Saturday, December 04, 2010

Most Spanish cafés and bars have a variety of local and, sometimes, national papers for their clients to peruse. But it’s rare for these to be replaced on the rack when finished with. Normally, one just goes up to the person on whose table a paper lies and uses one of several phrases to enquire whether it’s free. I now do this routinely but it took me ages to get over my British perception that it was an insult to do this, as it implied the person had been impolite in not putting the paper back on the rack. But now I know that no Spanish person is ever going to feel they’re being accused of something. Or so I thought until today, when a lady whom I approached agreed it was free and then apologised to me. You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather. Perhaps it was the tone of my voice . . .

Going briefly back to the FIFA decision to avoid the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 jamboree to Qatar . . . Looking back, I believe the only real surprise is that they didn’t award both events to Russia.

Back here in Spain, President Zapatero is still making promises. This time that economic growth will be above the EU average from 2013. But, as someone pointed out to me this week, there surely can’t be anyone left here who still believes a word he says. That said, for a naturally sceptical people, the Spanish certainly took their time coming to this decision.

Talking of forecasts, the President of BNP Paribas Real Estate consultancy claims that Spain’s huge stock of empty new properties will be exhausted by 2016. Given that it takes up to five years to finish a place here, this means that new starts must be made from next year, if a scarcity of property – and a concomitant surge in prices – is to be avoided in the middle of the next decade. Can’t see that happening myself. But, given the unreliability of even (especially?) official statistics, it’s all a huge guessing game anyway.

Our new merged savings bank (caja/caixa) is to be called – somewhat predictably – Nova Caixa Galicia. Or, more accurately, Novacaixagalicia. For which I’m told the waggish nickname is Nocages.

Finally . . . My forecast of the, much delayed, AVE high speed train finally reaching Galicia by 2018-20 is now looking optimistic - what with the cuts and the frightfully high cost of tunnelling through our granitic mountains. A leading politician has gone off to China to seek finance from there. Which is a little ironic when you consider the US railways were constructed by gangs of indented cheap Chinese labour. How the wheel turns.

Book plug: My daughter, visiting me this Puente, has now published Chapter 13 of 19. Click here.

1 comment:

Sierra said...

To complete the railways triangle:

"SPAIN AND the USA have agreed to collaborate regarding plans for the railway sector. The Minister for Public Works, José Blanco, met in Washington last week with his North American counterpart, the Secretary for Transportation, Ray LaHood.

José Blanco highlighted “…that Spain has built an “efficient, reliable and safe” high-speed network in less than 20 years..."

But not in Galicia