If you're a foreigner resident in Spain and have become so during the last four years, the fiddly bit of paper that proves this is now obsolete. And you have to get a new one, re-paying the (increased) fee. A pure revenue exercise? A new tax on foreigners? Who knows? I won't be bothering to do this. I use my old (long-expired) laminated residence card to prove my identity when using my credit card. And, if I'm ever stopped by the police - which will now happen tomorrow, of course - I will show them my (not expired) Spanish driving licence. Or my library card. As a bit of a joke . . .
Incidentally, what I love about the Certificate of Residence is that it gives the (alleged) names of both of my parents. Why?
Spanish banks have a reputation - at least in this house - for providing a relatively poor (though paper-heavy) service while extracting the maximum amount of money from their locked-in clients. The average annual fee for having a current account is now around 200 euros, though I'm not sure this yet reflects the 35% increase being talked about as an easy way for the banks to compensate for their piss-poor business strategies over the last five to ten years. The other thing they're famous for is continuing to chase mortgagors once they've defaulted and handed title of the property to the bank. Or pursuing their parents, if the borrowers were under 35 and had to get their loan underwritten by these. I don't know whether this happens in other European countries but I'm pretty sure it's rare in Anglo-Saxon economies. As is charging for a current account, of course. Anyway, the number of "underwater" properties whose owners are said to have negative equity is now estimated at 250,000, following price falls of at least 20% over the last two years.
As predicted, unemployment figures rose at the end of August. But there's always a question mark over these. Click here for an explanation as to why.
Driving in Spain. News that will not surprise many of us . . . A government survey shows that 60% of Spanish motorists in Spain hog the outside lane even when not overtaking. More here.
Which reminds me - Another Galician kamikaze driver was stopped yesterday, after he'd driven 30km the wrong way down the A52 autovia. After explaining - rather unnecessarily, I'd have thought - that he'd taken a wrong turn, and after testing negative for alcohol, he was allowed to go on his way.
Brits remain the main foreign group visiting Spain but their average spend Jan-July was 6% down on last year. In contrast, that of the Scandinavians, the French and the Germans was up. And, for reasons unknown, Dutch visitors were 27% up in July. Perhaps they came to see the country whose team outplayed theirs in the World Cup last summer. And was kicked to perdition in the process. Expiation?
Finally . . . I was pleased to see Google's Blogger had changed the name for those who access this blog as Followers. They're now known as Members and this gives me the opportunity to welcome to Fernando L., Vanessa V. and Filip M., who joined this last week.
All of which reminds me that Blogger now has a new Dashboard format, via which they give me a stack of statistics on readership. From this I (happily) see that yesterday I had far more Page Views than suggested by either of the counters over on the right. Which has to be a good development. Though I've no idea how accurate.
I also want to thank the kind reader who became the 140th person to access my blog via Google Reader. Though it took them 2 or 3 days to recognise his arrival. Someone told me . . .
Apologies for my self-indulgence.