Monday, March 16, 2009

Is has to be said there’s quite a lot of ‘bad language’ in everyday Spanish discourse. Likewise in Gallego, where a common word is carallo. Or carajo in Spanish. Its basic meaning is the male member but its numerous derivatives make it an astonishingly versatile word. Rather than upset anyone by listing them here, I’m happy to send a little dissertation – in Spanish, ironically – to anyone who writes to me at

I suggested the other day that a recession was normally a good time for students to keep their heads down and apply themselves to their studies. Reports of the sudden rise in applications to the Spanish Open University indicate that more people than ever are at least willing to take the first step of signing up for a course.

I’m not sure it’s the same people but the Galician Traffic Department up in Lugo has recently been implicated in a couple of perversions of process. Firstly, there was the announcement that an awful lot of people were being let off motoring fines in return for a contribution to someone’s benevolent fund. And, more recently, there was the uncovering of an elaborate set-up dedicated to the provision of un-merited driving licences to large numbers of Asians from all over Spain. So, if you’re hit by, say, a Chinese, Indian or Korean who doesn’t seem to know much about driving, you’ll now have some idea how he got a licence. Especially if he shows no understanding of spoken or written Spanish.

Here’s The Baldie with some pertinent comments on respective attitudes to race in Spain and the UK. On which issue there is mutual incomprehension, if not downright antagonism. In a nutshell, the Spanish see the Brits as obsessive, holier-than-thou, inverted racists, while the Brits just see the Spanish as simple racists - though often unwittingly and naively so. Which, in turn, the Spanish see as insufferable arrogance. All in all, it’s probably best not to raise the subject in public. Unless you’re Trevor. I steer clear of it, of course.

Here in Galicia, the serious loss of electorate support has finally persuaded the president of the Galician Nationalist Block – Anxel “Cock of the Walk” Quintana – to hand over the reins to someone else. Though the consensus is he jumped before he was pushed by what one writer today called his ‘cannibalistic’ colleagues. And, talking of the recent regional elections, the count of the overseas vote has now deprived the PP party of one of the seats won by them on the purely domestic vote. This won’t change anything as they still have - just - an absolute majority. But it seems a rum turn of events to me when local elections are decided on the votes of people who’ve possibly never even visited here. Especially, I guess, when some of us who pay taxes here don’t have a say in the matter.

Finally . . . While some Brits go native when they arrive here in Spain, it seems some of us only achieve it when we leave.


Sierra said...

No dissing of Lugo Traffico, please. Went there last week to renew my driving licence, and had had a hearty breakfast to withstand the rigours of the queues - and was in and out in 7 minutes including getting the form, completing it, paying fee, and then giving over documents.

Incidently the "medical" was - "Can you read that line?", "Yes", "25 euros, please"

Colin said...

Is this the test which is upposed to involve a half hour of sight, hearing and hand-eye coordination tests? And which did in my case last year.

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