Thursday, July 19, 2012

This may sound strange but I sometimes I catch myself wishing I smoked. Why? Because it would give me a reason to sit on my back steps and revel in the setting of the sun on Pontevedra, way down below me. Why don't I just go and do this without a cigarette in my hand? Dunno really. Perhaps it's a function of the protestant work ethic. I wouldn't feel comfortable just sitting there doing nothing.

As expected, there are reports that, despite the awards of tenders, work on Spain's high speed train – the AVE – has ground to a halt. As someone has put it, neither the paperwork nor the machines are moving. I hereby withdraw my prediction of 2018 as the year in which we'll be able to train rapidly down to Madrid. Mind you, in the UK they're talking about dates like 2035 for high-speed trains to the north.

The latest thieving politician in the dock is the Mayor of Alicante, Sonia Castedo, who's been arraigned on three counts of corruption. As has her predecessor. Is there a clean mayor out there? By the way, I have to confess to getting daughter and father mixed up yesterday. The woman whose father has won the Christmas lottery three or four times is the politician who said Que se joden! (Fuck 'em) when the socialist deputies complained about the effect of cuts on the unemployed.

One of the governments new tax measures is to bring in prescription charges for senior citizens. I think I've expressed already some concern as to how this would be done. But, here, we have a fulsome description of the modus operandi. Keep it complex and paper-heavy again seems to have been the approach taken. As you would expect.

Here's a quote on the property situation in Spain - The housing stock has increased by 3.5%, or 888,972 new homes, since the crisis began in 2008, despite a 95% collapse in new housing starts. Thanks to the inertia in the home building industry it can take two years or more for declining housing starts to feed through into lower construction completions. “Two years”? We should have been so lucky. It took 6 years to build the 23 properties behind ours. All of which lie empty. And without even a Se Vende sticker in any window.

Finally . . . And to be more positive, here's a web page dedicated to the pretty villages and towns of Spain. And this one is devoted to Galicia. You might like to see whether your own hometown is included.


Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

With all do respect to the fine Protestant people anywhere, I think the Protestant ethic has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. If you'd like to admire the sun from your deck and not feel guilty of "vagrancy", invite a good looking woman who can share the moment with you. That could keep you busy for a long time. Deep thoughts from a Catholic!


SF Bay Area

Sierra said...

If you think the co-payment system is complex, try this one regarding "Residency reequirements for EU citizens living in Spain"

Bill said...

Or indeed the rules for non-EU citizens living in Spain, specially the variants for those coming from Spanish-speaking Latin American countries! I've had occasion to become a little knowledgeable about this in recent times - nothing so simple as even having to submit all the papers in one office in one town, rather the need to trail across the region (Murcia in this case) to obscure little towns to submit certain papers - I can only assume this is to bring jobs to places that otherwise would have even fewer as well as just being plain awkward.

On another topic, sunsets at my place in Spain are best viewed from my front patio, whence I have amazing views across a mainly agricultural valley toward a line of hills behind which the sun sets at different positions as the seasons progress. I tend to have a glass of chilled fino and little bowls of nuts and olives - people passing by for their evening stroll say "hola!" or perhaps stop in for a glass. Very nice :)

Ferrolano said...

Following the link, I see that neither Ferrol nor Pontevedra qualify as “Pueblos Bonitos de España” – I am not surprised by Ferrol not being on the list as the city elders seem to manage to screw things up rather than improve them. However, in the case of Pontevedra, they seem to have done a fine job of things.
As for sunsets, in Ferrol and the surrounding area, I have seen some of the best examples of anywhere in the world. And just the other evening, sat on the terrace of a bar, overlooking the beach, with a cold beer in hand, I had a spectacular show as the sun gently fell until being swallowed-up by the sea.

Candide said...

Ah, you just forgot the alternative, Colin:

Azra said...

I wonder what Sonia Castedo would do if she was one of the unemployed...

And those properties are still empty? How much would they sell for anyway? If that was SA, you'd have squatters already.

Colin said...


Ah, yes. Good idea,

Colin said...

@ Ferrolano. Yes, it astonishes me that Pontevedra city is not included.

@Jorge. I'll do my best.

@Bill. Yes, this dislocated underemployment is a feature of the Third World and sometime makes t difficult to appreciate that Spain has come a long, long way since 1976.

I envy you the people passing by. Saying How do
you do. They're simply saying . . .

@Azra. She insists her remarks were directed at the opposition politicians opposite here. And has since apologised. So that's alright then.

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