Monday, September 29, 2014

Marco Polo v. Chris Columbus; Cataluña; Opus Dei folk; Local graft; Good news; & Coffee capers.

So, it seems Marco Polo may well have hit (North) America a couple of hundred years before Columbus hit the Caribbean, in mistake for India. This will surely disturb the residents of the 10-20 towns around the world - including mine - who insist the latter was born there. Also disgruntled will be the Danes, if it's convincingly established that Polo got to the eponymous Bering Strait 400 years before their Vitus Bering.

The Spanish President is sticking to his mantra that the Catalans won't be allowed to hold a November referendum on independence. Though no one yet knows what effective action he'll take to stop it. Should the Constitutional Court pronounce against it - a racing certainty - the Catalan President will probably call early regional elections, as an effective plebiscite on the issue.

I mentioned Opus Dei a couple of days ago. The (Spanish) bishop who headed this right-wing (fascist?) organisation was beatified last week in his home town, en route to sainthood. The founder of Opus Dei (also Spanish) was declared a saint by the Vatican 12 years ago on the back of a miracle that happened when the parents of a very sick baby prayed for his intercession and the baby subsequently recovered. Nothing was said about all the non-miracles which occurred when other parents prayed to him and their children nonetheless died. One wonders what criteria are used by (would-be) saints. Or whether God gives them an allowance of X miracles a year.

One of our local papers - there are at least 12! - has trumpeted than one of the large corruption cases in process has thrown up evidence that dozens of Galician mayors and regional politicians were involved in croneyism and the traffic of influence. No one has fainted in surprise. One very local case involves the compulsory purchase of land owned by the regional president's family for the purposes of a motorway spur. I'll leave you to guess just how much above a fair market price was paid.

Some good news for Spain. 1. The number of foreign visitors topped 9m in August, the highest number ever and up 9% on the same month last year. 2. The government says it will create 350,000 jobs next year. I'm not sure this will bring the unemployment rate crashing down from 26% but every little helps.

Finally . . . The coffee I bought from the 24/7 shop yesterday was a brand - Bellarom - I didn't recognise and cost €2.50. I saw on the packet it was produced for the cheap German supermarket, Lidl. The price in 2010 was €0.99. So, very good business, even buying it retail and selling it on. Still, who can blame them? Who'd go to a 24/7 shop in Spain unless they were desperate. In other words, on a Sunday.

1 comment:

Perry said...

I wonder if the Marco Polo map is mentioned in this book?

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