Friday, November 01, 2013

Gib lies; The Decent Thing; Spice Den; Spelling; Shops and Brothels; Unis; and Bikes.

According to the Spanish government, Gibraltar is a hotbed of dubious, if not illegal, fiscal shenanigans. Against this, Gib's First Minister said this week it had "complied with its obligations to transpose all EU directives and other rules into law ahead of schedule." And that "since the 90s Gibraltar had been seen as the benchmark jurisdiction for anti-money laundering regulation". Someone's lying. So - who to believe? It's a tough call. The funny thing is that, while distrusting their government on everything else, my guess is that most Spaniards choose to believe it on this. 'Cognitive dissonance' I think it's called.

Talking of the Spanish government, Spaniards are inured to the fact that no one resigns for anything here, regardless of the accusation made against either them personally or the department for which they're responsible. And many look to Britain for a better example of how things should be done. Which is a tad ironic as the the national lament in the UK these days is that "Doing the decent thing [resigning] is all but extinct in our self-serving public services".

We have a new shop in Pontevedra - one selling spices, rices and other wonderful stuff from sacks. Not quite the spice market in Bombay but close enough. They even have Basmati rice, cardamom pods, crystallised ginger and star anise with its divine smell. A little bit of heaven, which I shall now frequent regularly. Until it closes because Galicians don't like anything new or, worse, 'hot'(picante) By the way - I wrote 'anise' in the Spanish way - anis - and my spellcheck immediately told me it should be 'anus'.

Talking of spelling . . I was shocked last night to see a BBC report displaying 2 spelling errors. The first was clearly a transposition typo but the second was 'prosecuter' for 'prosecutor' and was clearly not a typo. Putting aside the errors, don't they have a spellcheck, for God's sake? It reminded me of the error-strewn comments of teachers responding to the wonderful blog of Frank Chalk. Hardly surprising, though, when spelling is no longer taught and when teachers who can spell are discouraged from correcting pupils who can't. Let alone their colleagues.

And talking of shops . . . One of the several sweet shops in the city centre has closed, as has at least one more of the 18-20 jewellers shops I noted several months ago. I will now survey the others.

The Galician brothel-owner being prosecuted for employing a 15 year old Rumanian girl has defended himself - or tried to - on the grounds that his clients demand 'fresh meat'. Writing in El País, a columnist regretted that his is not an isolated case. But there's not much mileage in Spain's politicians doing anything about the disproportionate prostitution that besmirches Spain's international image. Every few years, the press do a few moralising articles on it and then all goes quiet again, until the next time. Higher priorities.

Talking of which . . . One of my neighbours was telling me yesterday that corruption ranks much lower as a concern for her that 'structural problems' such as the parlous state of university education here. According to her, the professors are ancient and averse to new technologies and methods; the books used now are those she read to study medicine 30 years ago; and the pupils are idle. Listening to this, it was not hard to understand why there's no Spanish university in the top 200 worldwide.

Finally . . . In the bike shop next door to one of my barrio's brothels, there is a bike in the window, selling at a discounted price of €2,300.

Even though it's got no pedals.

But it's not the most expensive, as there was another one in the window retailing for €2,800. You've come a long way, baby.

And talking of bikes . . . Keep your eye out for the motor-cyclist to the left of this screen.


Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

Here in the SF Bay Area we see similar accidents quite frequently involving Chinese drivers. It's their way and no other way!


SF Bay Area

Geoff said...

Hi Colin
Even in the UK, bikes sold by GIANT are not supplied with pedals no matter what the bikes cost.

Perry said...


There is a wide choice of pedal types.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, guys. Perry, Only you would do this research!

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