Having firstly dropped off one of my younger daughter’s friends at Santiago airport this morning and then picked up another two arriving from Rome, we repaired to the city centre. Where they decided not to join the massive queue for the only entrance open this Xacobeo year. Before this, though, we had to run the usual gauntlet of young women standing outside the numerous cake shops, offering taster samples of the tarta de Santiago on sale within. I mention this because the first young lady who accosted us turned out to be from neither Galicia nor any other part of Spain but Bulgaria. I’m guessing some of our many unemployed find this work unattractive. Coincidentally, a Bulgarian family has just moved into one of the houses in the development in which I live. They seem to be doing better than the Rumanians. Or at least those who spend all day on their knees in the streets of Santiago, head permanently bowed and a placard in front of them explaining (in bad Spanish) why they need one’s charity. As I said to my daughter, they do add an extra touch of medievality to the city.
Talking of unemployment . . . I believe the government has announced additional payments for those who’ve theoretically come to the end of their (18 or 24 month?) unemployment pay period. This hasn’t stopped the country’s trade unions attacking it for the proposed reforms of the labour laws. Indeed, the unions have accused the government of planning to “criminalise” the unemployed. I’m not sure quite how.
Interesting to read that Vivien Leigh, of “Gone with the Wind" fame, suffered from what’s called these days bi-polar condition and used to be called manic depression. According to a new biography, she was prone – while at one end of the spectrum, I guess – to satisfy a voracious sexual appetite by visiting male brothels. Impossible to see how this would be kept out of today’s even-more-voracious media.
Which reminds me . . . El Mundo today gave us the foto of Kylie Minogue which Facebook has banned as too salacious.
Finally . . . You can buy T-shirts along the Camino which sport - on a black background - the large yellow arrow used as a way-marker along the various routes into Santiago. Seeing a group of men wearing these and having been told by my daughter what the arrow represented, one of her friends then asked “But how long do they have to stand at the side of the path?” . . .