Driving up into the hills today, I decided to use my GPS. Not because I needed to but because I was curious as to whether it’d take me to a tiny village up near Monforte de Lemos. And because the pronunciation of the English lady in it keeps me in pleats. In a word, she can’t get remotely near any Spanish word – even Avenida – and she pronounces road prefixes quite bizarrely. So that the PO533 become the Poe533. And CRG becomes something like Cruj. Anyway, the little wizard couldn’t, in fact, find Trasulfe. Or not, at least, until I was actually in it, outside the house of the American friends who’d invited me for a curry. When it presented me with a little map with the name of the hamlet on it. Which struck me as quite tardy and rather less than useful. I wonder if the Spanish voice will give me as much fun with English names next time I’m in the UK. “Trafalgar Square” should be a good test.
Which reminds me . . . I rather feared I’d lose a few readers because of my paragraph on brand names last night. But, in fact, the number of folk using Google Reader actually rose today. Albeit only by one. Which was nice. What a select group of right-thinking people.
Interesting to see that the Spanish Senate has rejected a motion calling for the bullfight to be given the status of a ‘protected cultural interest’. This had been brought by the (need I say?) right-of-centre PP party, in response to the ban on the “Fiesta Nacional” by the Catalan parliament a month or two back. Perhaps the PP is full of non-progressive liberals.
Which reminds me . . . Another bunch of PP politicians have been arrested for financial jiggery-pokery down in Murcia. Will it never end?
Finally . . . I was a tad surprised yesterday to come across a shop in Pontevedra called “10 negritos”. I don’t think it’s stretching things too much to translate this as “10 Little Nigger Boys”. Though, I guess “10 Little Black Boys” would be possible. And perhaps more acceptable. The mere fact that you wouldn’t see even this latter name in other countries doesn’t, of itself, mean the Spanish are racist. But they certainly lack some of the sensitivities observable in other cultures. And, if challenged, are likely to insist these are excessive, as no harm or insult is intended.
Actually, the official definition of “negrito” runs something like this – “A member of any of various peoples of short stature inhabiting parts of Malaysia, the Philippines, and southeast Asia.” But I suspect this is not, in fact, what the shop owners had in mind.
Tailnote for new readers: My elder daughter has now net-published seven chapters of a novel which is “A fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised Cuba, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. If this entices you, click here.