Friday, July 05, 2013

Cultural differences; Language nonsense; Gibraltar follie--de-grandeur; Siesta sayonara; etc.

Another example of the clash between British and Spanish cultures today. If that sounds like a complaint, it isn't. My lovely neighbour Ester asked me to take her 3 kids down town with me at lunchtime. And just as I was leaving Veggie Square an hour or so later, her beautiful 17 year old daughter, Maria, called to ask if I could give her a lift back home. So we met at the Post Office and walked to the car, with me trying to get Maria to talk English in advance of her trip to Ireland next week. As we walked, Maria's left arm kept brushing against my right arm, forcing me to do what any British man would do - move to the left so as to avoid being accused of attempted rape. But it was no use as Maria - totally unaware of and unconcerned about what was happening - continued to brush against me. So I gave up and went with the flow, trying hard not to feel guilty about something that was completely innocent.

Regionosity/Nationality/Languageality: The Valencian Language Academy has sided with the Spanish Language academy and laughed at the regional politicians' claim that Valencian is a separate language from Catalan. And at their sophistry aimed at proving this. Language, they say, should not be used as a political tool. Possibly true but honoured in Spain more in the breach than in the observance. Especially - and perhaps ironically - in Cataluña. Expect the Valencian academicians to be accused of being lackeys of the Barcelona government.

Dogged by domestic difficulties, the Spanish government seems determined to stoke up the Gibraltar distraction so as to prove its Spanish credentials. Following gun-firing Guardia Civil members violating sea space, we now have fighter jets violating air space. All very transparent and pathetic. But possibly effective. Who was it said "There's nowt as thick as the general public"?

I touched on the possibility of Spain changing its ridiculous horario the other day. Well, here's The Local with a commentary on this theme and a riposte to Der Spiegel - Spain moves to a different rhythm to the rest of Europe with people working, eating and going to bed later than anywhere else. In The Local's latest opinion piece, we ask whether its time for a change to the country's habits.

The mangling of English: Some bright spark has had the idea to call a hotel Hotel Room. In Pontevedra at least. It's close to the station, a little out of town, and charges 75-85 euros for a double room, as opposed to, say, 62 for the Rias Bajas right in the centre. But the most eye-catching feature of Hotel Room is that its restaurant is "located at 10 minute's walk of the hotel." I give it a year.

Two things have brought home this week the fact that summer really did arrive last week. Firstly, we're in the throes of a heat wave subjecting us to temperatures of 30+, which are far too high for Brits and Galicians alike. And the second thing was the arrival of 3 Economist magazines all at once. One is 4 days late and the other two are 11 and 18 days late respectively. I wonder what goes through the mind of the people who chuck magazines in a corner during the summer months. If anything.

Finally . . . A guy was recently stopped for driving at 160kph in a 120kph zone. Turned out to be the Head of Gerona's Traffic Department on his way to a conference on road safety. At least he had the decency to resign.


Anthea said...

What about Mallorquin, the version of Catalan they speak in the Balearics? Is that a separate language?

Colin said...

No. I think it was mentioned in the article as being the same language as Catalan and Valenciano.

Search This Blog