Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bedfellows; FIFA farce; Google ads; Motoring fines; Knife laws; Airports; Entroido; & Bloody dangerous phones.

Politics, they say, makes for strange bedfellows. Look no further than Greece, where a far-left party has allied with a far-right party to form a coalition that can take on Germany. Sorry, Brussels. I fear the odds are a tad stacked.

Talking of rogues . . . I see that joke of a tyrant, Sepp Blatter, has called on Uefa to be “respectful” of his wish to stay FIFA president for a fifth term. Is it too much to hope that the organisation has enough self-respect to oppose him? I fear so.

I've recently questioned Facebook's efficiency when it comes to tailored advertising. And now I'm wondering about Google. I've recently made hotel bookings in 3 cities, ahead of a 4th camino in May. For some reason, some computer thinks it's clever to keep on advertising these same 3 hotels to me. I guess it makes sense to someone.

I've indicated the lengths Spain's traffic police are prepared to go to earn their commissions and raise tax revenues but this report takes the biscuit - a couple were fined for speeding in a car being carried by a pick-up truck. As I can testify, the police have up to a year to notify you of a fine and aren't obliged to provide any evidence beyond their claim you did what you're accused of. Though, to be fair, in my case they did supply (after 9 months) a foto of the back of my car that could have been taken anywhere.

Talking of laws . . . Though I'm sure it's illegal to carry them, machetes have twice figured in the British news in the last week. I thought of them when looking at the array of weapons on display at the flea-market in Ponters on Sunday - including bayonets, daggers and Japanese swords. But this is nothing compared with what you can buy in Toledo's shops. Broadswords and battle axes, for example. In the UK, I believe, it's now impossible to buy anything more than a penknife. Though you can still get large kitchen knives. Albeit only in kitchenware shops. And, that said, this government note suggests it's illegal to carry your knife home.

Galicia's 3 puny 'international' airports finally saw a bit of growth last year, though mainly in the north coast facility in La Coruña. Which makes no sense at all. But this tripartite growth was dwarfed by that of Oporto in North Portugal, which is a serious facility that's grown from about the same traffic numbers as those of its neighbours in 2005 to almost double them now. All this reflects Spanish regional and local politics and economics - 'coffee for all' - at their worst. And we don't yet have the high speed AVE to hoover up Madrid passengers. Will sense ever be seen? Not if La Coruña keeps expanding, it won't. Going there is akin to using one of Spain's ghost airports. At least Santiago seems half-busy. By the way, Galicia has the same population as Greater Manchester, around 2.8m. Which city only has one (profitable) airport. Possibly still owned, ironically, by a Spanish company.

Andalucia is famous for month-long festivities which kick off in April. Here in Galicia, this week saw the start of Entroido, a 4-week preparation for Lent. And one good example of us having fun is the flour-pelting fiesta of Domingo Fareleiro in Xinxo de Lima, up in the hills, near the border with Portugal. Another fiesta will be A Limia's "Women's Night", when Spanish men yet again display their predilection for dragging up. Click here for pix of Entroido, as it happens up in the hills, though not down here on the coast.

Finally . . . "What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?" - Sit in any restaurant and you’ll see that one half of a couple can’t even nip to the toilet without the other feverishly reaching for their phone to check Twitter or Facebook. The notion of simply waiting until they come back is palpably last century. Which is why you see people pass entire cross-country train journeys without looking out of the window. 

And: "Warning: smartphones make you stressed, stupid and less creative." Which is why I don't have one. I can achieve all those without an expensive phone. I think it's the Rioja.


Perry said...

Ahhh yes. William Henry Davies.

I had to study his "Autobiography of a Supertramp" for O level Eng. Lit. in 1959. His poem "Leisure" was used in a TV advertisement for Center Parcs some years ago. I have to say that his Autobiography gave me no sense of the six years he spent from 1893 - 1899 on the tramp & that he crossed & re-crossed the Atlantic at least seven times on cattle boats.


paideleo said...

Agora dicir negro xa empeza a soar forte, millor dise negrito ou mulatito.
En plan despectivo está " negrata " ou xa " negro de mierda " que ofende a calquera. Sería como " nigger " en USA.
Falando diso, lembro da miña estadía nos USA que os rapaces brancos de North Carolina odiaban máis que aos negros aos " whiggers " que eran os rapaces brancos que se vestían coma os negros e que escuitaban a mesma música.

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