Monday, May 25, 2009

A short conversation between my daughter and a bar owner here in Pontevedra today:-
Do you have wifi here?
Yes, I think so. Well people use their computers here anyway.

Item on the English version of the tapas menu in the same bar:-
Prat in garlic

Of course, there was no wifi.

Portugal has a wonderfully modern airport in Oporto but it can be a strange country. The system for (pre)paying for and getting a drink in the arrivals hall café must rank amongst the slowest and most inefficient in the world. It reminded me of department stores in Jakarta where you had to deal with at least three people per purchase, so as to maximise employment. And there’s a special pen for Tourism Agents just opposite the exit from the luggage carousels area. From which I was officiously expelled, even though I was the only person in it. Unwittingly, I stress.

En passant, there were another five young people killed in car crashes in Galicia over the weekend. One might think the police would be better employed finding ways to reduce this awful toll than setting up impossible-to-avoid speed traps in 50km zones. Stationing themselves outside discos and bars, for example. Which is not exactly a new suggestion. But I guess there’s no money in prevention.

To end on a less curmudgeonly note – These were the opening paragraphs of a Tourist’s Prayer I saw in the cathedral at Tui, en route home from Oporto:-

O Lord.

I find myself in this region different from my own. I have come to relax and to get to know other plots in the garden of the world that You have given us.

I want to discover new countrysides, to listen to the sea, to breathe the pure air of the mountains, to enjoy nature in its entirety, far from the worries and irritations of my daily life. Help me to discover goodness in all this beauty which you have created for man to enjoy.

I am not alone.

It made me feel a little better. But not as much as not getting another bloody speeding fine between Tui and Pontevedra.

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