It was not all bad news on the economy from the President this week. Spanish per capita income passed that of Italy in 2007 and is now 107% of the EU average. This puts it after France, Germany and the UK – on 111, 113 and 116 respectively. But this was before the construction bubble went pop. And how things will be after Spain’s gone backwards for a while is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, if you want an amusing take on today’s Italy, here it is.
Back in Spain, here’s a sign of the times. A $540k house that you can now snap up for a mere €430k. Possibly less, as my guess is the owner bought it off plan and can now clearly not afford the mortgage which financed his speculative venture . . .
Incidentally, at the bottom of the photo you can see the meter box set in the wall. This is how it’s normally done. But, with the two houses closest to completion on this ugly development, the boxes are merely glued to the top of the wall. Whether this is a real chapuza [bodge] or just a temporary measure will become clear in due course.
Meanwhile, here’s a more colourful sign of the times . . .
The other good news this week is that Spain matched Ireland in reducing road deaths by 7% last year. In Europe as a whole there was hardly any improvement.
The papers yesterday were full of the President’s warnings about the economic crisis and his request that everyone considers swapping rampant consumption for a bit of belt-tightened austerity. On the facing page in one paper was a huge ad for a trip to tomorrow’s game between Spain and Russia in Switzerland. The flight and the entrance ticket would set you back a mere €845. Or €1245 if you want to go non-cattle class. Plus €6 management fee in each case. Which doesn’t fall within my definition of austerity but it takes all sorts. Viewing figures in Catalunia and the Basque country for Spain’s match on Sunday against Italy suggest there won’t be many takers from these regions/nations.
This week saw the introduction of a special tax in Spain – on anything that can be considered to be related to digital music. This arises because Spain is the best/worst country in Europe for infringing industrial property rights by illegally downloading films and music. So, rather than implement the law, the government prefers to punish those of us who haven’t the faintest idea of how to do this by increasing the price of CDs, DVDs, MP4s and, would you believe, printers. In theory, the revenue will be passed on to composers and the like. And I suppose some of it might be.
A driver in Vigo last week received notification of a fine imposed for clocking 750kph in one of Vigo’s mains shopping streets. Or 470mph. One regularly hears of reckless driving in the city but this must take the biscuit.
Our region/nation had the lowest population growth in 2007, at only 0.3%. And this occurred disproportionately along the coast. In Lugo province, there was actually a small decrease. Despite all the Brits buying stone/slate houses up there. It’s a shame most of them won’t breed.
If you like men in uniform, Pontevedra’s the place for you to be this week. The city is hosting the 2nd International Europolyb Competition. Which you’ll have guessed involves strapping policemen and fire-fighters engaging in various energetic pursuits. The name could actually be worse – Europolybom, for example. Anyway, it’s good to know that, at this sports event, “No unsporting behaviour will be tolerated either during, before or after the Games”. For how many years, I wonder.
Finally, a new development for me today. Both I and Ryan were almost mown down on the zebra crossing a few metres from my house in a quiet street. At least the driver had the decency to brake, stall and shout an apology through his window. I just gave him a nasty stare. But nothing like the one he got from Ryan.