I mentioned gypsies the other day, saying that - thanks to things that happen here - I had some sympathy with the Spanish view of them. Right on cue came yesterday's report that a group of 50 gypsies had attacked the police who were trying - unsuccessfully - to protect the lawyer of a guy who'd been taken to court by the local 'King of the Gypsies'. There seem to be two beliefs dear to the gypsies 1. that they are above the law and 2. things need to be done in numbers. The second of these can be seen in action in hospitals, where pressure is applied on the medical staff to effect quick cures. Something I'd not like to be on the end of.
Talking of the law . . . Someone was jailed for 9 years this week for what I thought was a relatively minor offence. And someone else was jailed for 3 years for throwing paint in the municipal pool as part of a strike. This contrasts sharply with the all-too-frequent penalty of less than 2 years given to corrupt politicians and businessmen here. Under which they don't actually have to go to jail. Binary sentencing, then.
Talking of corruption . . . There's a lot of talk at the moment about the government and the opposition doing something serious to address this massive stain on Spain's character. But that's all it is - talk. Something the Spanish do well. There's clearly not a scintilla of political will to do anything significant, essentially because the people are insufficiently revolting. Only when they rise, will the governing classes act, out of fear. Perhaps they could get President Obama to apply sanctions on key individuals, preventing them, say, from moving money to Andorra, Luxembourg or Switzerland.
Spain is Different 9:
- If you go to a beach here and find you are the first person or couple there, you will surely find that the first Spanish couple to arrive will sit down right next to you. Similarly in a restaurant or a cinema. Anywhere, in fact. This is the opposite to, say, the Brits, who stay well away from each other. This is because the Spanish love to aggregate and the British love to segregate. Or whatever the opposite really is. I suspect this is connected with the Spanish love of talking.
- Which reminds me . . . The Spanish will often not use 1 word where 3 will do. For example, I saw a May Day protest poster yesterday which read Na defensa dos postos do traballo, or 'In Defence of Jobs' (In the defence of the posts of work).
- While the Spanish are famed for being individualistic - one meaning of which is 'inconsiderate' - they can at times act like sheep. So it is that, if you go to a beach at 2 or 2.30, you'll find it virtually empty, as they've all gone home for their big meal of the day. Likewise, they'll all flood back at 5.30 and leave at 8.30, creating hell on the roads. This doesn't, of course, apply to tourist beaches.
- One of the greatest features of Spanish society is that the age division of Anglo cultures is much less in evidence here. With their love of fun - and the importance they attach to it - if you contribute to this, you're welcome, whatever your age. The downside of this is that young women will insist on taking you onto the dance floor.
Finally . . . A company has been taken to task for the gratuitous use of a sexy woman in an advert alongside text which ran: If you want something better than a Polvo, get a DISPERSS. The latter seems to be a chemical dispenser but the word polvo has 2 meanings:- 1. Dust/Powder, and 1. Screw/shag/bonk, etc. Anyway, here's the ad. See for yourself what you think the company was playing at.