Following on from yesterday’s report on the celebratory party for drug smugglers in a brothel, here are a couple more Only in Spain? items from the national press:-
1. “A drag queen has been pardoned by the Spanish Government after being found guilty of carrying out oral sex ‘without consent'.”
2. “An inspector with the Catalan police force has been arrested for renting out his flat as a brothel for 2,000 euros a month.”
I was going to leave it at that for today but three things happened in the space of a few minutes this afternoon and, as they shared an underlying thread, I thought I’d relate them . . .
- Firstly, as I drove down past the pharmacy recently closed after protests from the pharmacists’ guild, it occurred to me that at least we don’t now have to negotiate our way past the gypsy vans that used to park outside it, on the zebra crossing.
- Secondly, as I got to the roundabout at the bottom of the hill, I was able to watch a rules-defying, garish blue car cause havoc by simply driving into and through the traffic that was either already on the roundabout or entering it from the side.
- Thirdly, as I tipped a bag of my elder daughter’s clothes into a special bin in the car-park of the Carrefour supermarket, I recalled her suggesting I looked for a charity shop instead, as the bins were raided every night by the gypsies.
Now, when I re-read the above, I understand why some readers think I’m too negative about Spain. But the truth is I write about whatever impacts my emotions. Whether they make me smile, leave me intrigued/confused or just irritate me. Like the driver in front of me this evening who approached the roundabout signalling right (despite the fact there was no right exit), then didn’t go straight on but drove round the roundabout and took the next exit. By which time he’d switched his indicator off.
This just made me laugh, shake my head and wonder, for the nth time, what on earth was going through his mind. But sometimes, of course, the only possible emotion is anger. Like tonight when the woman walking on my right decided she wanted to go up some steps on my left and promptly crossed a couple of centimetres in front of me, forcing me to stop and nearly blinding me with a spoke of her umbrella. Needless to say, she seemed completely nonplussed by my expression of exasperation. I fear it will be many years before the Spanish understand that this is one of the main reasons why people from other cultures regard them as rude. And possibly many more before they care. But it’s their country and I’m sure I’ll get used to it one day. Meanwhile, in the UK recently, my younger daughter warned me I was displaying dangerously similar tendencies. So I do seem to be assimilating.
By the way, the gypsies can raid the clothes bins because the ‘security’ mechanism for taking them in and dropping them down – the clothes, not the gypsies - doesn’t work unless you get clever with it. Otherwise, they just stay in an easy-to-reach compartment at the top. Now that I know this, I’m tempted to go back myself tomorrow.