Thursday, October 11, 2012


With all sorts of mystifying things happening around my new car, hob and bathroom scales, I decided to start simple and read the slim guide for the latter. Bad choice. Naturally, it was made in China and the instructions are in Chinglish. For example – Fat% is an index of % fat content in human body. The fat content of a body is of a certain level, overabundance of fat will bring bad effects on metabolism, thereby, various illnesses may invade. Here goes an old saying “Obesity is hotbed of illness”. So, I think I'll leave the scales for now – especially as they give me one more kilo than my existing set – and start on the car manual. Tomorrow.

Talking of indecipherability . . . I see my electricity bills are now in a revised form. I wouldn't have thought it possible but it's even more difficult to interpret than before. And I don't believe that's an accident. I have set aside a day next week to try to make sense of it.

Doubtless with a view to generating more revenue, the Pontevedra council has conducted an initial survey of properties in the town and identified several hundred which are illegal. Specifically, they're registered in the land registry (the Registro) but not in the town register (the Catastro). This means they've been avoiding the annual property tax, the IBI. Some of them for 25 years. And one of these is an office block owned by the provincial government. Another is an old folks' home of many years standing. And one of the town's health centres is on the books as an empty plot. The council says it expects to find many more delinquent properties. I'm sure it will but what I can't understand is how it all happened in the first place. The staff of the Pontevedra Catastro and the Registro occupy the same building. In fact, they're on the same floor, facing each other on either side of the waiting area. I guess we'll never know whether it was all conscious fraud or just a normal bureaucratic cock up.

I've mentioned that Pontevedra has four different tourist offices, each of which acts independently of the others. And now they're to be joined by a fifth. This one will be dedicated to international tourism and will be charged initially with bringing more Russians here. Spain as a whole saw a 38% increase in Russian tourists this year but here in Galicia the total must still be around nil. I wish them well despite knowing that real success in bringing foreign tourists here will ruin the place for us residents. For example by upping tips from 0-5% to 10% or more. I'll feel better if reader Moscow assures me Russians are poor tippers.

It was good to see the right-of-centre El Mundo laying into the court which found the pharmacist not guilty of sexual harassment, despite his indulging in practices against his two staff which any sensible person would regard as harassment.

In Vigo a while back, a piece of a balustrade fell into the street, severely injuring a baby in a stroller. Legal action against council employees and maintenance contractors has just begun, a mere four years after the incident took place. If this is typical of Spanish justice, it's no wonder that Spaniards have little respect for it. I guess it's possible the child will be in secondary school before the process is complete.

Changing Spain: In Lugo last week, a magistrate ruled that fairground stall-holders should lower their bawling volume after the early-for-Spain hour of 10pm. Especially the guys on the jamón tombola stall. Who really do make a racket

Finally . . . When we went up to see the 7-a-side match last Sunday, we noticed the ground was in United Kingdom Street and that we approached it via Ireland St. So, I wonder if there's a Bosnia and Herzegovina St. And even a Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia St. I must check.

Finally, finally . . . Here and here are a couple of relevant articles by our Ambrose. They don't make pleasant reading but, if you want to know how things are here, then needs must.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Colin,

You just put your finger in an old sore wound. Tips here in Moscow must be the the highest in the world. Anything less than 15% and you will be considered mean. And it is not as if eating out here were cheap. The rule of thumb is you pay twice as much as in Spain for a bit less than the same. Which is why I avoid restaurants - except when I am invited.

You shouldn't worry though - Galice has no real atractions for Russians. No large cities, not much sun, cold water, no theme parks, not many casinos, bad flight connections......just don't tell them it is the home of Zara.

Colin said...

Sorry about that but I certainly agree that the new office has its work cut out. They'd be far better off targeting green Brits. Which would s eliminate the need to learn Russian.

In the US, I believe, it's now 20-25%. Same as in Venice. I was once with some American friends on the east coast and they were pursued to the carpark by a waitress who was unhappy with the tip.

Anonymous said...

A waiter here once made a real stink because of the low tip. But the tip was also low by anyone's standards. I was with a couple of stingy catalans, who couldn't understand what the fuss was all about.

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