Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I can’t say I was surprised to read that Spanish women rank number one when it comes to flirtatiousness on the internet. I won’t pretend I’ve been on the happy receiving end of a great deal of this but I learned years ago that Spanish women think nothing of looking you in the eye and squeezing your arm – or even stroking it! - when chatting to you. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t very significant. If at all. And to enjoy it for what it is. Or isn’t.

The Rumanians may represent the largest number of foreigners now living in Spain – ignoring all the Brits who don’t register with their town halls – but they certainly don’t get a good press. The latest example is the tale of a 10 year old girl who came here three weeks ago to give birth to the child of her 13 year old (ex)boyfriend. According to the reports, her grandmother (who’s all of 29) said this was considered perfectly normal back home. Maybe it is, but it hasn’t gone down terribly well here. Incidentally, the official age of consent here in Spain is relatively low, at 13.

As Mark Stucklin says, the graph in this post of his tells you all you need to know about the Spanish construction industry. When you bear in mind that, at its peak, it represented something between 11 and 20% of the total economy – depending on who you read – you can readily understand why the country’s unemployment rate is stuck around 20%.

The latest development in the saga of low-cost flights into and out of Galicia is that the Xunta has offered Ryanair’s flights to Vueling. Interviewed for the Voz de Galicia today, the  president of this company played the national card in stressing that it was “of the country (el país) and here to stay”. Which seemed a tad ironic to me as he’s Catalan himself. Anyway, here in Galicia, el país normally means Galicia/Galiza but in this case he clearly meant Spain. I’ll stick my neck out again and say this won’t happen and that Ryanair will still be flying to and from Galicia next year. Meanwhile, I wasn’t surprised to see the Vueling president complaining that Galicia’s three small international airports were a “complicating factor”. Ain’t that the truth.

Finally . . . Here’s a conversation I had today at the local office of my medical insurance company, Mapfre. As ever, the service was smilingly pleasant. As to its usefulness, you can judge for yourself . . .
Me: I wonder if you can let me have a new list of the doctors I can use in Pontevedra. The one I have was issued several years ago.
Him: Sorry, we don’t have any in the office but we can order one for you. Plus you can always look on our internet page. [He calls a number but says we can talk while he waits for a response. I guess he knew it`d take several minutes.]
Me: Yes, I did that yesterday but there seem to be very few doctors on the list now.
Him: It’s possible.
Me: Why is that?
Him: Well, it’s been a few years since your list was issued.
Me: [Finding this a rather inadequate explanation and seeing someone at the next desk being given a catalogue] Isn’t that the list?
Him: No, it’s to do with car insurance.
. . . . .
The call is answered
Him: [To me] Do you have your Mapfre card?
Me: Yes, here it is? [He reads out the number into the phone]
Him: Can you give me your ID number?
Me: [Thinking – Why do they need this when they have the card number and can get me up me on their computer? I only want a bloody list. Not to cancel my policy.] Yes, here it is.
He gives my number to the person on the phone
Him: Can you give me your address?
Me: [Astonished that the person at the other end doesn’t have this by now]. Yes, It’s . . . . . .
He: [After listening for a few seconds] OK, they’ll send the card to you and it should arrive in around three weeks.
Me: That seems like a long time to me.
Him: [With a smile]Yes.

Oh, yes. I also went to the web page of the Don Pepe hotel here in Poio and found that the French, German and English versions are all one tenth of the Spanish version. And unreadable. Does no one ever check out this sort of thing? Or is it my browser?


Ignore this; it's an experiment . . .

3 comments:

Justin Roberts said...

If you think the Don Pepe website is bad, you should see some of the stuff on here:

http://fuckedtranslation.blogspot.com/

Colin said...

Thanks, Justin.

Anthea said...

Oh, the need for proof of ID, numbers, names, addresses - enough to drive you crazy. I have had to show my passport when buying tickets for the Alsa bus from Vigo to Porto, but not consistently, only when the assistant feels like it. When we booked the amazing bus/taxi service from Arta to Colnia Sant Pere in Mallorca I had to give passport numbers. I wondered if they would prevent usleaving Mallorca if we had not turned up for the bus/taxi. I LOVE Spanish bureaucracy!!!!

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