A decade or two ago, I read of a European survey of attitudes towards businesspersons of other countries. There was no real uniformity around which country had the best people to deal with but there certainly was unanimity on the worst. France. I thought of this yesterday when I read that only 1 out of 27 EU members didn't want the UK (in whatever shape) to remain a member. Guess which. L'exception française, I guess.
Talking about the EU . . . President Junker has announced his new Commissioners, essentially the "better than ever" government of the burgeoning superstate. Needless to say, none of them is known and even fewer have been elected to their powerful positions. Essentially they're gravy-train riders, bent on increasing the size of the locomotive and all its carriages. Not to mention salaries and pensions you and I can only dream of. After all the lawyers, they should be second on the scaffold. Or guillotine, if you want to make an exception for the French individual who has the Economy portfolio. Why not? Look how well France is doing right now.
And talking of France and the EU . . . I see that Paris is again making a mockery of the EU limit budget deficit of 3%. And refusing to take stock of Brussels' edict that they lower it. As Groucho Marx might have said of the EU - "Who'd join a union that would have France as a member?"
With only a couple of minutes reflection, I can think of 16 places in Pontevedra city where parking has been reduced in the last 14 years. The latest is Reina Victoria street, where the town hall insisted a few weeks ago that changes there would cost only 3 parking places. This assurance seems to have lacked: ' . . . on one side of the street and about 6 on the other'. "What is truth?" said Pilot, and departed smiling.
There's scarcely a road in Galicia's Rías Baixas which isn't designated a Ruta de Vino. Or 'Wine Route'. And now we have a proliferating Camino de Santiago, or 'Way of St James'. It's all about tourist cash, of course, and there's nowt wrong with that. But I was amused to see you can now leave Pontevedra in one of two directions as you head for Santiago on the Portuguese Route, up from Oporto or Lisbon. The first is the old one, which goes up through Caldas de Reis and Padrón and the second is the new "Spiritual Variant", which passes through previously-deprived places such as Meis, Cambados, Ribadumia and Vilanova de Arousa. My suspicion is that most Galicians would think these places already do OK from the occasional importation of Columbian produce, for distribution throughout Europe. Especially the last one.
Talking of the Camino . . . Passing the city's pilgrims' hostel today, I thought I'd take a look at it. And pretty clean and impressive it was too, if you don't mind sleeping in the same room as 40-60 others. One confusing thing was that the large plaque outside giving historical details of the Camino was entirely in Gallego, whereas none of the notices inside were; they were in 6 other languages. Maybe the Xunta paid for the plaque..
Finally . . . In July this year, the Spanish traffic police lowered the permissible margin above the official speed limits. The objective was to ensure they reached their annual fines target of close to €350m. They just forgot to tell the public. Which would certainly increase their chances of success. But, anyway, what I really want to say is that this relentless campaign against drivers contrasts markedly with the lack of one against those cyclists who ride on pavements or on roads without lights. Or ride the wrong way down one-way streets. I can only assume it's because cyclists have less money and/or would be a hassle to prosecute.