Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 15.3.17

Changing Spain?: Up until this week, it looked as if no one in business or the government was going to pay any price for the Santiago rail disaster of a couple of years ago, when 80 people died. Indeed, anyone charged had been released by the judge without trial. One chap had even been arraigned and let off twice. But such has been the public protest, he's finally been charged with negligence. Such is the Spanish judicial system. See here for details.

Some readers might recall my run-in last year with an officious local cop who wouldn't let me park outside a scrap merchant's in town. In a street where people regularly get away with parking outside the bread shop – close to or even right on the zebra crossing. And always with the hazard lights on, of course. To show they're not really there. But passing the bakery yesterday, I noticed a police car parked behind the offenders and hoped the bastard was fining them. But, anyway, this is a long lead-in to the citation of this blog post, where another foreigner here in Galicia vents his spleen, first, at the atrociously selfish local parking and, secondly, at the calvario he and his wife had to endure in getting Spanish driving licences. Scourge of the Spanish bureaucracy as I'd like to see myself, I have to admit I don't remember finding it as bad as this. It seemed a quick and easy process here in Pontevedra, only memorable for the fact they mis-copied details from my UK licence and – for 5 years at least – gave me the right to drive not only a truck but a truck and trailer.

Talking about life here . . . I wonder if other foreigners experience one particular aspect which continues to bemuse me. If so, you'll know that, if like me you read a magazine or do a crossword when you're walking, people regularly walk into you. Even if you've put yourself at one edge of the pavement/sidewalk, leaving enough space for them to pass you. It's as if their personal radar is so poor they don't see you until they actually hit you. Or as if they're so used to the standard last-second pas-de-deux which 2 Spaniards indulge in when they meet head-on that they assume this will happen, even though they can see you have your head down and can't see them coming. It never happens in the UK, of course, because people there start taking avoidance measures a good 3 to 5 metres before they bump into you. Which always comes as a pleasant surprise, of course.

Having quit Facebook without pain, I'd now done the same with Linkedin, a name that took me years to master. Looking back, I can't figure out why I ever joined it in the first place, as I've never used it and have ignored all the emails they've sent me.

Anyone interested in getting a discount from their energy company - particularly Gas Natural Fenosa - should read the comments of the last day or three.

Finally . . . For no good reason, I started organising my library shelves this morning. And came across The Little Green Book: Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Younger readers might not recall that this was the Shiite cleric who took over the government of Iran after the Shah had been toppled in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Inside the front cover, I've erased the price and substituted Beyond price. I'll quote from it in coming posts but here's one from the chapter headed Women and their Periods: This basically tells men not to sleep with their wives during these or to pay a fine if they do. But there's a codicil – It's highly inadvisable for the man to sodomise her during this time. On the other hand, if he does: Sodomising a menstruating woman does not requite a payment. No wonder the first line of the Special Introduction is: To anyone reared and educated into the assumptions of western life, these are words from an alien world. But one defended by many Islamic women, it seems. God only knows why. Well, Allah anyway.

Today's cartoon:-


Alfred B. Mittington said...

What I am also getting awfully irate about is other drivers who will not go out of their way or out of their lane to avoid me when I'm texting on my iPhone behind the wheel…


Colin Davies said...

There are no lanes on the pavements of P., you old buffoon. And they are plenty wide enough for 2 people. Often 4 but it still happens. Your analogy is so poor I am forced to ask if you have been checked for dementia.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

The number of lanes is immaterial.

If you are not willing to keep your eyes 'on the road' so as to avoid collision yourself, but expect the rest of the world to look after your safety, you are an arrogant toddler.

Grow up. Do your crosswords on a café table. Or take a taxi!


Maria said...

I passed my driving test back in Boston, four days before we moved here. I drove around for a time with my U.S. license, until someone told me I should get a Spanish one. I went to Tráfico in Coruña and they told me to bring proof that I had been living in Boston for at least six months before getting my license. I returned the next day with what I knew would prove it - tax returns from the preceding four years, and a copy of my medical records dating from when I was a baby (I was 22 at the time). I asked, "Is this enough to prove my residence was longer than six months?" The woman, who had acted patronizingly on my previous visit, said nothing, took the forms, looked at them, and allowed me to apply for a Spanish license based on the one I had from Massachusetts. Sometimes you just have to throw a brick at a bureaucrat.

Colin Davies said...

@Alfie. You miss the point again. Which is not what i do but what spaniards do. As opposed to others. I never claimed to be in the right. Get that test done.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

No, yoú are missing the point.

Let us say I walk down the sidewalk with my eyes closed, and other people and I bump into each other. Whose fault is it, please?

You seem to think the world owes you blind consideration, guaranteeing your safety 100 % no matter what you do or how you do it.


Colin Davies said...

Again, I didn't say or even imply it wasnt my fault. My point, effectively, was that some spanish people -for whatever reason - would walk into a blind person rather than take evasive action. One possible reason is poor radar but there are others. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Hello Colin,

I find it amusing when I read all the vicissitudes some of you must endure in Pontevedra and Galicia in general. I have been to Pontevedra and other parts of Galicia, as well as the rest of Spain. But somehow, all your comments seem to describe a different world. I guess I must be blind, dumb and stupid.

SF Bay Area

Colin Davies said...

Hi, Jorge. Good to hear from you. I prefer to think you've just been lucky . . . Or maybe you were well-enchufado. Saludos. C.

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