Sunday, June 18, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 18.6.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

Note: If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • As a Madrid resident of 10 years standing, my elder daughter is good with excessive heat. She's down in Trujillo this weekend, attending a wedding. Last night she told me that all the Spanish guests there are complaining of the heat. Possibly, she explained, because they all live in London.
  • I might finally have discovered why the marks for Spain's national university entrance exam (the Selectividad) are now out of 14 and not just 10 as before. I'm told you can increase your mark by taking extra subjects.
  • On this, the marks demanded in Galicia are possibly much the same as elsewhere in Spain and the same probably applies to the demand and supply situation. Here, the university of Santiago offers only 360 places for Medicine but has had 2,883 applicants. One wonders how many of these will get the high average mark required for this course. This is a ratio of 1:8. That for Vet Med is also high, at around 1:6. For Nursing it's 1:3 but for Law, it's only 1:2.4. They don't seem to have a course for Notaries but, if they did, I'd bet the ratio would be in the region of 1:5,000.
  • It seems to be impossible in Spain to hold any sort of event - even for young children - without deafening music. This is particularly true of any sort of race. Worst of all, the loud (always modern) 'music' is inevitably accompanied by a thumping bass element which shakes the very ground you're on. But few people seem to notice. Perhaps Spaniards go deaf quite young. It wouldn't surprise me. And it might help to explain why all (simultaneous) conversations are shouted.
  • The 4 tax offices I visited last week all prominently displayed a notice saying it was not a place of gender (i. e. male) violence. Are we to take it that all offices - say of banks - not doing this do actually countenance this?
In an interesting development, the left-of-centre PSOE and Podemos parties appear to be shuffling towards some sort of coalition - possibly involving the centrist Ciudadanos party - aimed at defeating the PP party. Though I doubt the far left wing of Podemos is happy with this belated reconciliation.

Despite numerous promises to the contrary, the Bank of Spain now admits that Spanish taxpayers will get back only a small percentage of the billions hosed at the inefficient and corrupt banks that the government saved, in one way or another. See here on this. And here's the take of the cartoonist of the Voz De Galicia:-
         BANK RESCUE                                  TAXPAYER 
Wait for the pun . . . . This shows the taxpayer being fleased . . . . I thank you.

Dear God! Facebook is now targetting me with details of motorhome and caravan groups. How on earth do they arrive at their algorithm? And can they we trusted to weed out posts from terrorist groups and pedophiles?

Finally . . . I saw a TV ad this morning for a pain-relief gel which is up to 3 times more effective than a non-medicated gel. Given that the latter wouldn't give you any relief at all, I imagine that this must be right. So it beats me why they don't claim that it's, say, a million times more effective. Or perhaps applying a non-medicated gel has some placebo effect.

Today's cartoon:-

Say what you like about Jehovah Witnesses - they're like lightning on burst water mains!

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