Sunday, September 08, 2013

Olympic disappointment; Airports; Spanish mores; Driving offences; Language; And a new word.

So, Spain is not to host the 2020 Olympics. This is probably a good thing but reaction to the decision here has ranged from sadness, through anger to bitterness-based victim-hood. Most Spaniards, I suspect, will be relieved that their politicians and businessmen won't be exposed to limitless opportunities for corruption.

At least 10 years after it became essential, the airport managment group, AENA, has put forward a 'coordination' plan, aimed at taking passengers from Oporto airport, for the benefit of Galicia's 3 small and uncompetitive facilities. The headline suggestion is that taxes be reduced, presumably those levied on the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair. There's no hint that one or even two airports should be closed down, so that the one remaining (Santiago) would be able to compete effectively with Oporto. Maybe in 2023's report.

As I sat taking a tiffin outside the Savoy Café on the edge of Pontevedra's main square yesterday, I noted the waitresses were all stepping over a dog lying in their way. The place being full of Medieval Fair revellers, there was a lot of this stepping-over going on. But the waitresses said nothing and the owner seemed oblivious to the problem she was causing. An example of (unpunished) Spanish inconsiderateness? Or just live-and-let-live? The only thing I know is that I'd have been bloody annoyed at having to step over a dog when carrying a tray of drinks. Or even empty glasses.

Every year - it seems - the relevant Spanish ministry announces it's going to change the schedule of driving offences and their respective fines. The latest one introduces the 130kph limit on autovías and zero tolerance for drug-taking. In the latter case, you'll get hit by a 1000 euro fine for the least trace of usage. For most of us, though, the important detail is what we'll have to pay if we exceed the speed limit and how many points we'll lose on our licence. Basically, there's a 300 fine for exceeding the limit by between 100% (20 - 40) and 23% (130 - 160). And the fines rise steeply after that. I feel safe in forecasting that revenues will rise.

Talking of safety . . . If I've got this right, there'll also be a new law making it illegal for cyclists not to wear a helmet in towns, but only for the under 18s. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be anything in the new bill about above-18 cyclists riding on the pavement like maniacs. Nor about shooting them.

Ignoring the LL which is pronounced as a Y, there aren't many words in Spanish which include double letters. And when they occur - as with the double C - they serve a function. But not in innovador. And others I can't think of. So, how, I wonder, do they come to exist. Are they just anomalies or did they once serve a purpose?

Talking of language . . . A survey reports that 35% of Spaniards know nothing of English and that the remaining 65% have the ability to speak it of a primary school kid. Worse, the authors of the report point out that most people lie and exaggerate their ability.

Phrase of the Week: Insanity is genetic. You get it from your children.

Finally . . . A new English word - Sofalising: Interacting with people through the internet.


Bill said...

The version of your "Phrase of the week" on a mug given to me by my late mother a few years before she died is slightly different:
Insanity is hereditary, you get if from your children ;)

Colin said...

Thanks, Bill. I fear your version is right and mine the result of a defective memory.

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