Monday, January 28, 2013

A day of contrasts in Lisbon. But, then, Portugal is like that; a collision of the magnificent old with the brutal and dilapidated new. Or not so new. Testament to its erstwhile splendour and more recent poverty.

One of the more beautiful buildings we saw this morning was the Galician embassy in Lisbon. I say 'embassy' but, of course, it isn't. It's just an impressive 'Centro' in a salubrious part of the city, dedicated to looking after Galicia's interests there. As if it were a sovereign state. There are several of these all over the world and Galicia isn't alone in spending millions on them every year. It's quite possible every region is Spain does. It's as if every county council in the UK indulged in this extravagance. By comparison with the Galician Centro, the British Embassy in Lisbon is a garden shed. Could there be any better candidates for the chop? By the way, among the many courses the Centro offers is flamenco dancing. Which you won't see in a thousand years in Galicia. Click here for an idea of the splendour and grandeur of this pointless pile.

In contrast, there's the truly appalling coach station in the Oriente barrio of Lisbon. This would be depressing enough in the sunshine but with the rain falling it's an invitation to suicide. And, in the Portuguese tradition, there's no information available as to which coach is leaving from which bay. As for the toilets, I've seen better in the Third World. Here are some fotos of both the bus station and the nearby train station. Presumably taken when they were new or in a brochure. Proof positive that fotos can lie. Presumably the architects were East European. Circa 1960.

The car-park beneath the coach station is the same immense size but actually more appealing, as no one's tried to be artistic with it. As underground car-parks go, it's quite acceptable. But there's only one pay machine, to which I had to make a 500 yard round trip to get my ticket endorsed. It struck me some slow folk might be in danger of having the allotted time run out before they got back to their car and tried to drive out. But at least it explained why there was no one parked anywhere near my car and plenty round the corner. Anyway, if there's only a few minutes to go before your bus leaves, go straight to the station. Otherwise, have a drink elsewhere first. You'll need it.

Back in Spain, the ex-Treasurer of the governing PP party has announced, via friends, that he knows where all the bodies are. Rather, that he has several boxes full of files with pertinent data in them. Which perhaps should not see the light of a courtroom. Stay tuned for Chapter 3.

Finally . . . Patricia Janet – or Baroness Scotland – came to the UK from Dominica as a two year old. After taking a law degree, she became the first ever black QC. She went on to become the first woman to hold the position of Attorney General since it was created in 1315. Just imagine what being her daughter must be like.


Perry said...

She ain't that much of a good role model. Whilst it's possible to take people out of the shit, sometimes it's not possible to take the shit out of people.

Colin said...

Yes, they touched on this - very sympathetically - in the R4 program I heard on her career.

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