Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Coffee no. 43; The internet & me; UK ID cards; Beggars; Dog fines; & The French.


I read a few years ago - in The New Spaniards? - that here in Spain you can have your coffee in around 42 different ways. I discovered a new one (for me) this morning, when I asked if I could have my coffee 'long of milk'. The waiter referred to this as un manchado, meaning that the milk is merely 'stained' with coffee. So, "a stained" in English.

My visitor has been here a week deciding whether Pontevedra would be a good place for her and her husband to set up a business. For this they'd need a fast, reliable internet service. Obligingly, my connection has gone down twice during her stay. A (long) phone call to Telefónica has solved the problem in each case but the damage has been done. Roll on August and my new radio internet service. Meanwhile, you can guess what their decision has been, albeit there were other negative factors as well

I've had to explain several times to Spanish friends and contacts that Brits both don't have ID cards and don't have to carry their passports, at least not in their own country. But this hasn't always been the case. During WW2 and for a couple of years after it, the UK did have a system of ID cards and here's one from 1948, given to me by my mother when I was in the UK last month. It's pretty basic and probably easily forged but it kept some bureaucrats in employment.



On the endless conveyor belt of panhandling, new beggars appear on an almost daily basis. It may be unfair but I do wonder whether they don't just follow each other around Pontevedra but also from city to city. I've certainly see the same people in both Pontevedra and Vigo.

Those who let their dogs foul Galician streets will soon be faced with a €500 fine, up from 300. Those who abandon their canines will face a fine of €3,000, up from €1,500 and those who mistreat them to death or hang them from nearby trees will be looking at a €30,000 fine. I'd love to think these increases were driven totally by a genuine desire to stop the offences but, cynic as I am, I'm tempted to see them largely as a revenue exercise. Not that I expect to read of anyone being fined 30k for stringing up his no-longer-useful greyhound.

Given today's antipathy to sugar, I've labelled it here "The Devil's Grain". Today I read that "Sugar will soon be the new heroin, to be proscribed by governments as injurious to health". So, sell your shares in Tate & Lyle now.

Finally . . . I read today that the French think their language is the most precise in the world. Does anyone know why? Incidentally, the article in which I saw this suggested that French still remains a more popular subject in the UK than Spanish, despite its lower utility, because it's a 'class marker'. Snobbery, in other words.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can have more than 43 types of coffee in 3/4 of the countries of the world.

Colin Davies said...

Not in 5 of the 6 I've lived in. Though this was in the days before Starbucks, etc.

Anonymous said...

Starbucks has nothing to do with the world's (not just Spain's) coffee diversity, they just tapped into it to their own advantage.

Colin Davies said...

OK, name us 10 countries with 43 varieties of coffee.

Colin Davies said...

And the varieties, of course.

Anonymous said...

I tell you better: why don't you google "tipos de café en Colombia/Ecuador/Venzuela/ Arabia/Brasil?portugal/Italia?Francia etc
perhaps then you will realize that talking about the variety of coffee in Spain is as irrelevant as talking about the uniqueness of the British weather...

Colin Davies said...

I took you advice in respect of Arabia

http://cafeyte.about.com/od/Cafe-101/a/Distintas-Clasificaciones-Del-Caf-E.htm

Perhaps you'd be good enough to tell me where the 43 different types of coffee are.

You seem to have completely missed my original point. Which was not about how many ways you can get your coffee in Spain. Even less about how unique this might be. It was about me coming across an interesting label for one such variety.

Check your shoulder for chips.

Anonymous said...

it is rather you missed my point: if you were Italian, or Portuguese, or Ethiopian, or Mexican, or Brazilian, or French, etc, etc, you wouldn't have found that label that interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caff%C3%A8_macchiato

Perhaps you should change the name of your blog to something more accurate, like "thoughts away from Britain" ...

Colin Davies said...

I understood your point perfectly. I just find it utterly irrelevant. Do you seriously think I write for readers from these cultures?

And you haven't answered my request.

But I'll give the name change some thought.

Nope, it doesn't seem any more accurate. The thoughts will still come from Galicia. It is what it says on the can. Not what you think it should be.

Keep looking for the chips. And read something more to your liking. Something written by one of your countrymen, for example.

Anonymous said...

So still thinking Spain is so peculiar? Well, in fact it is pretty much like most coutries in the world. it is your own country the real peculiar one, but you should know better, rather than showing your relentless amusement at anything unbritish.

And about the wealth of Spanish coffee; it isn't even worth mentioning. Why don't you rather write about the more than 43 types of wine in Spain, and then ask me to mention any other country that has as many? At least the Spanish wines have their own original name, rather than translations from Italian(manchado=macchiato=stained, yeah?)

By the way, I don't think you are writing from Spain. In fact, I'm pretty sure you are writing from Italy:
http://www.pandanet.co.jp/English/essay/europe_italy.html

Colin Davies said...

Once again - and for the last time - Why do you keep on reading about my "relentless amusement at anything unbritish." Some sort of masochist, I guess.

I also guess I'll continue doing so and you'll keep on making your irrelevant and ridiculous comments.

Spanish comes from Italian? How about they both come from Latin, as with several other languages.

Over and out.

Anonymous said...

the point I'm trying to make is that MOST of the traits you present as amusing and Spanish aren't either of them: They aren't amusing, because they are common currency among uncountable peoples in the world, especially the Southern European ones and the Latino Americans. The example of the Italian animation by Bruno Bozzetto exemplifies this to the extreme that it seems that you must be writing from Italy. And since they are normal in this world, why do you insist and harp on and on on them?

Unless you write to an exclusively British audience (perhaps mainly old rags like Perry). If that is the case perhaps you should consider stating this, sticking a British flag in your blog or something. You know, nowadays the British are a tiny minority among the English literate public, the language doesn't belong exclusively to you anymore ... pretending the opposite is the real ridiculous thing, because everybody can see that it is otherwise

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