Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rajoy the Bore; Simple money laundering; Dentists: Enchufes; A thrilled young lady; Wine; and Jesus.

My friend Dwight tells me that Sr Rajoy isn't, in fact, a notary: he's a tax inspector as well as a property registrar. Even more boring, then. Another friend assures me he's the least intelligent of a family of 4 (or 5) children and has reminded me that success in the government's oposición civil service type exams is ofter 'granted as a gift'. So is not a mark of intelligence.

And now a HT to Lenox (of Business over Tapas) for info on another - startlingly simple - way of washing your black money:- You ask for a loan and return it in cash.

As I type this, I'm sitting next to a table of 4 senior Spaniards who are comparing themselves with the ingleses, by whom they mean Brits. Sadly, thanks to a mixture of concentration on writing and distance, I can't quite make out what it's all about. But it reminds me that I took a friend to a dentist for a bit of emergency attention last night. With impeccable manners and a lovely smile, she told me all British dentists were useless and that Spanish dentists were the best in the world. I had expected the latter but not the former. I explained, to her obvious astonishment, that this might be because, unlike here, basic dentistry in the UK was free and that dentists made little money on it. Economies were essential, fripperies not.

I gained this appointment at less than an hour's notice. The reason? The dentist is the mother of the two young ladies to whom I give a conversation class when they're home from university. In other words, an enchufe, or plug-in. My impression was the clinic had ground to a halt while she attended to my friend, causing the waiting room to overflow. But I suspect Spanish patients are used to this queue-jumping. And to waiting.

I was momentarily non-plussed this morning at the number of people walking around with bouquets of flowers in their arms. And then I recalled that Nov. 1 is the day when Spanish families visit and bedeck the graves of their loved ones. Having first cleaned them yesterday or the day before.

I had another unusual experience in Veggie Square yesterday. As I sat at a table outside my regular bar, I noticed a young woman who looked astonishingly like an actress in a UK comedy series. Wouldn't it be a good idea, I thought, to take a foto and and send
it to the actress, telling her she had a Spanish doppelgänger. So, trying not to be too obvious, I took a few snaps, hindered by the fact my camera was acting up. As they got up to go, one of the young men in the party very politely asked me if I was planning to put the fotos on the internet. A bit taken aback, I blushed, said not and explained my reasons for taking the fotos. In a word, the young lady was flattered and delighted at being snapped and at the idea she resembled a pretty actress. Smiles all rounds. Especially when I gave her the details from which she could see who and what I was talking about. In truth, I can't see this happening in the UK, where I'd be at risk of being threatened by the males and sued by the female. Spain is different. Thank God.

It's a truism that - apart from the closed shops and the beggars - there are few easily identified signs of La Crisis on the streets of Spanish cities. So it's good to see The Local giving us a list of ten reasons why this is so. En passant, I wonder what The Local does when they can only think of 9 good entries for a new list.

Here's an article on one of our Albariño wines and here's one on Galicia's best red wine, from the Mencia grape.

Talking of wine . . . Here's a little dissertation on the ethnicity of the world's most famous wine-maker, Jesus of Nazareth. Courtesy of my Jewish sister. Not the very Catholic one. I imagine they were equally amused But that's Jesus for you - an equal opportunities Saviour. Even Muslims quite like him.


There are three good arguments that Jesus was Black:
1.He called everyone "brother"
2.He liked Gospel
3.He didn't get a fair trial

But there are three equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
1.He went into His Father's business
2.He lived at home until he was 33
3.He was sure his Mother was a virgin and she was sure He was God

There are three equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1. He talked with his hands
2. He had wine with his meals   
3. He used olive oil

There are three equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
1. He never cut His hair
2. He walked around barefoot all the time
3. He started a new religion

There are three equally good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:
1. He was at peace with nature
2. He ate a lot of fish
3. He talked about the Great Spirit  

There are three equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
1. He never got married..
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.

But the most compelling evidence of all is the three proofs that Jesus was a Woman:
1. He fed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was virtually no food
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it
3. And even when he was dead, he had to get up because there was still work to do


James Atkinson said...

Colin, basic NHS dentistry is still very cheap in the UK, but not free any more, unless you are pensioner, and possibly for those under 21. My last trip for a filling and an extraction, scale (No polish) came to around £36.00 if I remember rightly. But you can pay up to £250.00 on the NHS now, for stuff like crowns and root filling etc.

Colin Davies said...

What about just a checkup? Or a checkup and a filling? Free for the former? Less than 36 quid for the latter?

James Atkinson said...

Colin, There is a standard charge now, even for just a check up. I suspect that it's around the £20 mark, but I have never been given a break down of the bill. For a check up and a filling it would cost more. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks, as I still have a persistant sinus, and I will ask at reception if they can supply a tarrif, and let you know what they say. If the bill is fairly low I usually just give an inward sigh of relief, pay and depart. There do seem to be more and yet more forms to sign these day's, I don't look at those much either. I am quite fortunate to be living near to Swansea town centre, as Dentist's outside of Swansea, and in West Wales are as rare as hens teeth!

James Atkinson said...

I have just had a look on the NHS site, it suggest three tiers of payments Band 1. £18 for check ups, scale and polish X rays etc, Band 2. £49 for extractions, root canal work, Band 3. £214 crowns dentures bridges etc.
So in theory my bill should have been £49, so I will check my bank statement.

James Atkinson said...

I think those charges quoted are for England only, Wales has a slightly cheaper tarrif, reflecting the generally more impecunious state of it's inhabitants

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