Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Earlier this week, El Mundo carried an article by Britain’s Svengali, Lord Mandelson, on the challenges faced by the EU over the next 5 years. Why, for God’s sake? Given his own problems and those of Mr Brown and the Labour Party, surely he’s got more important things to do. And surely there’s someone in Spain better qualified than he is to write such an article. Perhaps he’s cheap.

And while I’m posing questions . . .

1. How come I’ve never been accosted by any of the Mormons I regularly see on the streets of Pontevedra – either in town or at home? Do I not look like a good conversion prospect?

2. Why do Spanish adults think the pavements are for bicycles as well as pedestrians? I mean, you can (almost) forgive immature kids and adolescents for swerving past you, but their parents?

3. Why do Spanish papers of all stripes regularly carry syndicated articles from Anglo commentators such as Timothy Gorton Ash and Henry Kamen? Aren’t there enough good journalists here, where it’s still a respected profession?

4. Why, when you ask for your bill and give your table number in perfectly serviceable Spanish, does the waitress hold up three fingers when she says “Tres euros.” These are not difficult words to understand.

Anyway, there’s a large roundabout on my side of the river, at the centre of which is the city’s fire station. The road around it has been re-configured several times over the years – to allow access to the nearby new Guardia Civil barracks, as well as to the AP9 autopista and several other roads. In fact, you now need an IQ of at least 120 to get round it safely. And some experience of orienteering would surely come in handy. So I wasn’t surprised to read yesterday that the police claim that, at least once a week, someone goes the wrong way round it. And we’re not talking foreigners here. Not even Portuguese.

Finally . . . You’ll appreciate that beaches are important in fun-loving Spain. We have dozens of them along our coast and along the sides of our famous rías (estuaries/fiords). But this hasn’t stopped the Pontevedra council from paying for a new one to be constructed along the river, not far from the centre of town. And it’s now open.

Which is more than can be said for the bus-stop. But it can’t be long now. I saw a group of six be-suited men inspecting it this morning. Or at least chatting about it. Photos soon.


mike the trike said...

Colin - you're not young enough to be stopped and converted. I talk on a regular basis to these chaps when they make an appearance here in La Coruña. Although since the spring I haven't seen any walking about in this part of the city where I live (near the railway station). They have never tried to convert me or even asked if I practice any kind of religion. I don't think they bother with those over 40. Different story when I get stopped by "los testigos".

Midnight Golfer said...

As far as us Mormons, it's part random coincidence and part inspiration as to who we decide to talk to when we are making 'street contacts.' If you look like you are on vacation, (basically, if it looks like you don't live in the area,) and there are other people to talk to, there is a diminished probability of getting contacted. Also, the farther you live from the local church, the longer it will take before they end up knocking on your door, on average.
We are encouraged to at least try to talk to anyone who will answer, so if you get tired of waiting, feel free to ask me, or to talk to the local 'missionaries' in your area.

Pericles said...

A walking stick accidentally poked into the front wheel of a bicycle being ridden on the pavement has the same effect as a bicycle pump wielded in the same manner by ultra competitive road racing cyclists. The difference is that I would be cycling on up the road and well away from the carnage, whereas a pedestrian might still be in situ, so to speak. In which case, studying and practicing lessons 1 to 5 will come in most handy.

Colin said...

Thanks, Pericles. Will watch it.

And thanks, MG, for you info. Bit disconcerting to know I'm old and uninspiring . . .