Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Cataluña again; Rajoy & Merkel; Erasmus-ing in Spain; A nice flag; Memory loss; & Rain in Galicia

I said yesterday that things were hotting up in Cataluña. Here's the estimable Don Quijoñes with his take on "A Hot September for Cataluña". As he, rightly, says: There is no escape valve for the pressures that are slowly building. Nor is there any hope of a negotiated settlement. Instead there is an escalating war of words and gestures, and a generalized climate of uncertainty, resentment and fear. This, he adds, is just one of the visible consequences of worsening regional tensions in Spain. Yet, although the slow-brewing conflict of words and gestures has the potential to unleash a maelstrom of unintended consequences, both within Spain and far beyond its borders, public figures on both sides of the divide continue to lock horns and ratchet up the pressure. Madness. But Spain is different. And President Rajoy is not given to conciliatory words on anything and appears to lack both negotiating skills and any degree of oratory beyond table-thumping.

Said Resident Rajoy has been pictured walking and talking in Germany with Mrs Merkel. Since neither speaks the other's language and Sr Rajoy doesn't speak English, one wonders how they were achieving the latter. But, anyway, one of the things the president later said to the media was that: "We are proud to be referred to as 'the Germans of the South'". Come again? Do we know who said this so that we can explore the comparison? Needless to say, Rajoy's trip to Germany had more to do with the upcoming general elections than anything else. Rubbing shoulders and elbows with the right people. In the absence of an ability to talk to them.

A classic Spanish lie, from Real Madrid: "The transfer documents arrived one minute past the legal deadline and we couldn't proceed with it". No one can be expected to believe this and Real Madrid knows that full well. But, as Hitler once said, "If you're going to tell a lie, tell a big one".

Another list from The Local: 9 reasons to come to Spain as an Erasmus student.
  • You learn in English: Classes in local academies often include social nights, like bar-crawls.
  • There's lots to explore: You’ll never be bored in Spain. Transport is cheap
  • You can earn cash: Teaching English
  • There are lots of saints. Meaning many fiestas, and plenty of days off because of them.
  • There's the outdoor binge drinking: El botellón, which sees young people gather in parks or squares to drink and smoke.
  • The museums are all free: They contain some of Europe’s finest work and Spanish artists have been pioneers of European movements of realism, surrealism and cubism.
  • You get long holidays: Spain’s interior cities shut down for August as everybody flees the hellish heat to go to the beach. As an Erasmus student, by this point you’ll have tonnes of friends with whom you can roadtrip to the coast and revel in the summer fiestas.
  • The Spaniards: You’re going to acquire lots of Spanish friends

More details here.

This article, featuring a rainbow flag, reminded me of my daughter's open-jawed astonishment that I didn't know that the same flag on the balcony of a Tiffintown bar had some significance. If you still don't know what it means, you need to get out even more than I do.

On Monday midday I parked my car on the other side of town when I went down for my daily tiffin, as I wanted to collect some smoked fish from a deli there. Getting back to my car after lunch, I noticed it either wasn't there or had been painted red. And then I realised I'd been on autopilot and walked to my usual place by mistake. I debated the options of walking back across town or toiling home up the steep hill and then collecting the car the next day, after lunch. Half-way up the hill - and sweating like half a pig - I recalled I was due to take my car to Vigo for a service at 8.45 the following morning. Which is how I came to be walking rapidly through the dark of the early morning yesterday. Despite this I still arrived late in Vigo. As if that mattered to anyone. BTW - This is not the first time I've arrived to find my car is elsewhere. And probably not the last. Would you believe it was during an alcohol-free week?

Finally . . . Here's a sight you don't often see from the terrace of my favourite tapas bar - A corner of Tiffintown's main square in the summer rain.


Another point of view . . . albeit a calumny:


It rained 40 days and 40 nights and they called it a flood. In Galicia we call it summer.

4 comments:

Rebrites@yahoo.com said...

"the slow-brewing conflict of words and gestures has the potential to unleash a maelstrom of unintended consequences, both within Spain and far beyond its borders, public figures on both sides of the divide continue to lock horns and ratchet up the pressure"

Clear winner of this week's Longest String Of Mismatched Cliches Award!

Maria said...

Calumny? What calumny? Honest truth!

Q10 said...

Colin, Can't find a Blog Advisor to register one's impressions on, so this will have to do.

Now I know you're off soon on a trip, so maybe we should cut you some slack, all those tiny details to arrange while needing to keep that pesky blog posted every day. Sympathy is justifiable. But the customer is always right, so I have to say, the quality's slipped a bit recently.

All that stuff about tipping - "tipping >5% spoils it for the locals". I'd guess the servers are locals, who like as much tipping as they can get their grasping hands on. More importantly, do they personally receive the tips, or do the management run off with it as usual? Just like whether the bread was free, you do not say.

Tipping is a very personal choice, so no need to "tell my visitors" what to do. Let them make their own bloody minds up say I.

Then there's "my car" - You walking around "sweating like half a pig" - Do they not have taxis in Pontevedra? Or was there some reason why you didn't like to summon one? Can't be because you can't afford one, so the reader is left wondering whether the author is a mean bugger, or has just lost his substantial wits.

Then there's the 'when can homosexuals kiss in public?' question. Well, here we are, with our beloved Europe fresh from being rescued in WWII, being invaded by millions of Syrians and Libyans and Ethiopians and Afghanistanis and all these refugees\migrants\asylum seekers suffocating in wagons and this is all you can think of? Now to give you your due, you have slaked the EU time and again for its inevitably ephemeral nature, but it's still there, meekly, with its feet in the air, rolling over, accepting as many poor unfortunates come its way. Let's hope for your sake it's insufficiently ephemeral for the migrant tide to reach Pontevedra, scum and all.

So, unusually for your fine blog, standards have slipped a bit lately - Get a grip old chap and come back, bright and sparkling, as days of yore.

Our brain cells need stimulation and we rely on you to fire us up every morning.

A serious responsibility. Please, don't let us down.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks for this. It's true I've beenr rushing this week, but:-


All that stuff about tipping - "tipping >5% spoils it for the locals". I'd guess the servers are locals, who like as much tipping as they can get their grasping hands on. More importantly, do they personally receive the tips, or do the management run off with it as usual? Just like whether the bread was free, you do not say.

They get my 10%. don't know about the rest.

Tipping is a very personal choice, so no need to "tell my visitors" what to do. Let them make their own bloody minds up say I.

No. Overtipping becomes an expectation when the summer is over.

Then there's "my car" - You walking around "sweating like half a pig" - Do they not have taxis in Pontevedra? Or was there some reason why you didn't like to summon one? Can't be because you can't afford one, so the reader is left wondering whether the author is a mean bugger, or has just lost his substantial wits.

I want to lose 3 kilos. Bit boring to add this, I thought.

Then there's the 'when can homosexuals kiss in public?' question.
I don't recall this. When was it?

A serious responsibility. Please, don't let us down.

I'll try not to.


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