Thursday, September 19, 2013

Banks; Owls; Airports; Fatal driving; Bureaucracy; and Bull baiting;

There was a time - and it feels like only yesterday - when Pontevedra's bank branches seemed as numerous as its beggars, with all of the big names - and some of the smaller ones - competing to open a (people heavy) place on every street. My, how things things have changed. Those banks that have survived - usually by merging - are now closing branches and laying off staff at an almost equal pace. Or simply 'letting go' of half their employees. The latter has been Citibank's strategy so far but my own guess is this, too, will close ere long.

In contrast, more and more owls are appearing in the city's cafés. But, when you see pigeons gaily pecking below them, you do wonder whether this stampede to buy one doesn't owe more to thoughtless imitation - or perhaps desperation - than to research. Anyway, I shall spare you another foto, in the interests of the ochlophobes such as Alfie Mittington among you. Incidentally, my spell check gave me homophobes as a replacement for ochlophobes.

While Galicia's 3 small international airports compete for declining passenger numbers, Oporto's has seen a record number of flights and passengers over the summer. There's a lesson in this somewhere but no one in Galicia seems to be able to find it.

Talking of tourism . . . The devil, as ever, is in the details. Numbers of visitors may be up but the per capita spend is down. For our 3 airports the bad news is that very few people arrived here by plane in July and August, preferring cars, buses, bikes or even, in the case of pilgrims en route to Santiago, their feet.

Galicia seems to suffer an alarming number of people - nearly always men - who die beneath their overturned tractors. I'm guessing this is because it's a hilly region and these men are often working on slopes. What accounts for the high number of people who drive off the quays into the sea, I don't know. Likewise the appreciable number of drivers who don't seem to realise it's dark.

I read yesterday that, while evolution continues, the pace is so slow we won't see any impact on we humans during our lifetime. I'm not so sure; I don't think it'll be long before Spain's budding bureaucrats are born with a stapler in their hands.

Which reminds me . . . My visitors went yesterday to a supermarket in town. Meeting up, they asked me why they'd been asked to both give their PIN and to sign a copy of the credit card chit. What on earth was I supposed to say? No bloody idea?

The latest bit of Spanglish: Our mayor - talking of the suspension of the works aimed at covering up an archeological site with sand - has assured us that these are now en standby. Or suspended, I guess.

There's an annual bull fiesta down near Tordesillas which consists of releasing a bull in the town, driving it across a bridge into the countryside and then repeatedly stabbing/lancing it to death. I doubt even aficionados of the corridas find much to admire in this and it really should be stopped. This year, the event was disrupted by numerous protesters, whom the local mayor accused of 'endangering life'. But not the bull's, of course. As it happened, the only person seriously injured was a journalist who got too close with his camera and was gored in the thigh.

Finally . . . I frequently see people wearing T-shirts with odd English on the front of them. But yesterday's took the biscuit - a young lady with the large word SICK across her chest. But I cheered up when I later saw another young lady wearing a pullover whose entire front was the Union Jack.


Lenox said...

Taking a tip from Robert Mitchum perhaps, I saw a girl here in Almería with a tee shirt that read LOVE on the front and HATE on the back...

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Are you sure Ochlophobia is the word you want? Did you not want Cucubagiaphobia??

Behold, ye readers of this blog, what Cucubagiamania does to one's brain!

Alfred B Mittington M.D.M.D.

Ferrolano said...

Colin, I believe that you and Alfie are “oclophobes” and not “ochlophobes”. The first being a fear of owls and the second being a fear of crowds – or perhaps you both have a fear of being invaded by a crowd of owls….. On reflection about your “love – hate” relationship toward the bird, I think that you are both closet owl enthusiasts, and like the bird, you both reign from dusk to dawn.

And as for the evolution of the bureaucrats, forefinger and thumb will become the stapler with the wrist of the other arm becoming their telephone!!

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Dear boys,

Tis a mounting mystery! For some strange reason, which surely has to do with certain suspect erotic preferences of Herr S Freud, there IS no true word for a Fear of Owls. See this here Yahoo Dear Abby:

Hence I stick with my neologism.

Alfred BM

Ferrolano said...

I think that we are moving to making a mountain out of an owls burrow, but never-the-less, I stick to my words, please see;

Yours in flight by night....

Azra said...

Citibank have been laying off people here in SA too.

I'm intrigued...of all the places in Spain, why did you choose Galicia?

paideleo said...

Téñome fixado nas camisetas da xente e acostuman poñer un lugar, unha actividade ou club e un ano.