Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Spanish clock; Museums: Veils; The EU; Beggars; and Blood sucking.

According to her lines of longtitude, all of Spain - with the possible exception of Cataluña - should be on the same clock as Portugal below her and Britain above her. I've always thought this would never change but a government committee has been set up to consider the benefits of switching to GMT. One disbenefit - for us up here in Galicia - is that we'd lose a good part of our light summer evenings.

My visitors went to the Pontevedra museum yesterday, the exhibits of which have now almost all been transferred to their new (and ugly) home of glass and granite slabs. All of said exhibits, they later told me, are labelled only in Gallego. I was reminded of a visit I made 10 years ago to the museum management, when I offered to translate all the labels from Gallego into English. "We don't have enough space even to put them in both Gallego and Spanish", I was told. "But we will when the new museum is open in 3 years time and we'll contact you then." But they didn't come back to me. Just like all the other places for whom I offered to do free translations.

Over in the UK, there's been a lot of attention given in the last few days to the question of whether women should be allowed to wear the niqab or burka in certain situations. Press stories are all accompanied by a picture of the same veiled woman with beautifully seductive eyes, leading me to conclude it might not be a bad thing after all.

Not so long ago, you'd never hear or see a word against the EU in Spain. For one reason and another, it was a decidedly popular institution and to criticise it was to commit heresy. My, how things have changed. Only 49% of Spaniards now think the EU has been postive for Spain's economy, well down on earlier findings. Similarly, only 59% are still in favour of the EU, against nigh on 100% 5 or 6 years ago. What chance a referendum at the  same time as Britain's in 2015?

We have a new musician-cum-beggar in town. A young, well dressed young lady, playing nothing more complicated than a recorder but giving us a tolerable rendition of Ode to Joy, the EU anthem. One hopes this isn't the start of a long descent into drugs. If so, I'm bound to see her again, on my side of the river, heading for the drug dealer's corner of the O Vao industrial park.

Talking of which . . . Last night, while watching the evening paseo in Pontevedra's main square, we were assailed by one of the scruffy, pipe-tooting beggars of the town. Declining to give him anything, I told him I'd seen him in the O Vao barrio and wasn't disposed to giving him money to spend on drugs. "No," he said, "I only go there to get hashish. But I wouldn't spend your money on that. I'd only spend it on a sandwich". Which I didn't find remotely persuasive, of course.

Talking of the paseo . . . If you sit at the same observation post for long enough, you're bound to see people pass you twice, coming and going. Last night we noted a young lass in an elegant purple dress and with a flower in her hair, who passed us not once, not twice, not thrice but four times in the space of 30 or 40 minutes. We assumed she wanted to be seen but weren't quite sure by whom. It's possible she wasn't being noticed - except by us - because she was the only young woman not in extrememly short shorts.

Finally . . Another person we saw crossing the main square last night was Draculín, or 'Little Dracua'. This is a remarkably elegant chap who lives on my side of the river and whom I regularly see walking into and out of town. Complete always with cane and, in winter, with cape. He's an artist who goes by the name of Vladimir Dragosán/Wladimir Dragossán but this isn't his real name, of course. Which is Rafael Pintos. He plays on the belief that he's a blood-drinking vampire and can be seen here singing (sort of) in a local cemetery. We've only spoken once, when a young Portuguese female admirer asked me to give him her email address. If you haven't seen enough of him, here's another Facebook page he seems to have.


Anonymous said...

I thought you didn't know galician

Anonymous said...

or perhaps you've learnt since the last time you complained for receiving a letter written in Galician (in Galicia!) rather than in Castilian ... perhaps some people should take a leaf of your book: it's easier to learn it than to moan about it, and it wont take as long either

Colin said...

Just to be accurate - I complained of the letter ONLY being in Galego and not in both Galego and Castellano, as they had been when I first came here.

There is no rationale whatsoever for my learning Galego. Nonetheless, I have picked up some.

"Quicker to learn it than complain about it" - that must be retranca.

Anonymous said...

Of course there's no rationale, you are free to choose how ignorant you want to be.

Colin said...

How true. And I hope to remain almost as ignorant of Galego as you are of civility.

Anonymous said...

Ignorant of Galego in Galicia - That Galego must surely be an inferior language. Never mind it is the 1000 years old original and distinctive language of the people who live in Galicia and who still speak it after all the efforts done through the last centuries to have it swept under the carpet.

Anyway, doesn't really annoy you that some people where you live (Galicia) persist in speaking in a local language (galego from Galicia) that you want to ignore (surely, for the most rational reasons)?

I would find it quite annoying ...

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