Monday, July 30, 2012

Thanks to the Queen, I've learned a new Spanish word today. Or at least a new meaning. Padrastro means 'stepfather'. But also 'hangnail'. If you saw Friday's Olympics Opening ceremony, you'll understand how this has come about.

Talking of Spanish . . . I've been rather disappointed so far at my witticism(?) that, when the waitress (Leída) in my usual Veggie Square bar came back with the change, she'd be Leída y vuelta.

I girded up my loins this morning, ahead of yet another visit to Telefónica. In the event, all my preparation was to no avail. There were people queuing outside the door in the shop in town at 1.30 this morning. And, when I went this evening to the outlet in the Carrefour commercial centre on the other side of town, it was to find it had closed down. Ah, well. There's always mañana.

Checking my Telefónica file, I noted that, instead of using the modern name for the street of my bank, viz. Gutierrez Mellado, they'd used the Franco-era name of General Mola. This was quite shocking, as Mola was one of a group of particularly vile 'Nationalist' generals. For details, see Paul Preston's The Spanish Holocaust.

I've been known to suggest that innovation comes slowly to Spanish supermarkets. So I was pleasantly surprised to find today that the Carrefour hypermarket mentioned earlier had undergone quite a change. Young ladies on roller-skates; an efficient checkout system; a gourmet food section; rows of Asian foods and sauces; and even low-fat coconut milk. OK, El Corte Inglés was doing all this in Vigo ten years ago – well, save for the skaters – but better late than never.

As I prepare to pen a paragraph or two on corruption in Spain, I was interested to read that the government's introduction of (variable) prescription charges had exposed the existence of 150,000 health cards belonging to people living six feet under. Plus 800,000 cards whose owners are no longer registered in the social security system. Not surprisingly, there's been a 15-20% fall in the number of prescriptions issued. No one will be too surprised to hear that fraudulent practices are most common in Andalucia.

Finally . . . The wi-fi café I used this morning has some breakfast-bar type seats, looking out of over the river and the city. I use them as the signal's strongest there. One other advantage is that you're a couple of feet above the people outside and, if you want, you can read what they're writing on their laptops. This morning, there was a young lady there, doing the three things that young Spanish women do best:- 1. Smoking; 2. Tapping away on her mobile phone, and 3. Doing little to hide her long tanned legs and her ample assets. It really shouldn't be allowed. I should be forced to find another place to sit.

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