I signed off last night with praise for the Spanish athlete Jesús España. I couldn’t help think again of his noble attitude when I saw the headline in El Mundo to the effect that Spain’s best had been squeezed out by ‘naturalised’ athletes from other countries. I seem to recall there was a gold-winning Spanish long jumper a couple of years ago who’d originally been Cuban. Can’t recall El Mundo going big on this at the time. But maybe it did and suggested she return her medal. Can it really be that the paper objects to British and French athletes of (recent) African origin?
Yes, I know I said there wouldn’t be any more articles on bullfighting but here’s a nice one from a Spanish – indeed a Galician - writer and in English. Some readers may recall that Miguel-Anxo Murado is the author of a recent book entitled “Another Idea of Galicia” (Otra idea de Galicia) previously cited here. Which is an excellent read that I never got round to summarising for my Galicia page. Bullfighting, he says, is shrouded in nostalgia and indifference. And dying everywhere in Spain. What more needs to be said?
Much as I enjoy life in Spain, I do sometimes wonder whether I’m living in Wonderland. No more so than when I read of buildings that have been adjudicated illegal and must now be demolished. Recent examples include a massive block of flats in Vigo, a smaller block of only 144 flats in La Coruña, and today the funeral parlour that was built next to Pontevedra’s main hospital 17 years ago. The fact that many (all?) of these buildings will escape demolition adds another dimension to the fantasy world.
Then there was the local religious fiesta reported last weekend in which several of the faithful turned up in their own coffins. With help, obviously. Their legs weren’t sticking through the bottom.
All of which reminds me . . . I mentioned the other week that banks here can act as if their sister offices are on another planet. Tomorrow I have a friend arriving who’s only making the trip because he can’t get the Monforte de Lemos branch of Banco Santander to respond to any of his communications about moving his money. Over the last week, I’ve striven to get the Monforte manager to arrange for someone in Pontevedra to deal with this. His response – “Better that he comes here so we can talk face-to face.” As this is a four hour round trip, it gives a good insight into his concept of customer service. And his explanation for the bank’s failure to respond to any communication in two years? – “Change of personnel”. I can think of another change that seems to recommend itself. No doubt he'll be delightful - and fulsomely apologetic - if we do have to make the trip. But words, of course, are cheap.
Finally . . . I went to the new Los Castellanos bar today, to check out the place and to use their wi-fi before repairing to the Siglo next door for my midday wine and tapa. Not too impressed that the waitress didn’t know what wi-fi was and then wrongly told me I didn’t need a code for access. Won’t be rushing back. Though this is not what I told the head barman at the Siglo when we talked (yet again) about the need for wi-fi in the place. I sense he’s running scared and am going for the kill. This lying business can be quite useful.