Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 5.10.16

SPANISH SOCIETY

Paella: I see Jamie Oliver has upset a ton of Spaniards by adding things to paella. You'd think poor old Ollie had got the Vatican to issue a Papal Bull to mandate his version of this great dish. Not that Spaniards would take any notice of that, if he had. I wonder if there's an equal number of Italians upset by what's been done to pizza. Or Brits infuriated by what Spaniards serve as a cup of tea. Possibly not. Am I tempting fate by boasting that I get my favourite restaurant to add fresh ginger to their tortilla for me? Or are all the readers of this blog sane? By the way, I've had some awful paellas in the north of Spain.

Coincidentally, here's the recipe for a classic tortilla, published by The Local a day or 2 ago.

Identity Proving: In a country in which ethics are low and where no one really trusts anyone else, the demand to prove you are who you say you are is taken to preposterous extremes. In the last week alone, I've been asked to provide my ID card in these 3 situations. In each of them, common sense alone dictated I was the person I said I was. But this counts for nothing in modern Spain. And maybe in other countries where ID cards are issued:-
  • When I handed in a letter at the Tax Office.
  • When I went to pick up my car at the pound, and
  • When I told the agent that I wanted to cancel my house insurance with her company. This needed a formal letter with a photocopy of my ID attached, even though I deal with her face to face, as she lives a few doors away from me. Presumably, they don't trust her either. Or can imagine that she or a third party might want to pretend I'm cancelling my insurance as part of some scam. 
As I've said before, I rebel against this by quoting the wrong ID number every time the postman or courier asks for it in respect of a certified delivery. Maybe I can should now claim a third party has impersonated me at my gate and demand a replacement for the next article, as they have no proof I already have it. But at least they don't ask me for my card every time I go to the bank. Or, rather, they don't actually ask to see the card itself. Just the number to enter in their computer.

SPANISH POLITICS

Another great comment on the egregious Sra Díaz. You need to know that Despeñaperros is a place in Spain. It means Tossingdogsoffcliffs. And that the ex-PSOE's forename is Pedro.

So . . .  
How do you get to Ferraz from Sevilla? 
Via Tossingpedrosoffacliff. Boom, boom!


Here and here are articles on the developing situation. It's hard to believe the PSOE will be back in power for a long time. Is this what the founders and leaders of Podemos really want? 

En passant, the Spanish for 'between a rock and a hard place' turns out to be 'between a sword and the wall'. Entre una espada y la pared. A neat description of the place Sanchez found himself in, of course.

Personally, I'm still at a loss to understand the opprobrium heaped on Sanchez. So, perhaps a Spanish reader can enlighten me as to how the PSOE is better off now that he's gone and the PP is assured of at least another 4 years in power but possibly a lot, lot longer.

ELSEWHERE

RT News: Perhaps the worst progam on this blatantly propagandist channel is a 4-5 person round-table discussion called Cross Talk. Presumably because all the participants are invariably very cross with everything the West does but very impressed by everything Russian and Putin do. RT can always depend on some disaffected Westerner to mouth criticisms of their governments. Yesterday's stooge was a Mr Adam Garrie, who has a blog but about whom I can find absolutely nothing, except he used to be a postgrad student at my old alma mater, King's College, London. He claims to be a lecturer in the History Department there but isn't, as he started his research there 6 years ago and must have finished long ago. One thing's certain - he's not on the staff roster. As with all other RT participants, he's good at sneering and scornfully dismissing everything any Western nation does. Which doesn't, of course, mean that everything he and his colleagues say is wrong.

GALICIAN STUFF

Stats: There are 17 Spanish regions. Properly, Autonomous Communities. Since the government regularly issues lists of how each is doing against the others, the numerous local papers here are assured of plentiful content about Galicia being 3rd best at this or 6th worst at that. I've tried to imagine sitting in, say, Chester and reading an endless diet of such comparisons centred on Cheshire. For the life of me, I can't.

Tractor Deaths: Another one at the weekend.

Airports: I calculate that the North West of England - Liverpool and Manchester - has an airport for 2m people on average, whereas Galicia - Vigo, Santiago and La Coruña - has an airport for 0.9m people. Which might make more sense if any of these cities were as commercially orientated as the 2 British cities. It's a function of local politics, of course. Which, as we know, have hugely benefitted Oporto's now-much-larger facility. The equivalent number for Greater Oporto is 1.8m but, of course, it serves all of North Portugal and most of Galicia as well. So, in practice, it could well be much larger than that of NW England. I guess it makes sense to someone. In Portugal, at least.

LOCAL STUFF

Ponters Beggars: As regular readers know, we have a multitude of these, many of them drug addicts. The most frequently seen is a woman - Maria of course - who's better dressed every year and who's dragged a dog around with her for the last year or two. Yesterday, I saw her stop panhandling to take a call on her mobile phone. So, not that badly off. Certainly a good career choice in her case. Which I wouldn't say for some of the pathetic young competitors of hers I see every day. Who seem to be on their slow way to death. Interestingly, the women of the town give coins to Maria but not to the truly distressed. Indeed, they chat to her as if she were an old friend. A moral judgement, I guess. Perhaps they don't know that I often see Maria up near the drug-selling point on the edge of the gypsy settlement.

FINALLY

October in SpainHere's a useful guide.

THE GALLERY

More examples of Finnish/British nightmares:-

4 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Are you really so envious of my cooking skills and my writing talents that you not only refuse to refer your readers to my comprehensive series on the making of a true Valencian Paella (which has been called by knowledgeable people as the best exposé on the block!), but even fob off your poor readers with the Local's recipe of TORTILLA, instead of the promised recipe of Paella??

Anyway, dear mistreated readers of Thoughts From Galicia, here are the necessary links:

http://alfredmittington.blogspot.com.es/2013/12/paella-valenciana-what-is-it.html
http://alfredmittington.blogspot.com.es/2013/12/paella-valenciana-2-tools-ingredients.html
http://alfredmittington.blogspot.com.es/2014/02/paella-valenciana-3-creation-step-by.html

Meanwhile, to add amusement to my ire, I found an article on the Jamie Oliver scandal in a Dutch newspaper today which explained that Spaniards were irate because - quote - 'he dared to include chorizo AND CHICKEN in the recipe' (emphasis is mine). Tells you something about how informed the international press is about all things Spanish…

GastronomicAl

Colin Davies said...

Err . . . No.

Robert said...

It's not that the PSOE will be better off, it's that her part of the PSOE will be better off. She is representative of the part of the PSOE (principally Andalucians and Extremadurans) who have carved a way of life out of squeezing and begging subventions from the central government and redistributing that wealth into their bankrupt and feckless regions. Their power structures rely on patronage and controlling this redistribution of wealth.

Of course, disproportionately this is paid for by Catalunya and the Basque Country. Sanchez was in the process of forming a coalition agreement with Podemos and the regional independence parties and it is sure bet that one of the concessions they would have extracted from him is a reduction in the amount that the independence seeking regions pay into this system and therefore a reduction in the great Andalucia subsidy.

She essentially acted to put and keep the opposition party into power in order to secure the subsidy trough for the large regional faction of her party that is built around distribution of other peoples' money. And bugger the long term consequences for her party or any vision for the future.

Colin Davies said...

Many thanks, Robert. Most helpful. Seems to be the view of all my foreign friends who've been here a while.

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