Saturday, September 14, 2013

Airports; Shops; The rail crash; Motoring fines; Gib; and The Union Jack.

As I've noted more than once, Galicia's 3 small international airports are nut-crackered by Oporto's superior facility on the one side and Ryanair playing them off against each other for subsidies on the other. I thought of this last night when picking up some old friends at a less-than-busy Vigo airport. As it happens, the city's administration has recently decided to approve subsidies to low-cost airlines. Specifically €303k to a company called Volotea, who are new to me. But I suspect this will turn out to be too little too late.

The Pontevedra retail scene continues to confound me. We now have at least 5 frozen yoghurt or chocolatiere places - and one which combines both - while common-or-garden cafés continue to close. And then there are the new sweet(candy) shops. Will they all survive the onset of autumn and winter? I suspect not.
Talking of Pontevedra . . . The internaional average for the percentage of the work force employed in public administration is 18%. In Galicia as a whole, it's 22%. And for Pontevedra city, I wouldn't be overly surprised if it were over 90%. I exaggerate, of course, but perhaps not by very much. As I say, the percentage of those working in the retail sector falls by the day.

What constitutes a 'recession'? There is a technical definition, of course. So you'd think there'd be no room for differences on how long Spain has been in recession. And yet I read yesterday that it was 2 years and then later heard on a BBC podcast it was 4 years. Not exactly a minor difference.

Spain's (in)famous left-wing judge, Báltasar Garzón, has been trying to get the national rail carrier, Renfe, into the dock alongside the railtrack company, Adif, and the driver of the train which crashed so spectacularly in Santiago a month or so ago. So far he's not had any success but I suspect he'll stick to his last, even though there may be opposing forces at work stronger than those of the enquiring judge.

Given the number of motoring fines I've garnered in the last 10 years, I wasn't pleased to hear that the police now not only don't need to stop you for some (alleged) offence but that all they need to do is post notice of your fine in the national bulletin. Should this not be your daily reading, your fine and late-payment penalties will tot up relentlessly. So it was that the writer of a recent letter to El País had his reach 1,600 euros, from a base of 100. You can, theoretically, get details of your situation from the web page of the Traffic Department but my details have never been recognised there. This site may be of greater help to those now worried by this news. I believe it searches the national bulletin for any relevant citation. Good luck.

By the way, you may have wondered how our friend finally found out about the 1,600 euros he'd been fined. I believe it was when the police used their powers to take it straight out of his bank account.

The least surprising news of yesterday - "Now that the summer is over, the Foreign Minister is talking to his British counterpart about the relevant forums which will discuss matters relating to Gibraltar." This, of course, was on page 16 of the paper.

Finally . . . What is it with the British flag, the Union Jack? While taking my midday tiffin yesterday, I noted 3 women wearing T-shirts or carrying bags bearing it. Does this happen to any other country's standard? And do the women actually know they're flying the flag for Britain?


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Timbo said...

Ex-judge Baltazar Garzon. Removed for abuse of authority. Go figure.

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