Sunday, March 02, 2008

A good chance to reminisce this weekend, with the annual competition for Miss Spain on TV for two consecutive nights. Truth to tell, though, there’s not a lot of variation between the lovely contestants – same abnormal height, same long, dark hair, same brown eyes, etc., etc. All a bit mind numbing in its lack of variety. But just in case you think it’s all rather macho, I should stress there is a Mister Spain contest as well. To please the ladies. I guess.

Talking of height, when I reached adulthood my 1.71m put me 3% above the average Spanish male. By 1980, we were neck and neck. More accurately, crown and crown. But now I’m almost 2% below the average. If this carries on, one of my main reasons for moving here will evaporate and I’ll have to head for the Kalahari desert.

Peking’s new airport has taken just four years to build. This is not much longer than the average for a block of flats here, though it can take a lot more. Looking at the statistics for the new property permits of the last three years – 651k, 866k and 730k – it’s clear that either Spain is shortly going to be full of unfinished buildings or that an awful lot of property will be hitting the market when demand and prices are already falling. I wonder what this is a recipe for.

According to the US Department of State, the real estate boom of the last decade has been fuelled by black money from drug trafficking. Astonishing. Who’d have thought it? They’ll be telling us next that this sluicing of dubious dosh lies behind the recent success of Spanish banks. And possibly that it stopped them getting into the garbage mortgage business. Truly, it’s an ill wind that blows no good. Especially if you were the state raking in 7% of all property transfers at ever-higher prices. This money is still floating around, of course, looking for an alternative home. Sad to think that, if Spain’s economy really doesn’t crash land, it’ll be largely down to pathetic folk sticking needles in themselves. And even sadder to realise that chickens invariably come home to roost.

1 comment:

El Casareño Inglés said...

I read the same DEA report and noted that the 'chickens' are here; 1 in 5 of Europe's cocaine users are in Spain which is 3% of the Spanish population.

And yet this epidemic of drug use seems almost invisible apart from the occasional gangland killings somewhere down on the Costa.

Are Spanish addicts simply more relaxed than their northern European cousins?