Saturday, March 21, 2009

They’re a pugnacious lot, these Celts. At the Championship-deciding rugby game between Ireland and Wales this evening, there was a fight within the first minute. Of course, genetic studies have now revealed that the English have just as much Celtic blood as either of these nations but we like to pretend we don’t. And blame our bellicose tendencies on the booze. Many Galicians also like to think of themselves as Celts but they seem to come from a far more peaceable strain.

So, BAA – owned by the Spanish company Ferrovial – has been ordered by the UK competition authorities to sell one of its London airports as well as others in Britain. Some have said this is shoddy treatment of a foreign investor – a view which may gain traction in Spain – but others have suggested Ferrovial brought it on itself by maximising its profit at the expense of customer service, falsely assuming that the British competition authorities would be as tolerant of this strategy as those back home in Spain. Perhaps it’s both. Or maybe it was just a case of a company flush with funds being dumb enough to listen to the now-discredited investment bankers who love to see cash churning.

The good news for Galicia’s bureaucrats is that they’ll soon be able to take Ryanair flights from Santiago airport to Brussels. Which will obviate their need to drive down to Oporto in cars whose blackened windows screen off their embarrassment. On the other hand, even in these straitened times, will the region’s politicians be willing to travel cattle class?

Telefónica has announced it will be giving discounts to the unemployed, at least for a few months. No sign, as yet, that it’ll be offering the same to British pensioners whose income has dropped by 40% because of the fall of the pound against the euro. Bastards.

Finally, I’ve read that an English lady, Margaret Gimson, who’s lived in Galicia for many years and is an expert on camellias has written about her experiences here, in a book entitled “Los nuevos vecinos de Eugenio en la Galicia de España”. More info when available.


Ferolano said...

Airports worldwide are nothing more than opportunistic, legalized, money laundering, cash deposit machines. And this starts at the parking lot, follows through till the final departure gate and it doesn’t matter in which direction the course is taken, the effect is the same – just leave your money and go.

At on or off street parking in town, you have alternatives if you object to the charges, the same being true of overpriced cafes or restaurants – but not at an airport, you pay to be there, as both a passenger or “taxi” to pick-up aunty Jane. Not of course forgetting the often missing service or quality. The final straw being that you soon learn that duty free is not profit free!

Long have gone the days when people would meander along on a Sunday afternoon to the local aerodrome to plane spot and watch the people. This thought then brings us into the realm of trains and railway stations…………… Let’s not go there!

mike the trike said...

Ferolano. That is going back in time I must say. People used to go to Heathrow to watch planes landing and taking off. They actually paid for the privilege to have a place in the viewing gallery. Anyone who flew thought they were special which in one way was true. Now flying is just a bus service and geared to suit the backpacker. Passing through an aeroport is just a necessary evil now as part of the journey. Security is a headache as well. However, I remember travelling to Belfast during the troubles and flew via BEA (British European Airways) and at Heathrow we were separated from all the other passengers and hearded into a special room and then led to the aircraft through a boarded up area so no other passengers could see us. At Belfast our luggage was dumped on the runway and we were told at a given notice to go and point out our luggage and then carry it into a special interview area where it had to be opened and then given a special search. While this was happening I had to answer many questions about my personal life, travels and any military experience and this information was recorded. I was living in Colchester (a military town) and having an Irish name made me a more interesting case for the military personnel who were searching my luggage. After they were finished they told me to shut the suitcase and sign a paper to say that nothing had been taken or damaged to which I replied that as I hadn't seen how the search was done I didn't feel I should sign. A police officer gave me a nasty look and said if I wanted to stay in Belfast sign or get back on the plane for the flight back to the UK.

Colin said...

Amazinly, only 10 years ago Oporto airport was small and a delight to use. Now it isn't.

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