Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 9.6.17

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

There's fulsome coverage of the UK election in at least El País today. Mrs May is, of course, portrayed as an imbecile whose gamble backfired and produced results diametrically opposed to those sought.

The train I was on last night actually originated in Pontevedra. It left there at 21.30 and arrived at 9.30 this morning. Except it didn't. The official times are 21.28 and 9.31. And I can't for the life of me figure out why. It's as if they use a random number generator. But at least I discovered why the journey is 2 hours longer than it was 2 years ago. There used to be 3 branches of the train that ended up in Madrid after the 3 component trains had linked up. But now there are only 2 and the Pontevedra train has to go walkabout to stop at additional places. I'm told that, when the high-speed AVE train finally arrives, the night train will disappear altogether. Which I will regard as a shame. But I might be dead by then, of course.

There's another thing I've never been able to understand about the night train from Pontevedra to Madrid - it goes to Vigo (before backtracking to Redondela) but stays in Vigo station for 25-30 minutes. Anyone know why? Or even have a guess?

There's been a lot of emotion and criticism here in Spain about the time it took the British authorities to confirm the death of the Spanish 'surfboard hero' from the London terrorist attack. I wonder if it reflects cultural differences rather than any differential treatment of the victims and their relatives. The two things that are really prompt and rapid in Spain are, respectively, the start of a bullfight and the burial of the dead. The latter usually takes place the next day in Spain, compared with 1 or 2 weeks in the UK. Hence the incomprehension and emotion, perhaps.

I see Jeremy Corbyn is claiming the Labour party won the election. Just as Bernie Sanders beat Hilary Clinton or the latter beat Donald Trump, I guess. It didn't, of course, win it but, if it had done so, it would have been largely because Mrs May presented victory to Mr Corbyn of a plate. A famous footballer - Gary Linekar - put it brilliantly when he noted that Theresa May had won the contest for the 'own goal of the season'.

Final thought on the election . . . It was a disaster for several parties and for several people. But, if the Labour party could have won it with someone other than Mr Corbyn in charge, then it was also a disaster for them too. So, far from being the victory he claims.

Here in Spain, there are going to be nationwide measures aimed at protecting cyclists from 'careless' motorists. Maybe they'll one day get round to protecting pedestrians from couldn't-care-less cyclists. But, anyway, El País today has a map of incident totals in each region. Galicia's looks high but I'd like to see all the numbers expressed as a percentage of something.

Finally . . . A White House spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has averred: “I can definitively say the president is not a liar.” One wonders what universe she's living in. Perhaps uber-liar Trump only employs liars. Albeit of lower quality.

No cartoon today. Only this foto of the train cabin and the world's ugliest feet. Fortunately be-socked.


Les Revenants said...

When I was in Japan, I remember being surprised at the precise times given for shinkansen (bullet train) platform arrival/departure. For example, Platform A, 12:17. It didn't take long to realise that this was EXACTLY when the train would arrive. V impressive organisation.

Colin Davies said...

Yes, indeed. I've had the same experience. But my train arrived 15min early in Madrid and the surprise reception by my daughter would have been missed if I'd gone straight to the metro and not to a café to have a coffee . . .