Monday, August 11, 2014

Calatrava calamities; De-layering: Fiesta fun; Belated gift; & Parroty peanuts.



In Valencia, the name Calatrava is synonymous with architecture. For this hometown boy has been responsible for some of the city's most famous works. But these were conceived and executed in the good times and now the times are bad. No more so than for Calatrava himself, who's being sued by the city over masonry falling from the opera house in his City of Arts and Sciences. This isn't the first time Calatrava has been sued for building deficiencies but, fortunately for him, his fees have been so vast he can surely afford the best lawyers. And the fines. Details here.

I see France is contemplating reducing the size of its regions and increasing the minimum size (20,000 people) of its municipalities, in order to increase efficiency and reduce the number of bureaucrats. Six-layered Spain is crying out for something similar but my guess is it'll be many years before this happens here. Essentially, there are bigger problems to tackle. Corruption being the leading candidate. In respect of which Spain is still in the 18th or 19th century. [After I wrote this I saw an El Espía en el Congreso post on this subject, explaining what's happening in other countries apart from France and why nothing will happen in Spain. You guessed it - the sheet anchor of corruption. Click here for this.]

Road closures arising from the combination of the fairground in the centre of town and the midnight firework display made it impossible to get from one side of Pontevedra to the other on Saturday night, other than by taking to the motorway that bypasses the town. As ever, I wondered what Spanish speaking tourists were making of the Gallego sign Rua Pechada. Or Calle Cerrada in Castellano. But the barriers across the roads must have helped. Incidentally, using the motorway gave a terrific view of the fireworks as, firstly, it's elevated and, secondly, it passes directly opposite the launch area. Which probably explained the 2 police cars parked on the hard shoulder there, either taking advantage of the stellar view or stopping others doing the same. Or both, of course. 

I was given a signal offer yesterday by the owner of one of my regular tapas bars. He presented me with a book, in English, saying his son had left it at his house but he couldn't understand it. I'm looking on it as belated payment-in-kind for translating the menu into English. 

Finally . . . A new Spanish phrase, for me, today - el chocolate del loro ('the parrot's chocolate'). Or 'peanuts'. as in 'You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.'

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