Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 10.8.16

The Spanish Economy: Our friend Don Quijones thinks things are getting worse here, specifically as regards the banks. Click here for why. But not everyone agrees with him, of course. Read the comments for contrary views.

Spanish Words: I read an article about a young belly-dancer in a local paper yesterday. She said she'd never dance in a bar but would do so in a tetería. I didn't recognise this word and could only guess at a 'milk-bar' . . . It turns out to be a tea-room. Who'd have thought it?

Not Looking Like a Guiri: This is a word applied by Spaniards to obvious foreigners, particularly pink/red Brits. The Local gives advice here on how to avoid this ignominy. I doubt it'll be read by many in the awful foreign ghettoes along Spain's coasts. Where it's rather easy to spot this animal.

Is it the Real Stuff?: The EU estimates that Spain loses €1.3bn a year in fake booze sold in the country's bars and restaurants. Which is why some producers put impossible-to-refill tops on their bottles. You've been warned. In my favourite tapas bar they don't bother to go through this charade; they just serve illegal wine in bottles without labels or proof of tax payment. And good stuff it is too.

The UK Media: This is obsessing this morning over 'millions of tons of waste' resulting from the confiscation of cans and bottles at British airports. Are we really expected to believe that most of these wouldn't have been thrown away anyway and won't be replaced at the final destinations? Though I guess cosmetics and sun lotions will be. The media is also obsessing about sexual harassment in the work-place but I'd better not get into this. Suffice to say that Spanish women are still very relaxed about innocent sexual banter. And do a lot of touching themselves. Which I eventually got used to, having managed to avoid making any denuncias in the meantime.

Finally . . . Nowt as Queer as Folk: As we say oop North. My old friend and his son left yesterday morning for a couple of days in Oporto, before flying back to the UK. My friend – whose name I'd better not give - was well established as a backpacking globe-trotter even before we met on our first day – moment, even – at university. Even back then he was already inured to hardships most of us would find intolerable. Trouble is . . . he's long gone beyond this to almost a passion for hardship. Something, I guess, he can to continue pride himself on, at least internally. Some examples:-
  • On the hottest day of the year - 37 degrees plus – I suggested he wear the shorts I knew he had, instead of the jeans he'd put on. He declined.
  • When he went to the bullfight, I told him he'd be sitting more than 3 hours on concrete and people either took or hired a cushion. He declined both of these options. Presumably because he saw them both as sissy.
  • For their 2 nights in Oporto he'd booked into the cheapest of hostels, where he'd share a dormitory with 10-20 young backpackers, some of them prone to loud snoring. Believe me, there's no question of him not being able to afford a hotel. As his son has opted to do . . .
  • When he came down yesterday morning, ready to depart, he gave me the bath towel, saying he hadn't used it. Instead he'd managed with the hand towel for over a week. I asked what he'd done with the bidet towel and he said he'd used it as a face flannel.
  • Finally . . . My friend possesses a not-very-clever smartphone that he's had for 4-5 years. During all this time, says his son, he's adamantly refused to learn anything other than to switch it on and off. One consequence is that it's never been adjusted and so goes off every 30 seconds, necessitating frequent insertion of the pin number. Tackled on this, he claimed he didn't know there was an instruction manual and that he was confused by the fact the phone had 'so many hidden layers'. His son rotundly rejected this excuse and said he just couldn't be bothered to get to know how to use the phone. Not knowing how to adjust the settings was, believe me, just one of the many things he didn't know about the phone. The obvious question is - Why pay for rental on a smartphone in these circumstances? But I didn't bother to ask it. Fearing an implausible answer. In which he specialises. Most obviously in respect of his masochistic tendencies. 
I suspect he'd even enjoy reading what I've written about him here. Were he ever to read it . . .


I recently posted a 3-D foto of Pontevedra and wondered whether it really was of the city and its environs. Reader Eamon thinks it might be of a quarry in the nearby town of Porriño, where a lot of our granite comes from. I'm still not sure of anything:-

We're getting very close to our annual huge fiesta week and last night there were marching bands in the old quarter. Inevitably, rather loud. One of them - called Big Dancers - featured these amusing illuminated puppets:-


Eamon said...

Why didn't you associate tetería with tetera a tea pot?

Colin Davies said...

Because I don't drink tea and don't have a tetera . . . Never seen one in Spain, tho' I'm sure they exist.

Eamon said...

Teapots are not seen much here I must admit. You can see them in the restaurants when someone orders tea and they are a small metal vessel with a flip lid. It is filled with hot water and you get a tea bag to go with it. Never tried one because I only drink coffee when out to a bar or restaurant.

Bill said...

I usually have coffee (decaffeinated) at home and when out, but I do like tea occasionally (mainly herbal of various kinds), and I've never not been able to get it in any cafe or restaurant in Spain when I, or my partner (who is Chinese) have asked for it; like most Chinese, he does not often want to drink coffee - but his 'drug' of excellent hot chocolate is fortunately widely available too as an alternative. However the only establishments I've seen actually called teterias are in places with a significant population of people of arab origin, as exist in much of Andalucia or Murcia, because of Spain's history, basically the "horrid south" (I may have paraphrased a bit) as you so charmingly put it ;) - in our local town there is a teteria-cum-restaurant run by Moroccans where they serve excellent mint tea and decent cous-cous and tajines; I lived in Morocco many years ago, so this is a special treat for me, specially as they also stock a few of the very good Moroccan wines I've always enjoyed, as well as a range of Spanish wines of course. But I've also seen them in places like Granada, Cordoba and Seville etc. For coffee though, one wonderful thing about Spain is that even in the most basic cafeteria (even those in motorway service area outlets), not just in fancy-ish restaurants, one can almost always get excellent properly-made decaffeinated coffee and not have to rely on some abomination out of a sachet of decaff instant, as is often the case in the UK, although it is getting a lot better here in recent years, happily.

paideleo said...

A foto é da canteira de Budiño no Porriño e a montaña detrás chámase Faro de Budiño.
Eu vivo a uns quilómetros de aquí.

Colin Davies said...

Grazas, paideleo.

Perry said...


One also cherishes one's ignorance of texting, because it's an atrocious intrusion at mealtimes. It's worse than smoking at the table between courses! (Parental custom in me yoof). The practice has also corroded the correct use of words by people who already struggle with speaking their mother tongue & who then gabble in estuary English, barely using its very limited vocabulary.

As an example, your for you're, their for there & "I text him" instead of "I texted him". I'd bring back capital punishment for the mortal sin of murdering the English language, were I a dictator.

OTOH, I was gratified to discover today that Galician is translated by Google. A small pleasure, but mine own.

You can also have a translation into Farsi.

عکس از معدن سنگ Budiño در Porrino و کوه پشت است که به نام فانوس Budiño.
من زندگی می کنند چند کیلومتر از اینجا.

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