Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The crash - Qs without As; Risk-taking in Spain; And British manners.

So, what to make of yesterday's report that the black box reveals that the Santiago-bound train driver was dealing with a call from his employer (RENFE) when he approached the point at which he needed to quickly reduce speed from 200 to 80kph? Did they know where he was when they called him? Was it because of this he missed the warning sign at the side of the track and only realised too late he was approaching the (tight) bend? Is this why RENFE have yet to make a statement, other than via a magazine article in which the President laid all blame at the door of the driver? Maybe we'll get some answers soon.

Meanwhile, the most cynical comment I've yet heard is that Spain will still be awarded the 13bn euro contract for installation of a high-speed train network in Brazil but will have to pay above-normal levels of 'commission'.

Spain and Risk 1: A teenage boy died in a bull-running fiesta in Albacete, outside Madrid on Saturday last.

Spain and Risk 2: On the building site below my house, some of the 3-4 men working there wear hard hats and some don't. Even when the crane is moving backwards and forwards above them.

Spain and Risk 3: Under the new legislation I mentioned yesterday, pedestrians will be breathalysed if they break (undefined) road rules. And cyclists under 18 will be fined for not wearing helmets in town. Above that age, you can do what you like, it seems.

Spain and Risk 4: You are allowed to drive a sin carnet here without any training or testing whatsoever, though they may not be allowed on the autovías and autopistas. I wonder where else in the EU this happens. Other than Portugal. They are, of course, a bloody nuisance on Galicia's many hills. But live and let live, I say.

Spain and Risk 5: The government has said it's doubling the fine for driving above the (low) limit from 500 to 1000 euros. In this area, Spain has gone from laxity to extreme stringency in the last decade. But it's hard to argue against this, even if the main impetus really is revenue generation

Spanish Language: Tocayo/a means namesake. Apparently it's used when greeting someone with the same name as you - Hola, tocayo/a. This happens a lot more in Spain than elsewhere, of course, given the small pool of (saints') names which has traditionally been available. Compulsory, even. This has its upside; I call all women I meet Maria. Especially those whose name I've forgotten.

British Manners: I was amused to read this tale of a Spaniard who lives in the UK but regularly comes back home:- Puccio realised she had adopted her new home’s attitudes when she found herself getting frustrated by a group of tourists who had stopped in the middle of the footpath and made it difficult for others to get past. “I thought ‘How selfish’, when in Spain I would've been more laid back’.” She has also learnt new ways of dealing with conflict: instead of losing her temper and making a scene, she has developed the British ability to convey irritation in the politest possible manner. Puccio relies on regular trips home to hold on to her Spanish-ness, though she admitted she sometimes finds her Britishness coming to the fore when she sees people riding scooters on the footpath, for example. “I have to remind myself I don’t have to worry about things, that I can just chill out.” 

I may get there myself one day.


Sierra said...

" A teenage boy died in a bull-running fiesta in Albacete, outside Madrid on Saturday last."

This was in Isso on the border of Albacete and Murcia provinces - so well "outside" Madrid - 275km approx.
The Olive Press obviously gets a bit lost outside of the Costa de Sol said...

"...when he approached the point at which he needed to quickly reduce speed from 200 to 80kph..."

With all due respect for the lost and injured, there is a very similar set-up just east of Burgos. It´s on the national road to Logroño. And there´s a Guardia Civil radar camera right there.

Perry said...


Have just viewed a blast from the past, well July 2006! A large notice board with the incautious message:

The present project co-funded by the EU contributes to reducing the social & economic disparities between the citizens of the Union. A way of making Europe.

It's situated opposite 6 Calle Recondo, Valladolid. The price tag is 13,990,000 Euros.

There will not be spending like that for years to come. Should have saved the loot to pay the enhanced commissions for Brazil's railway contract you heard about. Will that commercially sensitive intelligence be discussed in the MSM?



Anonymous said...

Well Colin, What's the Spanish for "recklessness" - I was astounded to find a translation. How could Spanish men have such a word in their vocabulary?

I read that the feminine is "imprudencia" - Hemline too high?

Then there's the masculine "tameridad" which must mean playing with one's phone on a bend.


Colin said...

Well, imprudencia and temeridad, I guess.

Have you seen the latest revelation, in El País, about the call which distracted the driver?

Colin said...

Well, imprudencia and temeridad, I guess.

Have you seen the latest revelation, in El País, about the call which distracted the driver?

Colin said...

@Rebrites. You mean a car driver has to reduce quickly from 100 to 80/50? Or a train driver has to reduce from 200 to 80 alongside the N road?

Bill said...

I've been much enjoying your series of articles on the train crash and of course some of the comments too - all very informative and supplementing what I've been reading elsewhere.

As for RSS feeds now that Google Reader is defunct, I'm now using a mixture of utiities for PC and smarthphone:
- Feedly (on both PC and my two smarthhones);
- back-up on PC is Bloglines, which I used for several years before Google Reader was launched;
- back-up on smartphone is gReader, which is supposed to emulate exactly the old Google Reader on smarthphone, but actually uses the Feedly database to 'fuel' the feeds.

Several weeks prior to Google Reader closing I exported all my feeds in CSV and was able to import these direct into Feedly - it was very straightforward. I already had much the same data in Bloglines, but updated the files there with the latest version exported from Google Reader.

Although Google Reader was pretty good, I never really liked it - Feedly is much better and is better at integrating News/Blog feeds and social media feeds, plus it is seamless between PC and smarthphone so is highly-practical.

Colin said...

Many thanks, Bill. I've now migrated to Feedly and am sure I will come to love it. Cheers.