Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spanish youth; Spanish stats; Spanish v. Portuguese; Évora; Google intrusion?; & A sad homecoming.

Among Spain's youth - who suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous 50+% unemployment rate, President Rajoy is less popular than Adolf Hitler. Which I guess is no surprise. He's not that popular with older folk either.

A few stats:-
  • Spaniards have the highest life expectancy in Europe. They must be doing something right.
  • As regards the transparency of government and business workings, Spain ranks among the lowest in Europe. I suspect things have got worse over the last 5-7 years.
  • 1 in 5 Spaniards (20%) now see themselves as 'convinced atheists'. I wonder what an 'unconvinced atheist' is.
  • Gays are the biggest target of Spain's hate crimes. Possibly because of the low ratio of 'people of colour' to the rest of the population.
A week down in Portugal has done nothing to rid me of my view that, while easy enough to read, Portuguese is exceptionally tough to understand aurally. George Borrow compared it very unfavourably with Spanish. He found the latter melodious, while Portuguese, to him, was full of 'shrill shrieking'. Which is rather unfair, I feel.

I last visited Évora 10 years or so ago and, while still a charming walled town, I felt it had deteriorated, thanks to the curse of tourism. Symbolic of this was our own hotel, constructed only a year or so ago, on the site of an old B&B. Calling itself Moov, it's the very essence of 2 star modernity. Needless to say, there were no soap tablets to use or to take home, only wall dispensers. And the door 'key' was a 4-number code which you had to punch in on the door. But none of this was problematic and the staff were extremely pleasant. The real ugliness came in the form of the facade of the place, which couldn't possibly have been less in keeping with Portuguese architecture of previous centuries. Which makes this puff all the more ironic - Moov Hotel Évora is located in the centre of Évora. Relax in a hotel full of history. Click here for an insight into what I'm talking about.

As I've indicated, Japanese and Chinese tourists were everywhere and there are now Chinese, Japanese and Asian restaurants in the historic centre. Not to mention an entire hotel near these which seems to cater exclusively for Asian visitors. Astonishingly, though, while prices near the tourist sites are what you'd expect, you can still find places charging local rates for food and drinks. And these are around half of what they are in Spain. If Brussels still thinks the EU will level prices across 28 countries, it ain't yet happening between these Iberian neighbours. But, then, Portugal never had the phoney boom and its concomitant high inflation which we in Spain enjoyed after the introduction of the euro. Lucky buggers.

I took 2 fotos of side-by-side buildings in Montemor-o-Novo, one derelict and the other refurbished. A day later, Google offered me a panoramic foto of them, having established they were next door to each other. Spooky or what? Anyway, here's Google's offering. It is rather typical of Portugal - the beautiful cheek by jowl with the ugly.

Finally . . . I arrived home to find I'd been burgled. I assume this was by a reader who knew I was away. All I can say is that it could have been an awful lot worse.


Perry said...

Sorry to learn about the break in. Are the Spanish police diligently trawling your blog for suspects? I hasten to add I have not left the UK during the period you were touring.

We had a break in 18 years ago. No investigation by the Met, just this in the post.

My eldest son, then 15, had talked with friends? about him accompanying me on a 2 day business trip. I lost sentimental documents, but not financially. Now we keep mastiffs & a pit into which we cast miscreants, pour encourager les autres to pass by. ;<) Keeps the food bill reasonable.

paideleo said...

Vaia, que mal rollo chegar a casa e mirar que entraron nela.
Hoxe estiven pola BoaVila e acordeime de ti cando se me acercaron pedichóns.

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