Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Reading the rather self-pitying El País article I cited yesterday, I wondered just how much the Spanish are aware of how things are reported in other countries. Particularly in the UK - where a good proportion of money-bearing holidaymakers and retirees come from, of course. Talking to the five lady teachers last night, I rather got the impression that awareness is low. And that there might just be more concern in other countries than here about widespread political corruption and the property abuses and general criminality of the south coast. The author of this article makes the right point – the Spanish should be less worried about the British expats allegedly thinking about returning to the UK than about those who, thanks to adverse publicity, no longer want to come here. The truth is, though, that this demands a longer and wider perspective than is often the case here. In fact, I think I wrote years ago about the likelihood of short-term greed and corruption killing the goose then laying the golden eggs. Much easier now to blame the EU for standing by while Spain suffers and the international markets for taking the harsh view that Spain is in a hole of its own digging and won’t be out of it for quite a while. In fact, it looks like getting deeper for at least the rest of this year.

I’m not quite sure when Lent starts this year, possibly mid March. In this fun-oriented country, it’s not regarded as strictly necessary to wait until then to initiate the Mardi Gras type activities. El Mundo had an article a week or so ago on several events around the country that will start well before then. In fact, one of them is already under way – up in the city of Ourense, here in Galicia. Where it’s considered fun to cover everyone in the streets with flour. And it probably is. Especially if it rains.

Talking of enjoying yourself, it was sad to read this morning that the authorities in Paris are now trying to crack down on le binge drinking. Or having fun Anglo style. Even worse, it seem young women are increasingly victims of la biture express. Spain next?

Returning again to last night’s conversation class . . . You might have picked up that the young lady preparing her crib sheet knew what subject she was going to be asked to write the essay on. When asked how, she revealed she’d been tipped the wink by a friend. How we all laughed. Well, everyone except me. I have a Catholic morality at heart. Funny thing is, so do all of them. I’m reminded of a story a Madrid-based teacher once told me. Having asked his young pupils what defined a bad friend, the answer he got was somebody who wouldn’t let you copy his work.

Finally . . . I wrote the other day about the difficulty of driving up a steep hill in accordance with the new 30kph speed limit. Well, you should try it going down. With a police car right behind you. My consolation was that my permanent brake lights must have played havoc with the driver’s vision.


Anonymous said...

Dear Colin,

I'm enjoying your blog. How well you know the Spanish. But how few you seem to know yourself: you have a puritan morality, not a catholic one ;-)

(pd. I am Austrian myself and yes, I do have a catholic morality ...)

all the best,

Anonymous said...

Ash Wednesday - 17th Feb

Xoán-Wahn said...

Yeah, Lent starts next Wednesday. All the university students get Monday and Tuesday off, presumably to stuff ourselves with meat and sweets; not that anyone under the age of 40 will actually be observing Lent. Scratch that, we can't generalise.

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