Note: I've now added some captions to last night's post. Scroll down if you want to see these. And now for something completely different . . .
“Our way of exporting” said some Galician bigwig yesterday “is to attract foreigners to Galicia.” Well, mate, you might give some thought to having brochures in languages other than Gallego, starting with the one for the biggest fiesta of the year, which began yesterday. By the way, there's no way of telling whether, by 'foreigners', he meant just those from outside Spain or also those from Spain's 16 other regions. I suspect the latter.
My house-guest, Ian, has spent the last week working at the pilgrims' office in Santiago, trying to organise them into orderly lines so they can receive their Compostelas as quickly as possible. This has been hot, thirsty and exhausting work – made even more tiring by Italians who show no recognition of the concept of queuing and believe that the poor clerks at the desk can deal with 17 of them all at the same time. I've suggested to Ian he takes in a machine gun next time. Or any weapon, as Italians are famous for running away at the mere sight of these.
When I took Ian to the station at 10 this morning, we passed a woman returning from a night's fun in the city. Nothing unusual in this but she was walking across the bridge in full evening dress, complete with high heels and a little sling bag across her shoulder. Only in Spain? I'd have been less surprised if she'd been walking in the opposite direction, into town. For last night was the annual debutantes' ball at the summer premises of the Casino on our side of the bridge.
This ball is not the only anachronism which featured yesterday. If you've seen the fotos I posted last night, you'll have noted one of them is of a black gentlemen looking rather like the cartoon images of negroes which used to feature in Anglo papers and magazines. Or on the Black and White Minstrels show. Spain is a little behind in these things and I doubt there's a single Spaniard who'd think this image is insulting, belittling, etc. Nor is there anyone who wouldn't be upset at the suggestion it was racist. After all, no one intends to be racist so, by Spanish definition, they aren't.
In a woefully crude survey, I counted 37 shops in Pontevedra boarded up this morning. I say 'boarded up' but it's invariably brown paper that does the job. And I read that Galicia had lost 125,000 jobs in the last five years. Which is a nice counterpoint to the fact that, in Pontevedra at least, not a single bureaucrat has been made redundant. Well, somebody has to occupy the humongous new complex of offices built on the edge of town three years ago.
The most beautiful woman I know has invited me to join BranchOut. This turns out to be a “Facebook application designed for finding jobs, networking professionally, and recruiting employees.” I'd love to think she'd singled me out but I suspect I'm just one of dozens on her round-robin list. Still, beauty must be respected and I'll have to give it some thought. Incidentally, I last saw the young woman in question at a wedding and admired her from afar. Imagine my confusion (inter alia) when she approached me at the reception and asked “Do you remember when I used to sit on your knee in Tehran?” I can't recall what I said in response but it certainly wasn't in English. Or Persian, for that matter. Let's call it Splutter.
My friend 'James Tyler' has sent me another pleasant message:- “hey you english slime! dont you know Spain is in a recession? its time for you to go back to your shit-hole island of England and live with the pakies and niggers!! if i run into you in Galicia i gonna cut your balls and hang you of the balcony of your house!” He thought this was so good, he sent it twice - despite the errors of punctuation, syntax and grammar which expose him to ridicule. Above and beyond that generated by his racist views, I mean. I'm guessing he's Spanish.
Finally . . . A piece of travelling advice: Sunday morning in Spain is the best time to find a parking space. But the worst for getting hold of a newspaper in a cafe. The world and his wife and looking for something to read. Often at the same, chat-free, quiet(!) table.