Thursday, August 16, 2007

The road fatalities in Galicia this month are at least as bad as elsewhere and this is the main item of concern for the Voz de Galicia today. In fact, it has a nice cartoon – in Gallego – showing side-by-side pictures of What used to be left at the side of the road in summer – a dog. And What is now left at the side of the road in summer – a brain.

I read the Voz in a cafĂ© on the way back from the airport, when taking a 10.45 coffee. The three men on my left at the bar ordered brandies but the wimp on my right could only manage a glass of Rioja. Of course, all the former were served in quantities 3 to 5 times larger than the standard British measure. I can’t help but wonder if there could be any link between this sort of breakfast and the road death statistics.

Listening to the radio on the way back to Pontevedra, I learned a lot about tattooing. For instance, it takes 10 sessions of 5 hours each to give you a complicated shoulder tattoo in various colours. To get rid of it would take at least 3 times longer and be prohibitively expensive, given that removing a 10cm square single-colour tattoo would cost 3,000 euros and need 12 to 18 months. But, as these are lifestyle choices and one can’t deny anyone their Human Right to be stupid and self-centred, I suspect you can get all this done free on the NHS in the UK. But, if not, it surely won’t be long before you can.

My daughter yesterday called Telefonica but unwittingly pressed the key which opted for Gallego. So the employee naturally answered in Gallego. But, despite the fact Faye is clearly foreign and spoke only in Spanish, the employee then continued in Gallego until the end of the call. Now, although speaking in Spanish would not have been a problem, using only Gallego was surely logical; but whether one regards this as logical and reasonable, logical but unreasonable or even logical but bloody rude depends, I suppose, on where you’re standing. I guess it’s possible Telefonica only uses members of the Galician Nationalist Party for this task. But, whatever the situation, the onus certainly lies on the caller to press the right key. And to be fair to Telefonica – not usually something which bothers me – I should stress they have operators who speak perfect English. Even if they’re as ignorant as their colleagues about how the company arrives at its bills.

Ryanair has announced it’s ‘resting’ its flight to Vitoria during the winter. I guess this is what they’ll tell us about the Liverpool-Santiago route shortly.

Finally, it’s reported today that, as a holiday destination, Barcelona is cheaper than Blackpool for many British tourists. Yes, but things work in Blackpool. Even if it is the most depressing place in the British Isles. What Gibraltar is to Spain, Blackpool is to the UK perhaps. Or, as an American friend used to say, the manure-shoot. Which is not to say it isn’t full of lovely people.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, could you please explain the Telefonica thing again?

Your daughter called and opted for Galician. And then the operator, who was a member of the Galician Nationalist Party, spoke to her in Galician, instead of Spanish or English, right?

That's too bad. But what can you expect from Telefonica?

It is a pity they don't outsource these services to a call centre in India, where nobody would be able to answer in Galician.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: You may find it surprising, but the Indian state of Goa used to be a Portuguese colony. Portuguese is therefore spoken by some Indians, and there's a small chance (at least in theory) that a call centre in India could actually answer in Galician (/Portuguese).

Colin: If I were your daughter, I would ask you to remove the story from your blog. I think it is actually unfair with her, since you portrayed her as a bit retarded, unable to know which key she had to press.

Gabriel said...

So now people are "retarded" for pressing the wrong number on a telephone pad? Jeez. I live next door to a wonderful little girl who is truly retarded and I myself sometimes "dial" a digit or two incorrectly -- but I don't see the resemblance between us. Go easy on your fellow humans!

Anonymous said...

when you dial the wrong number, do you also blame the person answering the phone for your mistake?