Friday, July 29, 2011

So, our general elections are to be held in November and not next March. Urged by the left-of-centre El País. Sr Zapatero has done the decent thing and effectively fallen on his sword. His government will now be an even deader duck than it has been until now. In which case, it would be nice to have at least some idea of what the incoming conservative party (the PP) might do when they have their hands on the reins of power. Maybe we'll get a manifesto. Though this doesn't tend to be a feature of Spanish elections. Where outlandish promises and juvenile name-calling are the preferred way of wageing a campaign. 

Meanwhile, the socialist national government and the conservative regional governments are still at each other's throats over who's going to pay for what and how. Specifically – in delicate times – how much debt the latter are going to incur. Depressingly, the PP party has said it'll have recourse to the Constitutional Court, if it doesn't get its way. And the money. Just what the country needs when the rest of the world is staring itself blind at the Spanish economy in general and debt levels in particular.

At a more macro, EU level . . . . A week on and it seems that last Thursday's summit afforded only a temporary respite for Europe's troubled economies. Probably because everyone concurs that fundamental problems weren't addressed and that all the actions are worryingly beset with both unknowable details and long delays in execution of whatever it is that's actually been agreed. Or, more accurately, whatever will be approved by national parliaments/ courts. But will this really stop Brussels' mandarins and national politicians taking the whole of August off? I rather doubt it. As a parting shot, though, some German bigwig has said that countries which are bailed out must expect to have their sovereignty reduced and to be controlled from Brussels. Which should go down well with the suffering Greeks. Some of them remember what a German Occupation feels like.

Anyway . . . Back to Spain. I don't recall that, when I first came here in 1971, Spanish women of middle age – however beautiful and proud they were – could be characterized as slim. But now, in 2011, a large woman in her 40s or 50s would be an unusual sight on the streets of Pontevedra. OK, they might cut an amusing/pathetic figure with their invariably long, blond hair, the same clothes as their teenage daughters and faces that are beginning to show the effects of the pernicious combination of sun and cigarettes, but fat they certainly aren't. So, what's happened? Has evolution happened rather quicker here than it usually does? Or are they still starving themselves as they did when they were younger? Views welcome. Especially if this is just a Ponters/urban phenomenon.

I mentioned the other day that the only quiet café in Pontevedra had installed WiFi. What I didn't realise then was that it's patronised by what the Americans call 'senior citizens'. Appreciably senior than me, I mean. Who tend to be deaf. And to shout at each other. Even louder than they'd normally do, that is. You win some and you lose some.

I think I reported a week or so ago that a woman and her niece from my side of the river (code for 'gypsy') had been arrested after doing five shops in quick succession. Well, she was arrested again yesterday and, this time, got violent. The thing is, if she sticks to a max of 300(?) euros in value, it's only a misdemeanor and the police have to let her go, to re-offend. Bit of a game really. They should really just post her picture in every shop.

Which reminds me of a particular gypsy couple I regularly see rifling the bins at the side of the road down the hill. Or taking a siesta on cardboard, next to the bins. As you'd expect, they aren't the cleanest of people. But what always gets me is that, whenever I see them walking up or down the hill, she's always three metres behind him. Maybe it's a calé custom.

Conversation of the Day.
Well, I haven't really had one, yet. But I did get this text message from Orange early this morning:- LAST CHANCE. Phone 2257 before 12.30 today and get a GALAXY o NEO o OPTIMUS, PLUS A LARGE DISCOUNT ON YOUR BILL. CALL! I guess this would have a greater impact on me if I knew what any of these things were. Mobile phones, I guess. Which would probably mean an increase in my tariff, after the very temporary discount.

Finally . . . I've just taken this picture of a car near this café. 

What's surprising is not, of course, that it's parked on the pavement. Nor that it's blocking the view of a zebra crossing. Nor that the window is open. And nor, even, that the key is in the ignition. It's the fact that the driver hasn't put the hazard lights on, to show that it's not really there. Some people!


Mike the Traditionalist said...

You don't see many fat women in Vigo probably because it is nothing but hills.

Midnight Golfer said...

To eat as well as our mamas requires too much money, too much effort, or both. Same goes for having as many square feet of living room.

Ferrolano said...

Yesterday evening, after reading your blog, I was forced out of my home by the noise from the music coming from a fiesta in the park in front of the house. I decided to take a walk to the other end on town and take a glass of wine, or two, in a normal noisy Spanish bar. Walking along the street, mussing over your remarks about the new “slim-line” of Spanish ladies, I was noticing the numerous packs of young girls heading for the fiesta in the park. What struck me was the high percentage of what I would regard as overweight girls, something that you did not see in years gone by. Similar to what I have in recent years observed in Asia, this is reflective of a modern “fast-food” diet, where the big “M” rules.

AS far as the new generation of “slim-line” mums, you only have to see the amount of peer pressure for; healthy eating, diet, exercise and etc. to understand where they are coming from and the reason. And being honest, they are more attractive now than they were 20 years ago. Keep it up ladies!!

Colin said...

Hmmm. This must be a 'northern' thing. There are very few fat young ladies in Pontevedra. They all seem to be thin, if not painfully so. And all wearing shorts and boots at the moment. But I will look harder now, to see if there are any plump ones. Boring research but someone has to do it . . .

Brendan said...

It's a Rover Colin! Are you sure it's not yours???

Colin said...

Nah, it's a Peugeot, I think. Anyway, mine's a 45. And green.