Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 17.11.16

SPANISH LIFE/CULTURE

Spanish Phrases: A new one to me, despite living in 'Celtic' Galicia: Templar gaitas. Literally: To quieten bagpipes, it means 'To pour oil on troubled waters'. By the way, templar is one of those multi-use Spanish verbs which depend on the context. It means both to warm up and to cool down.

Working lives: In the EU, the averages range from a high of 46.6 years in Iceland to a mere 30.7 in Italy. Spain comes near the bottom at 34.9, the same as France. But this has increased from 33.0 in the last few years. Tough times. The UK is 38.6, by the way.

Time: On two occasions in the last week, I've learned that, if you tell a Latino/a that you'll be at the meeting place 'within half an hour', they won't be there until some time much later. My assumption is that they simply don't expect you to set out for at least 30 minutes. And I suspect the Spanish take the same attitude. Which isn't, of course, unreasonable in a culture where there's a different concept of time. Not to mention punctuality.

The Education Political Hot Potato: Does anyone know what's happening around the exams to be taken by Spanish students at the end of their college years? As I (poorly?) understand it, the PP government has proposed to add a 3rd exam to the existing 2 comprising their end-of-year Baccalaureate exam and their Selectividad university entrance exam. But I might well be wrong, as this sounds truly crazy.

SPANISH POLITICS

The 'Success' of The New Left: With Podemos now on the scene, a recent survey suggests that support for the right-of-centre PP party has risen by 22% since the first general election 12 months ago, whereas that for the once main left-of-centre PSOE party has fallen by 17%. 

GALICIAN & LOCAL STUFF

Wild Boars: The Xunta has now authorised 3 archers to sit in trees or bushes and to kill those who wander towards crops and the towns. Those who operate from the latter must pee in bottles so as not to give their presence away. I feel there's a joke in there somewhere. I've now read that one problem is the wild boars are now breeding with Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, which presumably makes them even bigger and more dangerous tackle. Unless you're up a tree. One example.




Spain's most ill-conceived roundabout?: I've mentioned this Pontevedra junction before. It's a meeting of 6 roads, where you're not allowed to exit via 5 of them . . . . Indeed, you're not even allowed to go right round the thing:-

Wherever you're coming from, you're directed down the hill towards the river road. Or the urban 'by-pass' (ronda) as it's called. At least by the 'planners'.


Of course, it wasn't always like this. But the direction of the traffic has been changed so often since it was constructed that it's now become a complete nonsense. All part of a (pretty unsuccessful) attempt to get the traffic leaving for the coast road to use a new bridge instead of the traditional one. Needless to say, there've been some amusing accidents here. The best perhaps being when a car got stuck trying to go between the steel poles blocking the road, where you now see a 'temporary' No Entry sign in the top picture. By the way, before the (expensive) steel poles, there used to be low granite blocks, to stop people parking on the pavement. But cars kept hitting these as, though they were cheap, they weren't very visible. I think I once counted the poles here at over 150.

As you can see, one car has found a bit of pavement to park on. But at least has kept off the zebra crossing.

FINALLY

1. Leonard Cohen: I never 'got' this guy, though I have several friends who idolise him. I took the same view of his performances as expressed in this little Private Eye poem on Bob Dylan:-

So. Congratulations 
Then Bob Dylan
Fellow poet and now
Nobel Prize winner
For literature

Some say your
Work is not 
Poetry because you 
Sing the words.

I disagree
Because you can't sing.

2. My Parking Fine: Well, I did manage to pay it at a branch of Abanca yesterday. And I wasn't told I was outside the correct timeframe. But things were even odder than this. There were at least 5 desks and a counter in the bank but only one staff member. And it wasn't the statutory 11am 'coffee time' that would have explained the absence of others. Despite there being a couple of customers who entered just after me, this chap took my notification, led me outside to the ATM and then processed my payment in the machine. Twice, in fact, as one of the €50 notes was rejected the first time. I don't know why he didn't just tell me I could do this myself - assuming I could - but am prepared to put this down to kindness. Or sympathy for a guiri.

4 comments:

Anthea said...

Do Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs roam free in Galicia? Or do the wild boar break into places where folk have Vietnamese potbellied pigs as pets? I am simolybcurious as to how the coupling manages to take place.

Colin Davies said...

1. Deliberate. See google
2. Escapes?

Perry said...

Pot bellied pigs are considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, they weigh 43 to 136 kg (100 to 300 lb), so the piglets should be smaller. That is, if the boar is wild!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot-bellied_pig

Colin Davies said...

Just testing you, Perry!

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