Monday, June 26, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 26.6.17

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

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

Life in Spain:-
  • People renting out properties in Spain are obliged to register with their local council and subject themselves to a set of controls which differ from region to region. Here in Galicia the large number of people who've done this was published in the local press yesterday, with a comment to the effect that it's unlikely they'll all be inspected. But at least the Tax Office (the Hacienda) will have their names. It struck me as singularly unlikely that a UK county or town council would introduce such a bureaucratic scheme. But, then, they aren't in the pocket of the local hotel industry, I guess. The sole objective there would to ensure the renters declared taxable income.
  • Spain is benefitting hugely from being seen as a safer tourist option, and numbers and income are soaring. Barcelona has had enough of the hordes and is trying to contain the growth. Elsewhere, industry operators are trying to go upmarket to attract the richer tourists who will give them better profit margins. Which has to be sensible.
  • The hot weather so far this year across Spain has inevitably led to water shortages. One of the most remarkable facts about this country is that water is wasted here much more than elsewhere. And per capita use is much higher than it really should be. Twice as much as in Germany, for example. Perhaps things will now change. At least in Galicia we have the excuse that it rains from time to time here . . .
The negotiation of a trade deal between Canada and the EU has so far taken just under 100 years and, astonishingly, it might well be kiboshed at the last minute by some unhappy folk in one of the 28 EU members involved. Or 27 if we exclude the outgoing UK. And this is a deal which the EU wants. Imagine, then, how difficult it's going to be for the UK to deal with what is, in effect, the world's largest ever committee over a deal which the EU doesn't want. Incidentally, I suspect that, every time President Juncker appears on the TV and makes one of his fatuous comments, support for Brexit rises in the UK. If the Germans and the French really do want Britain to re-think its departure, they should gag the guy. At the very least.

As regards said EU, here's an article from the latest expert who believes it has to either drastically reform - in the direction of a superstate - or die. One interesting aspect of this article is that it appeared in a Spanish newspaper as well - El País - over the weekend. The logic makes sense to me. But the thought of such a superstate at this stage of Europe's development leaves me ice cold. Democratic credentials it certainly wouldn't have. Though you wouldn't need passports and your kids could still get grants to study outside their country/EU region of birth. Which seems to be all some folk really care about. Incidentally, I can't see a EU superstate dominated by Germany allowing the Spanish to consume twice as much water as back home.

Spanish: I've been confused over the years at what to call a roundabout/circle here in Spain. The formal or 'official' word (e. g. In the Driving Theory document) is glorieta but I believe rotonda is far more common. Or is it rotunda? In fact, these seem to be used interchangeably. Rather like words in Persian such as jan become jun in familiar situations.

Gallego: Is the word for our region Galiza or Galica? I ask because I saw the latter on the side of a van yesterday. My closest Galician friend – a nationalist with a huge sense of humour – insists that it's Galiza and that the van driver needs to be shot. I say my friend has a great sense of humour but I wonder how he'd have reacted to the comment from the Brazilian guy at the next table in my bar yesterday who said Gallego is like medieval Portuguese. As Canadian French is to French French, I guess.

A few years ago, IKEA aborted negotiations with the Vigo council and took their new facility to Oporto, down in nearby North Portugal. Yesterday, I read that industrial land in Vigo is now the most expensive in Spain. Short-sighted?? Go figure, as our American cousins say. 

Crooked Nutters Corner: I believe I vented my spleen a while ago about an ad I'd seen on one of the numerous God channels for a version of the Bible which guarantees you endless riches. Well, the promoter of one such Prosperity Bible is now being done for a number of fiscal offences in the USA. You can read more on this here and visit the scumbag's astonishingly dishonest web page here. It's hard to believe folk are taken in by this but, of course, they've already at least partially discarded rational thinking by the time he gets to them.

Finally . . . I had to read the report a few times and check my understanding of the use of the fullstop/period and comma in Spanish numbers but, in the end, I concluded that, yes, in the trial in Pontevedra of the Mulo drug trafficking clan, the prosecution is demanding fines to the total of €2.3 billion. Plus several hundred years in jail for each member, I suspect. That's the way it's done here.

Today's cartoon:-

Another all-time favourite from my collection. From the inimitable Bill Tidy . . . 

Aw, c'mon, Genghis - we need one more to make up a horde!


Sierra said...

Some local water concerns - it's those thirsty pilgrims:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Is it 'rotunda' or 'rotunda'?

Hard to say, but I opt for 'rotunda'…


Sierra said...

P.S. Ironic that Portomarín was relocated in the 1960s to make way for the Belesar reservoir on the Miño river

Lenox said...

Remember the Spanish (and European) 'billion' is 1000 times larger than the English and American one. I always use '1,000 million' when I see the word 'billion' in an English publication.

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