Wednesday, December 05, 2012


I wrote yesterday of the arrest of yet another high-profile Spanish businessman, Gerardo Díaz Forrán. I also cited the the lack of trust in politicians. Right on cue, Nick Lynne of Iberosphere writes - The arrest of the former head of Spain’s employers’ association should come as a shock. Sadly, it is more likely to be interpreted by the international community as yet another indication of the many deep-rooted and extensive problems that afflict this country, the most important of which is a lack of transparency in politics and business, along with a failure to implement corporate governance practices. This being the underlying situation, should there really be any surprise the politicians and their friends went to town when money flooded into Spain after the launch of the euro? And wasn't it all totally predictable? Did no one warn the mandarins in Brussels, when they went ahead with their one-size-fits-all-we-can-trust-everybody model? Apparently not.

As I've said a couple of times, it's hard to know how to deal with the myriad beggars and panhandlers who populate Pontevedra's streets – the accordionists, the bagpipe players, the middle-aged, middle-class men and women sitting on the steps of shuttered shops, the gypsy crone who tries to tell your fortune, the men and women who shove a hand in your face as you're trying to read El País, the gypsies outside the churches, the guys who guide you – unnecessarily - into public parking spaces, and the gypsies at the supermarket doors. Which of these are really deserving? And which of these are more deserving than the rest? Apart from the hash-heads slaughtering tunes on pipes, it's really hard to decide. And now a tough challenge has been made even more difficult. For it emerges there are Romanian gangmasters who 'employ' compatriots to stand for twelve hours outside supermarkets, paying them peanuts and living very high on the hog from the proceeds. I guess I'll stick with my policy of paying no one but the truly good performers who lighten my day as I pass their pitch on Plaza de Peregrina. The young lady who plays classical music on the flute and the couple who perform enchanting folk songs. Ironically, possibly from Rumania.

Talking of gypsies . . . We all know they came to Europe from Egypt. Hence the name. And also that they originally came from India. But DNA research now shows, it's reported, that they came from the Untouchables class there. Hard as it may be to believe sometimes - especially when you see them scouring the rubbish containers at night - they've actually come up in the world. Finally on this – In Western Europe, it's Spain which has the highest percentage of Gypies among its population.

Walking past a cake shop yesterday, I saw a plate of Jesuitas in the window. These seem to have come to Spain from Argentina, like the churrasquerías, or places which specialise in grilled meats. These are said to be images of Jesuitas but I have my doubts, as one of the fotos in the second row is of the pasteis de Belém I recently enjoyed in Lisbon. Anyway, I'm now left wondering how many other pastries in Spain are named after religious orders.
After typing the above paragraph earlier this evening, I found it impossible resist the siren call of the churrasquerías of Pontevedra. So I drove down to town and parked near the one close to the Parador. Only to find it closed, leaving me with a longish walk to the other place I know of. But it was worth it.
Talking of closed places . . . It's not only shops which are reincarnating themselves but also bars. Walking back to my car last night, I passed one which has re-invented itself as least thrice in the last five years. First it was an ordinary tapas bar. Then an Irish bar. Then an upmarket tapas bar. And now it's closed but with a notice on the door saying it will open as a pulpería/pulpeira in January. These are places which specialise in octopus. Good luck to it. If only because of perseverance, it deserves to succeed.

Finally . . . Facebook continues to do things which stretch my patience. Today I logged on to find the message Conecta con Jotxe on my wall. This turns out to me a woman who will hep me realise my dreams, to know myself better, to resolve those doubts which trouble me, to chose the best moment for taking those important decisions, etc., etc.
Doubtless a woman of integrity but how the hell does she get to promote herself on my wall? Is she paying Facebook for this privilege? And is there some way I can stop these intrusions? I bet it's not worth asking Facebook. That said, by pure chance, I've just seen that Facebook has sent me an email on the subject of Our Global Site Governance Vote. Maybe if I could be bothered their jargon-stuffed message, I'd get some answers to the questions raised.

BTW – If you're tempted to check out Ms Jotxe, you should know she appears to achieve everything through analysis of Zodiac signs. Not necessarily a charlatan. Possibly just an idiot, tapping profitably into global imbecility.

2 comments:

Anthea said...

We have to remember that Spain's high Gypsy population includes the home grown variety. There were already lots of them before the Rumanians started arriving. If you know anyone called Reyes they are probably form an old Gypsy family. They probably invented Flamenco. Some of them are now respectable member sof society but they all know what disrimination is about.

Colin said...

Yes, there are said to be 3 categories of gypsies in Ponters, none of whom are Rumanian:-
1. Those who have entered Spanish society and send their kids to school, etc.

2. Spanish gypsies who live near me in their settlement

3. 'Portuguese' gypsies who also live in a settlement near me, separate from the other one.

Neither of the latter groups participates in Spanish society. And are regularly busted.

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