A lot of Spanish cities used the easy, cheap money of the 90's to build their own Guggenheim. Galicia's vanity project is the Cidade da Culture – The City of Culture – on the outskirts of Santiago. Since it was finished a few years ago, they've been struggling to figure out what to do with it, other than to have people pay to wander round it. The official estimate of these for 2013 is 500,000, which will be going some against a total of 333,000 for the last two years. Whatever the number turns out to be, I aim to be a part of it. Pending some from me, here are some fotos of the place.
Even before they take advantage of the chance to become a Spanish resident (and taxpayer?) by buying a place for 160,000 or more, Russians now rank second only to Brits as buyers of Costa de Sol properties.
Talking of foreign tourists, this is how they rank in terms of per capita spending when they come to Spain:-
- FrenchOn the face of it, this French ranking looks odd but I figure it's because many of them are merely coming across the border to spend time in one of the huge brothels sited there with the very purpose of enticing them.
So, what percentage of Spaniards thinks political corruption is too high? Well, just under 100%, in fact. And almost as many believe that corrupt individuals are protected by their parties. There's a strong desire for the two main parties to come together to tackle this problem but breath-holding is not to be recommended.
And, meanwhile, life goes on as ever, with senior businessmen and politicians acting as if they don't give a toss what the public/electorate thinks. Sr Rodrigo Rato was a senior member of the PP party before taking an elevated position on the board of Bankía. In this capacity he's being investigated for alleged skulduggery but this appears to be of no concern to Telefónica, which has just appointed him to the advisory boards of its European and Latin America businesses. His specialist skills may be of more use in the latter than the former, I guess.
Another odd development was reported today – in 2003 a motorist drove at speed the wrong way down an autopista in Valencia, killing one person and seriously injuring several others. In 2011(8 years later!) he was jailed for 13 years. This week, however, the Council of Ministers has pardoned him, giving him a fine of 4,000 euros, to be paid over two years. No explanation for this has been given, inevitably leading to suspicion that the decision was less than objective. Somebody's nephew, maybe.
Finally . . . This, dear reader, is probably the truest thing you'll ever read - Ginger is the root of all good in any cook's repertoire. Shame, then, that the ever-conservative Galicians can't stand it. Which is why you'll never find it used – would you believe? - in a Chinese restaurant here. I once asked the waiter in one of these to ask the chef to include some ginger in the beef and spring onions dish I'd ordered. He asked me to describe it. I did, and he came back with a potato . . .