Its a tribute to Spain and its culture that foreigners who take up residence here feel there’s more than enough compensation for the frequent hassle in getting things done expeditiously. For example, my daughter in Madrid was telling me tonight how she’d had to go to 4 shops before getting the phone card she wanted. In 3 of them she got the standard unhelpful response of ‘No’, without any suggestion of ordering one or indication as to where she might find one. But I do wonder – she being young enough to enjoy the nightlife and me being old enough to have acres of time – is there a ‘middle’ group of foreigners who don’t view the net balance as positive? The poor buggers who work all day and look after kids all evening, for example. Though this would probably rule out most of the men.
I’ve written too much about both corruption and the Spanish economy recently but, nonetheless, here’s a couple of comments from UK commentators on the current French pressure on the European Central Bank:- "The ECB faces an impossible task because there is no such thing as Euroland: there are groups of countries going different ways. Germany has clawed back competitiveness by squeezing its economy but Italy, France, Spain and others have been enjoying property booms. Boom goes bust." “The fundamental problem is that the economies of the ‘Germanic’ members have diverged so far from those of the ‘Latin’ bloc that the single interest rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB) is becoming a huge political liability”.
When a singer mimes to a record on TV – possibly called ‘lip-synching’ these days - this is known as El playback in Spanish. And Le playback in French. So ‘playback’ must be of Latin origin. Who’d have guessed it?
Astonishingly, there are at least 16 [sixteen!] national and local daily newspapers on the stands here. The leader of the pack is the Voz de Galicia, which had an ‘audience’ of 663,000 a day between February and November this year. This is more than twice as much as the next paper and gives it a national ranking of 6th.
By the way, a Spanish friend of mind searching for ‘twenty-second’ today came up with ‘twenty-twoth’. Which I prefer.