Sunday, July 21, 2013

The weather, Spanish delays, Catalan attitudes, Continuing corruption, Property bargains, and Spanish English.

Both Brits and Galicians are pretty obsessed by their (admittedly, highly variable) weather. Here in Galicia there's been quite a change in the last few days, with the temperature falling from 35 degrees plus to a mere 22 or so. This has naturally led to the locals returning to their refrain that, after a lousy spring, we're being denied a real summer by the weather gods. Over in the UK, on the other hand, their heatwave continues and, rather than complaining that the summer is the usual washout, they're moaning that it's so hot that hundreds of people are dying as a result. All this endorses the eternal truth - that folk who live under a maritime climate are never happy with their weather.

A few of the people involved in the Concordia cruiser tragedy of a year or so ago have been tried, convicted and sentenced. My reaction on reading this was "Only a year!?". Here in Spain, the trial of those accused after the Prestige oil disaster of 10 years ago continues to wend its way through the courts.

Talking of dilatory processes . . . There's a house in Pontevedra's old quarter for which it's taken 6 years - yes, 6 years! - to get permission to restore it. The process was described as a viacrucis, or a 'way of the cross'. Which is a phrase - like calvario or 'calvary' - I rather like. Work has recently begun on two other long-standing eyesores in the old quarter and I wonder whether they've both been similarly mired in the bureaucratic mud. 

To be more positive, here's a foto of one ex-eyesore, recently finished. Of course, it'll be an eternity before a shop opens on the ground floor. Which reminds me . . . We have yet another frozen yoghurt outlet in Pontvedra. And another place specialising in chocolate products. Is the birth rate booming?

Listening to a BBC podcast on the Scottish drive for independence, I was both surprised and impressed to hear that, if you display any sign of anti-English attitudes, you're immediately expelled from the Scottish Nationalist Party. Contrast Cataluña, where it's obligatory, I suspect, to display a visceral anti-Spanishness.

"L'état, c'est moi". Who said that? No, not Louis XIV but Spain's President Rajoy. Responding to questions about corruption, he replied imperiously "The state will not be subjected to blackmail." Along the same lines, the Minster of the Economy has told us that stability is Spain's main strength. The message being - Don't endanger it by going on and on about corruption in the PP governing party. Stop seeking Sr Rajoy's removal as this will bring about the collapse of the Spanish state. As if. Incidentally, El Roto had a nice cartoon in El País the other day. It was the blindfolded figure of Justice, saying - "Don't seal my ears. Seal my nose."

If you've got between 140,000 and 11m euros lying around and are thinking of investing in a property in Spain, here's a few examples of what you can get for your money. I rather like the look of the one with an 85% price reduction. Some of the rest leave me stone cold.

My friend Phil translates chess stuff from Spanish into other languages. He was saying yesterday how hard it was sometimes to deal with very long convoluted sentences in Spanish. Which reminded me of a thought I've had a few times - viz. that it's always easier to read an article translated from English into Spanish than to read an article written in Spanish. The reason is that someone translating English into Spanish will stick to the shorter, less flowery sentences of the original.

Finally . . . An arresting thought; it takes a minimum of 4 litres of water to make a litre of bottled water.

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Alfred B. Mittington said...

Gregory Rabassa, the great translator of Garcia Marques, Vargas Llosa and all the other Latin American authors in the 60s and 70s, has a neat solution for that problem: he chopped the lengthy Spanish sentences up into shorter English ones. And my, did it work!


Colin said...

Thanks, Al. I'll tell Phil he's in good company. Did any of these fine writers write anything about chess?

Azra said...

And it takes 40 litres of water to make one sheet of paper. Or that's what I read.

People are never happy about the weather. I've been complaining about winter - a rather mild winter at that - and when the summer comes, you'll hear about how terribly hot it is lol :)

Iona said...

This is awesome!