Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Correction: I wrote last night that there were hundreds of tonnes of rubbish on Pontevedra's streets after the Saturday and Sunday post-corridas bacchanalia. In fact, it was 'only' 48 tonnes. And this was down on last year's 76. Quite why, God only knows.

I got a message from a friend who'd signed up to some social networking site called Badoo. Merely responding to this has apparently put me on the network. And so it was that I yesterday received at least five messages from women in their 20s in Madrid wanting to chat to me. One wonders why. Long term readers will recall the same phenomenon with Hi Five. Or whatever it was called. Desperate after losing out to Facebook (and now Google +), it converted itself into a Directory of Whores.

Similarly, a day or so ago, I logged on to a site called TravelGirls, intrigued and believing the by-line that it was not a dating site. Maybe not, but there now seem to be an awful lot of young, attractive (and rather underdressed) Russian women who'd like to make my acquaintance. And every page I open now has a prominent bloody ad for TravelGirls on it. A cautionary tale.

To be more positive . . . Here's a video of north Portugal made my by friend Norman, of Portugal North. Enjoy.

Likewise, try this brilliant example of art plus sport. Or “spart” as I labelled it to a friend this morning. I defy you not to be impressed.

Reading an article on Iceland in Prospect magazine, I came across this sentence - “Martein shouts because he is excitable and has spent most of his life communicating over the noise of engines.” Which endorses my theory about Nice-but-Noisy Toni, who's been at it again today. And who hasn't been back to his oil tanker since February. Almost certainly laid off, I suspect. Fear, to be more honest.

So far, I've been happy with my new mobile phone provider, Yoigo. But here's the Conversation of the Day, in their shop at La Barca this morning:-
Hola. Listen, I bought this phone here but it doesn't have a USB cable. Do you sell them here?
[Drawing an imaginary cable in the air, as (being a stupid foreigner) I might have got things wrong] A cable?
Yes, a USB cable. It needs a special one and it wasn't supplied with the phone.
I'm not sure. I'll go and check.
. . . . .
No, we don't sell them.
[Waiting, as ever, for the next statement, along the lines of “But you can get one . . .” Again in vain.]
[Wearily] Thanks.

Only in Spain: The bull called Mouse which I mentioned yesterday is available for hire for your village's version of bull-baiting. But at twice the normal rate. This is because of his reputation for killing people. Meaning that entrepreneurs can charge twice the normal rate to see him in action. Of course, your fee is a waste of money if you're the one he decides to send to whatever afterlife you do or don't believe in.

Spain isn't the first society in which I've both detected and developed a degree of fatalism. The root cause is the arbitrariness of life. When things (and people) are unreliable, you tend to resign yourself to the situation, shrug your shoulders and then either play to your (growing) talent for spontaneity (at best), or go home and sleep (at worst). One example of this is the free wi-fi in Vegetables Square. This is a wonderful facility, for which I'm truly grateful. But I never know from one day to the next whether I'll be able to re-connect once it's automatically switched off after 15 minutes. Today, no matter what I tried (I have 3 codes) I couldn't. Fortunately, the library is a good fallback; even when it's closed (2pm in the summer), I can get access from its steps.

The Spanish, of course, value spontaneity much more than planning. After a few years here – or even a few months – you can begin to understand why. However, it's a self-fulfilling attitude; the less planning you and your friends do, the more spontaneity is needed when things don't work out. And the more you admire spontaneity. And the harder you'll resist [Teutonic] pressure to make you different simply because their world is more ordered. And you want their money.

Finally . . . Here's something you need to know about the looming start of the football season.

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