It’s been depressing to read recently the details of malpractice – if that’s a big enough word – in two abortion clinics in Barcelona and Madrid. It seems even the doctors there were completely willing to flout the law to an astonishing degree. The end result was not just abortion on demand but ‘procedures’ that took place way after the legal limit. Plus horrific methods of ‘disposal’. The good news is that everyone involved is under arrest. Let’s hope the punishment is appropriate. Perhaps a red-hot poker through the entrails.
There was a heartfelt letter in El Pais last week, from a lady asking just how long it would be before the Spanish – both male and female – stopped turning a blind eye to the scandalously horrific exploitation of [mostly foreign] women in the country’s innumerable brothels. A good question. And one which again came to mind when I saw yet another new club just outside Pontevedra this weekend.
Talking of Ponters – Our mayor is to receive an award in Madrid for his town planning measures of the last 6 or 7 years. Just in case there’s talk of imitation in your neck of the woods, you should know these will turn your entire town into a paradise for those able to walk but a true nightmare for those who need to drive. Or to try to park. Personally, I’m a great fan, as I never take my car into Pontevedra. But I do know others of a markedly different opinion. And I suspect that – environmentally speaking – all the speed bumps, the incomprehensible one-way system, the narrowing or closure of nearly every street and the resulting increase in journey times can only have served to increase emissions. So real ‘success’ will only come when people stop using their cars completely. It would be nice to think there’ll be a public transport system by this time. As yet, though, no one appears to have given much thought to this. Except the voters.
Still on the ecology – It’s astonishing how difficult it is to reduce one’s use of plastic bags, given that every retailer tries hard to put even single, pre-wrapped products in them. And how they look at you when you decline the bag – as if you’re guilty of the crime of being a rude, ‘uneducated’ foreigner. Who deserves a red-hot poker through his entrails.
Coming down to grubby economics – The Spanish Prime Minister – Mr Zapatero – says that, if the socialists are returned to power next March, they’ll ensure Spaniards have the highest per capita income in the EU within 10 years. This will be some achievement. And I suspect those struggling with both inflation which everyone thinks is way above the official 4.1% and with ever-rising mortgage payments will suspect Mr Z of living in a parallel universe. Assuming, of course, they pay any attention at all to pre-election statements of intention and aspiration.
A Spanish technology company, Tecnocom, is developing the first voice synthesiser in Gallego. This is being funded by our regional government, the Xunta, so I wonder if calls to their offices in Santiago will eventually be handled entirely by a machine which refuses to respond if you try to engage it in Spanish. Just like the urban planning officer in one town up in the hills.
Which reminds me, thanks to a helpful reader I was able to track down a copy of the Xunta’s English-Spanish-Gallego phrasebook at out local Turismo office. Though they did seem to have to go down into the basement for it. However, I ran into problems straight away when I used the expression A facer as beiras on a ladyfriend, having read it meant to chat up. Or ligar in Spanish. She said she hadn’t the faintest idea what I was talking about. Though, to be honest, when I checked later with my cleaner, she did. And was highly amused in the process. I do hope a misunderstanding hasn’t arisen . . .