Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scroll down for a Midday EU Special, which raises an interesting question about French and GErman exports to struggling Greece.

One of the advantages of walking into and out of town every day is that I get to see many of the town's 'characters'. Over the years I've taken fotos of all of them but am told it's not done (well, illegal actually) to publish these. Here are a few of them:-
- Draculín: This is a chap who dresses with extraordinary elegance and revels in the reputation of being a blood-sucker. There's a bit about him on the net, here.
- Hat Woman: Like Draculín, she lives on my side of the river and can often be seen defying Spanish convention by walking a little in front of her husband. Who is rather slow. She has a wide collection of hats, one for each dress in her wardrobe, it seems, and she's never without one on top of a mass of curly, black hair. This despite being round 65.
- The ex-pimp: Only to be seen in summer, this is a small, bald guy who spends all day on the closest beach to Pontevedra. And then walks back to the town centre, topless and with a radio in one hand and a plastic bag containing his shirt in the other. The purpose, one assumes, is to show us all how brown he is. And how good his torso is for his age. Also around 65.
- Mr Black and White: This chap, of at least 65, used to be seen walking through town - always in a waistcoat - with hair of a remarkable blackness. I was always convinced this came out of a bottle so wasn't at all surprised when, one day, he appeared with tresses of an equally remarkable whiteness. Which he has retained.
- Mrs Man?: This is a woman with astonishingly wide shoulders and narrow waist. For years I wondered whether she was a trans-sexual but have ultimately decided she isn't, even though I've never heard her voice. A bit frightening.
- The Gypsy Crone: This is the ancient beggar-woman who curses me so frequently. When she isn't taking a taxi, we regularly cross on the bridge. When she merely gives me the evil eye.

Talking of beggars, things have been take to their logical extreme when it comes to pipe-playing. Instead of the young 'traveller' who endlessly plays the same tune on his pipes (un perriflauta), we now have the ragged old man who sits outside the health centre near the Alameda, just sounding notes at random on a recorder. But at least he isn't accompanied by a young woman artlessly twirling tapes and then taking a collection for herself and her musically-challenged mate.

And now for some momentous news . . . You may never even have noticed its existence. Or it may never have made more than a tiny dent in your life. But it seems that Post-Modernism is dead. I will leave you 24 hours to get over any shock this engenders and return to the subject tomorrow.

Meanwhile . . . More laughs from PressTV, the Iranian government mouthpiece:- A ranking Iranian lawmaker has lashed back at the United States over Washington's allegation on Iran's 'support for terrorism' and described the US as the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world.


And now for some excellent news - As reader CafeMark has been stressing for months, the really good news about the Spanish economy is that exports have been growing for well over a year now. Here's Charles Butler on this subject, with a post which I can fully understand. Almost. Not something I can say very often . . .

Tourism, too, has been growing well at the national level and is 7% up on last year. Albeit this only takes things back to pre-Crisis levels. In Galicia though - where foreign tourists are relatively rare - revenue is 6% down. This gives some credence to the view that more (foreign) tourists are coming to Spain because of developments in North Africa.

Facing elections in November, the Opposition PP party has shot a fish in the barrel. It's said it will extend the tax reduction on the purchase of new properties until 2013.

On a wider front, the two main parties have agreed that debt limits should be enshrined in the Constitution. Since they can't usually agree on the time of day, this must reflect a shared desire to put this in place before Spain is forced to do so by Brussels. For which read 'Germany'.

Finally . . . A few Pontevedra price comparisons:-
Cup of coffee - Ranges from 1.00 to 1.30 euros. Or 166-216 pesetas. Price when euro came in? - 85-100 pesetas. Increase: 95 to 116%
Almond choc-ice: 1.70 to 2.00 euros. The best? - Magnum. Prices when euro came in? No idea.
Mineral water: 1.00 to 1.30 euros. Prices when euro came in? Ditto. Probably the same as a regular ('small') coffee.

8 comments:

CafeMark said...

Well if you come to London, and search out a caff away from zone 1 and run by Portuguese, Turks or Poles, you can get a decent coffee for £1.30. But generally, yes, you'll pay close to £3 in the major chains, so the Spanish price tag still looks seductive.
Thanks for the name check, although I certainly don't deserve it. Kudos to the Spanish who've done really well in exporting, at a time when many countries also were in hard times. Of course, with home demand being so depressed, they've had little option but to export. Or export sandwich bars to the states - http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/a-spanish-starbucks-for-sandwiches-08112011.html
Let's hope their home demand can pick up and create some jobs.

Sierra said...

The "cap" seems a good idea until you get to the details:

"The debt cap which will form part of Spain’s Constitution will be calculated each year in line with growth, the Economy Minister has announced. Elena Salgado said in a radio interview on Wednesday that the idea is to obtain resources when times are good to act as a cushion when there are problems."

Sounds remarkably like a certain Mr Brown's "Golden Rules"

Ferrolano said...

Spanish prices for coffee are not seductive, it is that prices in the UK (and other similar places) are just too horrendous for consideration.

As with a lot of farm products, the grower gets totally screwed – with no loving..!! I know, I owned a cafetel in Costa Rica. And, if a cup of coffee costs 1 Euro, I would be lucky to get 1 cent from the sale.

Colin said...

I have never understood anyone would pay the prices of Starbucks, Costa Coffee, etc. Which is why I'm not a millionaire.

Colin said...

@F.

What's a cafetel?

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Like all things the consumer foots the final bill. I used to buy potatoes in a large bag from my local greengrocer in the UK. Then I discovered a farm shop just outside the town and started buying them there because they were cheaper. So did a lot of other people and before you knew it the price of potatoes was no cheaper than buying them at the local greengrocers. I stopped going to the farm shop but used to pass it when we would go to the beach. One day I saw a lorry unloading bags of potatoes at the back of the farm shop. So they were not home grown at all.

Ferrolano said...

Colin, Cafatel = Coffee Plantation

Colin said...

Plutocrat. Do you wear a stovepipe hat, as in all the Spanish cartoons?

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