or that the driver knows he is but simply doesn’t care. Or both.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve noticed how each of the Sky TV announcers [I refuse to call them reporters] has come to use a pronunciation of words such as total, battle, little and hospital which involves what I call a semi-glottal stop. I’ve theorised this is an outcrop of the dreadful ‘estuary English’ which became fashionable among the young a few years back but I’ve not been able to find any support for this on the net. Ironically, a visitor from the UK recently commented to one of my friends here that I’d adopted the Spanish T. This, of course, is nonsense; I simply pronounce it the way it used to be said in English, whilst he has joined the mob.

Talking to a Spanish friend who works in local government, I said how impressed I’d been to read the Vigo authorities had announced they would pull down a massive block of flats which included 7[!] more floors than permitted by the licence. He looked at me with incredulity, laughed at my naivety and asked me whether I seriously thought anything would be done. Why not, I asked. I’ll leave you to guess at the answer.

Someone has calculated that the proposed tightening of the traffic rules would mean 5,000 Galicians a year going to jail for doing 60kph more than the speed limit and/or driving at double the permitted alcohol level. But not for flouting the building regulations, I guess.


Balcius said...

You should try to understand -it's not easy, I know- how Galicia grows up... builds up, I would rather say. It's somehow the medieval way, like the village arround the castle.

Most of houses arround the city are built with no licence, according with no architectural project and out of any regulation. Some years later, the city eats that area, and it's presence is not something that you can discuss, they ARE there. So the native starts a process of "legalization", consisting in moving papers, moving money, moving influences, and after that process, he has his house, less money that he would if he made it legal from the beginning, and he owes lots of FAVOURS. He's happy, anyway, because he thinks he has fooled someone, and that's a major pleasure for him.

I'm affraid that, within the mind of this kind of people, law and regulations is just something to jump over, to show everyone how high he can reach.

The only people getting some real advantage from all this are those favour-collectors, the well known "caciques", the owner of the castle, mainly politicians or bankers. Well, you have probably noticed where their power comes from.

OK, don't try to understand it, I've been here all of my life and I'm still confused.

acedre said...

Gustame o humor con que tomas os asuntos como o da parella no coche facendo "horizontal jogging".
Eu tamen odio a xente que pon as luces de emerxencia que cren que lle dan dereito a tirar co coche no medio do caminho.
O asunto dos edificios ilegais explicacho mui ben balcius.
Por ultimo dicir que tes un galego mui bo. Xa me gustaria a min saber escribir ingles asi.
Un saudo.