Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 15.9.16

Spanish Society: a couple of things following on from yesterday's item:-
  • I should have added my usual stress that, whatever its shortcomings, Spanish society is the best of the 6 I've lived in. And also the usual rider to this . . .  But I don't work here and I'm not at all sure I'd deal well with the frustrations if I did.
  • Maria kindly left an informed comment on tribalism yesterday. Which I certainly concur with. Though, as I said to her, maybe she's been a tad harsh. As returned émigrés tend to be. To every country.
  • A very minor aspect . . . When you ask for anything in a shop here and they don't have it - or when you leave something to be repaired - they invariably ask for your name and number. But I think maybe only once in 16 years has someone called to say they now have the item, or the thing has been repaired. If I didn't leave slips on my fridge door – as now with a radio and a request of my IT shop for a cheap back-up computer – things would never progress. And I would have 'mislaid' quite a few possessions. The devil takes the hindmost here. [Needless to say, not long after I penned this para, the woman from the pet shop rang to say I could collect the worms for my pet legless lizard, Suzan, tomorrow. The shop is going out of business. Which is ironic.]
Corruption:
  • Rita Barberá is a senior Valencian politician who's merely smiled – more accurately beamed - her way through decades of allegations of bungs. Things have recently warmed up for her and she's under formal investigation, despite having being bumped up to the senate for her protection. She's keeping her seat there but has now resigned from the PP party, to minimise further scandal for them. So that's alright, then. Let's see what the Supreme Court now decides about her. There's 'no evidence', of course. And whoever the judge is, he/she will surely be recused well into the trial, to ensure that the Statute of Limitations comes into play. Spanish justice – a joke unless you get caught up in it. Assuming you're not a senior politician or a friend of same.
  • A couple of Malaga mayors are also in hot water, also after years of the usual allegations.
Low Ethics and the Ubiquitous Lack of Trust . . . : Witness:-
  • The traffic police setting up real (illegal) speed traps to generate revenue. Or road taxes, to label them properly. I've been caught in 3 of these and the irritation is immense because you know it's dishonest and you can't do anything about it. Especially if you get the fine 9 months after the alleged offence.
  • I just paid €1250(sic!) because a tax submission was late. It's about 100 pounds in the UK. Low hanging fruit. The easy meat. Little people. Ignore the big crooked and queeze the inefficient honest.
  • Every time I get new tyres, they're grossly over-inflated. Does this lead to faster wear and an earlier return to the tyre shop, by any chance?
  • I went to buy a couple of pens and a loose-leaf binder yesterday morning. The price was stuck on the former but not on the latter and the woman at the till declined to accept what I told her it was and went to look on the shelf. For the princely sum of €2. I didn't bother to test the pens but later found that one of them didn't work. And then it fell apart in my hands.


Was it put back on the shelf when someone brought it back? As happened with a light fitting years ago. Twice, with the same item!

See how you get when ethics are low.

Galician Nationalism:
  • At my annual car inspection at the ITV yesterday, the guy giving me instructions did it all in Gallego. Since I am the most obvious looking guiri in Spain and since I replied in Spanish, this was clearly deliberate. Especially as I told him twice I didn't understand him. Why?, one wonders. Making some sort of point, I guess. Pointlessly. As I've said, even the Galician Nationalist (BNG) mayor speaks to me in castellano
  • Ahead of regional elections, the candidates 'debated' on TV last week. The Ciudadanos lady lost out, it's reported, because she didn't speak in Gallego. I was going to say I can't imagine anyone on TV in Liverpool addressing an audience in Scouse but I fear this would upset even my best Galician friend, Fran. And I'll be seeing him – with many other Gallegos – on Saturday in a beer factory. And I don't want to be drowned in something I rarely drink. 
Finally . . . The Xunta has ruled out consumers being charged only for the water they actually consume. So, as with all utilities here, we'll go on paying huge fixed fees which guaranteed easy profitability for the lazy and consumer-unoriented. And I will continue to subsidise not only all families but especially those 'large families' such as my neighbours' who get a (Franco-ordained) discount on just about everything. Bloody madness but no sign of it stopping. Just shrug-worthy, I guess. One wonders if the utility companies had anything to do with this decision . . .

3 comments:

Maria said...

They guy at the ITV must be a true blue nationalist who thought that if you have been living here long enough to own a Spanish car that needs to pass inspection, that you must surely understand Galician.

That reminds me of a story a friend told us years ago. She had been living in Barcelona and went to fill a prescription at a new pharmacy. The pharmacist presented her with the medication and mentioned the price - in catalán. Our friend asked the pharmacist to please repeat the price, but in Castilian. The pharmacist repeated it - in catalán. Our friend said, in very clear galego, "Ahí che queda, voume a outro sitio." (Ahí te queda, me voy a otro sitio.) She headed for the door, and the pharmacist repeated the price behind her - in Castilian.

Colin Davies said...

Lovely story, Maria. Hope it's true. But no matter . . .

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Here goes another one:

Many years ago, I & my sidekick were living in Santiago de Compostela.

A friend of ours from Madrid came over for an unexpected visit very early one Sunday morning. She did have our address, but not our telephone number. And as she did not wish to surprise us unduly, she decided to call the operator to get our phone number, so as to announce her arrival.

'Could you please give me the phone number for Plaza Feijoo nº 1?', she asked.

'Plaza Feijoo? I'm sorry, I can't', the operator told her.

'I'm also sorry, but that's what it says here in my address book', our friend insisted.

'There is no such thing as a Plaza Feijoo in Santiago,' the operator answered.

'Please. Are you ABSOLUTELY sure?'

'I am.' There was a pause. 'However,' she continued, 'There is a PRAZA Feijoo nº 1. Would you like me to give you the number for that address?'

Our friend got the number, she called, and we spent a fine Sunday together…

This is a true story.


Yours, IncredibAl

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