In the case of the murdered 11 year old adopted Chinese girl whose parents are in preventative jail, we're now being treated to media speculation on what the stains on her T-shirt might be. You can probably guess the leading contender.
As I've intimated, beggars are a serious nuisance in Pontevedra during the summer months. And in some cases during the winter as well. To prove my contention, here's a list:-
- The men and women who simply panhandle from table to table
- Rumanian gypsies outside supermarkets
- Rumanians and others outside churches
- The dwarf woman who stands in the middle of the street, importuning.
- The guy jiggling coins in the main square
- The man with a large iguana on the other side of the main square
- The well-dressed men (and occasionally women) who sit on steps with placards describing their plight
- The guy who 'sells' books.
- The guys who sell cigarette lighters
- The men and women who cadge cigarettes.
- The gypsy crone who offers palm readings (and regularly curses me)
- The skinny traveller 'jugglers' and their over-placid dogs outside supermarkets and elsewhere
- Recorder players
- Harmonica players
- Jews harp players. (Not really; I made this one up)
An attempt to stop bullfighting being shown during the hours of kids' TV (6-10pm) has failed in parliament. I guess this is logical to those who see bullfighting as the Fiesta Nacional and a Cultural Good - expose the kids as early as possible and stop the decline in support for it. Anyway, it was amusing to see a far right member of the PP government accusing the far left of having an obsession about abolishing bullfighting. As if this was a good reason for ignoring their arguments. But ad hominem stances are pretty common in spain and are taken up within a few minutes of an argument starting. Nowhere more so than on the internet.
I made a second call to Telefónica last night, to ask why the restriction on my mobile phone hadn't yet been lifted. The guy at the other end immediately tried to sell me their TV service. Whereupon I snapped and told him, with feeling, that the main reason I wasn't interested in this was that the effing poor download speed of less than 1 mega they charged me €35 euros a month for wasn't sufficient for TV. This seemed to do the trick and he promised me the restriction on overseas calls would be lifted within 24 hours. Incidentally, as you may have guessed, the rationale for this was that new customers could run up large bills and then not pay them. In other words, instead of taking a normal business risk, Telefónica penalises the customer. The insult to injury is that I've been a customer of Telefónica for more than 12 years, so am hardly 'new'.
A contrast . . . I received a request from my ex-employer, asking me to sign, witness and mail back to them my signature as confirmation I was still alive, for pension purposes. Or I could scan the form and email it to them. This I did but I felt sort of cheated, not having to also scan both my passport and that of my witness.
Finally . . . Here are some fotos from my recent hike. Mainly of inclines and rocky paths. Trust me - they don't really do justice to the challenges.
Crossing the Miño, just before it becomes the Minho.
Gazing up at the lovely fortaleza of Valenca.
A short series of inclines which were far worse than they look:-
Look at the wall of the white house to get some perspective.
A decline for the cyclists going down but a heroic incline for me just completed. I am at bottom left, a mere shadow of what I was when I set out.
Finally, a decline just after the peak. Mountain goat territory.