Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August is far from over but, sadly, it’s already a bad month for road fatalities, well up on last year. The better news is that – for the year todate – deaths are still 10% down on 2006. But the government can’t be at all happy with things and will surely move to further hardening of the traffic laws so as to try to bring statistics in line with other EU countries.

Yesterday I bumped into a Spanish friend who lives on the edge of Pontevedra’s old quarter and who’s not a fan of all the noise and rubbish generated during the fiesta revels. During a heated 10 or 15 minutes, I heard every Spanish swearword I’m familiar with. Plus a new word for me – tocahuevos. This translates anodynely as ‘nuisance’ but literally means ‘touch-eggs’. It doesn’t really refer to eggs, of course, but to something similar in shape. Nonetheless, as in this case, it’s used by women too. As are all the F and C words of English. The Spanish do like their palabrotas and see no reason why they should be confined to men.

A short sortie into local politics . . .

- The newly-minted Socialist-Nationalist council for Pontevedra city says that its first 100 days in office will see 16 major initiatives. As this period includes August – when virtually no one outside the tourist industry works in Spain – this can only mean a very busy September and October for our administrators. We await further news with great anticipation but have already been told that each party’s pet traffic scheme – previously opposed by its partner – will now be commissioned along with the ex-alternative. Double chaos, then.

- The president of our provincial council, I’m told, started his working life as a nightclub bouncer but is now a rather wealthy individual. As is his chauffeur, who owns a construction company which reportedly gets 93% of its income from public work contracts commissioned by the provincial and urban councils run by the PP party. My guess is it did all the impressive street-widening and traffic light installations in the president’s village. Plus the numerous street signs on every corner around there. Nice work, if you can get it.

On a more international plane - An Italian politician caught taking drugs with two whores is said to have retorted "Of course I identify with Christian values, but what have those got to do with going to bed with a prostitute?" From the plentiful evidence, you’d have to conclude this is a pretty widespread attitude in Catholic Spain as well.

My thanks to reader Mark for this example of British lunacy. When you’ve finished laughing, you can depress yourself by reading this incisive commentary on the Blair decade by Theodore Dalrymple. Strangely, British voters currently appear to think Gordon Brown had nothing to do with it.

Finally, some travel news. Ryanair have announced several new flights to Spanish airports. What they haven’t yet admitted is that they’re scrapping the flight from Liverpool to Santiago de Compostela. But you can’t get a booking beyond October and things look clear enough from here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Driving across Spain today, I noticed the overhead matrix signs were giving the numbers of deaths since 1st January (1722) alternating in Castellano and English (except in ga-Legoland, of course)- having seen some of the driving, French and Flemish/Walloon versions may have been more appropriate.