Friday, April 25, 2014

Roads, Internet; Spain is different 4; & The evil eye and what you can do about it.

Not long after I'd arrived in Spain, I commented to a friend that the country's new roads and motorways were a marvel. "Just wait and see what happens when they need to be maintained", replied my glum friend. Well, a report's been issued claiming that Spain's roads are now in the worst condition since 1985 and forecasting there'll be an 'apocalypse' next year if something isn't done immediately. The guilty parties are, of course, La Crisis and the subsequent austerity measures and I don't expect any early change. I almost look forward to seeing what shape the apocalypse takes. Does anyone offer pot-hole insurance?

Click here if you want to know the 10 worst streets in the UK for broadband speed. And note that all of them have a higher speed than me and my neighbours. Courtesy of a couldn't-care-less Telefónica.

Spain is Different 4:
  1. Spain has bullfighting and bull-baiting. Most other countries don't.
  2. Spain is reported to be the least homophobic country in the world, except perhaps for those countries (including Sweden) which weren't included in the survey.
  3. Spain may be the only country in the world where you need to employ a professional (a gestor) to get through the reams of bureaucracy that face you.
BTW - A reader has pointed out that we all have Chip & Pin cards in Spain but that most retail outlets don't yet have the capability to operate them properly. This is why I wrote that I don't understand why this is so. It's years now.

Another reader has pointed out that Galicia(Galiza) is not Spain. This could mean a number of things, from Galicia (like Cataluña) deserving secession, to Galicia not sharing any of Spain's cultural characteristics. But I guess he/she meant that Galicia doesn't share all of these. And, possibly, that Galicia is more Celtic than anywhere else in Spain. Though this is contentious.

Which reminds me . . . A local church held the annual San Cibrán festival last Monday, during which those with mal de ojo tried to rid themselves of this by walking under a statue of the saint. Three times. I've always translated mal de ojo as 'the evil eye'. But can there really be people in this day and age who believe in this? Maybe it just means conjunctivitis. BTW - This ceremony also involves people chucking stones over the church roof - presumably from only one side. I don't recall there being anything about this is the Bible, so, maybe it's a Celtic tradition . . . Fotos here.

Finally . . . We've all had amusing experiences of odd suggestions from Google as to what we might have meant. I searched "dominic lawson black and white" yesterday and got back their question of whether I wasn't looking for lawson black nad white puffin. So, what's a nad when it's at home? Other than an abbreviation for gonad.


Bill said...

In the part of Spain I'm most familiar with, Murcia Region, the roads are not too bad, specially as some of the motorway standard roads are still very new. The worst is definitely the toll-free A7, specially just south/west of Alicante and between Vera and Almeria, because of the high traffic volumes, specially lorries. However, roads in the UK have deteriorated quite a lot too over recent years, and deep potholes are no longer uncommon, certainly in the north of Scotland, because of lack of money to spend on keeping them in better condition.

Anthea said...

In the Mercadona next door to our place, you can pay with your card without showing ID. However, they seem to demand a signature on one of those electronic pad things rather than a pin code, or maybe as well as. I wasn't watching too closely in case the person using the card got paranoid about it.

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