Wednesday, January 06, 2010

This is my post for Wednesday, 6 January but I’m posting it early as I’ll be on the road all day, heading back to Galicia. So, if you haven’t seen yesterday’s, you might want to scroll down.

Today being the feast day of the Three Kings (or Wise Men elsewhere), last night there was a procession for the kids here in Bilbao. It was due to arrive near our hotel at 8, so we sauntered along there at 8.05, on the assumption it probably hadn’t even started yet. Wrong. It was over. Strange, efficient place the Basque Country.

Something else different here is that all information required by visitors is in both Spanish and Basque. At the minimum. Contrast this with Galicia, where - more often than not - only Gallego is used. My conclusion is that, in regions where there’s a real possibility of secession (‘nationalism heavy’), they do what’s required for their customers. Whereas in regions where there’s little or no chance of secession (‘nationalism light’) the interests of customers are subordinate to the furtherance of the only nationalist policy available – the preeminence of the local language. Which is a bloody nuisance, if you want my honest opionion. And commercially stupid.

This is the time of the second of Spain’s mammoth lottery draws – El Niño. Which gives me the opportunity to refer to the article on these national obsessions written by my Dutch friend, Peter Missler.

Here’s a commentary of modern-but-mad Britain which I’ve lifted from someone else’s blog:- Apparently it was quite a day in Lochmaben, Scotland The ice had been checked by the local council and was 7-8 inches, and solid. However, someone phoned the police to say there were lots of people on the ice and they didn't think it was safe. Anne tells the story, "Six police officers arrived but they couldn't go on ice to warn people because of health and safety so they passed the buck to the Nith rescue who came with a rescue boat. But because of heath and safety they couldn't go on ice either. So the Coast Guard arrived, lights flashing! But guess what? Because of health and safety he couldn't go on the ice either! A great day was had by all.

Talking of precipitations . . . For much of yesterday, Bilbao endured the finest drizzle I’ve ever known. It was so thin you could hardly notice it. I think the Spanish/Gallego word for drizzle is llovizña/ chovizña but I wonder if there’s another one for drizzle which is so pathetic it can’t evev be arsed to wet you.

And talking of Gallego . . . I received this innovative email message this morning. I leave one of my Galician readers to say whether the English translation which came with it is correct:-

Ola, O meu nome é Favour, vin hoxe o seu perfil e algo sobre ti me motivou a comunicarse con vostede, ben, eu gusto de vostede poñerse en contacto comigo meu verdadeiro enderezo de correo-e de abaixo para que eu poida enviar miñas imaxes para ti e che dicir máis sobre min. (Lembre da distancia ou de cor non importa, pero unha materia moito amor na vida). Aquí está o meu enderezo de correo-e (

Hello, My name is Favour, I saw your profile today and something about you motivated me to communicate with you, well i will like you to contact me true my email address bellow so that i can send my pictures to you and also tell you more about me. (Remember the distance or color does not matter but love matters a lot in life). Here is my email address (

On reflection, I guess it could be Portuguese.


silvia said...

The Galician word for drizzle is "poalla", not chovizña. At least one of the many ones that exist depending on the area within Galicia.

Your translation of the email is correct, and it is not Portuguese.

Anonymous said...

A name for that type of rain: chirimiri/sirimiri. In Galician: orballo.

Xoán-Wahn said...

Britain is a strange place!

The email you got is quite funny as well. It's full of errors though so whoever wrote it is either not a native Galician or has never gone to school!

Colin said...

Thanks, folks. But not my translation, Silvia. It came with the Gallego text.

Lenox said...

It's coz in the Basque Country, most people can't even make an educated guess at the Euzkera, so they have to put it in Christian as well.

Anonymous said...

Llovizna, not “llovizña“ is Spanish. In Galician we have “orbalho“, “poalha“, “chuvisca“. In Basque, “sirimiri“.

That email seems to have been written by a Brasilian making use of the Spanish-like “oficial“ format of Galician ... weird ...

And by the way, what is a nuisance is not the fact of having things written on Galician, especially when in Galicia!, but rather the fact of people not being able to read or understand galician ...

that is just a matter of conquering ignorance

Sierra said...

A folow-up to the lottery item:

"El País notes that Hacienda kept 83% of the winning ‘gordo’ prize in the El Niño lottery yesterday. The paper says the number 58,588 was ‘too ugly’ for the people of Castelldefels, in Barcelona."

Definition of a beautiful number?

Colin said...

Yes, I wondered about this too. But, then. logic is not thick on the ground when it comes to lotteries.

Antonio Cordeiro said...

I do not fully agree with the accuracy in the translation of the email. And YES there are elemnts of it which could easily lead one to believe that it has been written by a Portuguese speaker.

Drizzle in gallego: orballo, poalla.

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