Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Without apology, here’s another relevant quotation from old George, this time on the dignity of the Spanish:- “I laugh at the bigotry and prejudices of Spain; I abhor the cruelty and ferocity which have cast a stain of eternal infamy on her history; but I will say for the Spaniards, that in their social intercourse no people in the world exhibit a juster feeling of what is due to the dignity of human nature, or better understand the behaviour which it behoves a man to adopt towards his fellow beings. I have said that it is one of the few countries in Europe where poverty is not treated with contempt, and I may add, where the wealthy are not blindly idolized. In Spain the very beggar does not feel himself a degraded being, for he kisses no one's feet, and knows not what it is to be cuffed or spitten upon; and in Spain the duke or the marquis can scarcely entertain a very overweening opinion of his own consequence, as he finds no one, with perhaps the exception of his French valet, to fawn upon or flatter him.”

In deference to all the angry Basque, Catalan and Galician nationalists who complain about me including them in the term ‘Spanish’, I should stress that the above comment may not hold true for their regions/countries/nations. And nor may all French valets be obsequious.

Conversation in the Vodafone shop today:-
So, this ADSL package for 39 a month will both replace my Tefefónica fixed line [Rejoice! Rejoice!] and give me a wi-fi dongle for my laptop which I can use anywhere?
And the price won’t rise after 3 months and there are no other charges, apart from the VAT?
OK, then. I’m interested.
So, where do you live?
In Poio, across the river.
Ah. We don’t have coverage there yet. But it will be available by the end of next month. In the meantime, you can have this 45 a month package for a dongle and then we will make the change without any further costs.
At the end of next month?
[Smiling] Maybe.
Err . [blushing] . . Yes.
OK, I’ll talk to you then.

Talking of Telefónica, I see they’ve announced a recession-defying 10% increase in profits. Must be a well-managed company, worthy of all our admiration.

I’m having a big BBQ next Sunday. You’re all welcome, of course. Meanwhile, with a little exaggeration, these are the standard responses:-
British:- Great. Can I also bring X and Y?
Spanish:- Well, my husband is going to the bulls on Saturday night so he won’t be able to make lunch at 3. I’m not going with him but I am going out with girlfriends until late. So it all depends what time I get out of bed on Sunday. Can I call you then and let you know?

Being the multi-cultural chameleon I am, I'm pretty relaxed about both of these. And the Spanish no-shows will make up for the British add-ons. Así son las cosas. And it's better than getting a Yes from people who then don't turn up.

The Spanish government has begun to talk of a real ban on smoking, perhaps embarrassed by what’s happened in the rest of Europe. It can’t come too soon for me as this is the one aspect of Spanish life which still gets to me. This morning, for example, I had to leave one wi-fi café when a group of five women and one man came in and all lit up at the next table. But at least I could leave. The poor kid who was coughing was stuck there with his inconsiderate parents.

Spanglish, perhaps. 1. Is there such a word as ‘horseball’ in English? There is in Spanish and it seems to mean basketball on horseback. 2. The word ‘handicap’ now appears to have assumed the meaning of ‘barrier’ in Spanish, as in “I’ve applied for a mortgage pero el banco me pone handicaps.” Or possibly handicapes.

Finally, I’m used to odd routes to my blog but this search rather left me wondering why it'd had the honour of being cited:-

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