Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 13.6.17

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

Life in Spain:-
  • It was no great surprise to learn that Spain is the European country where the least is done to guarantee judicial independence. Still catching up after the Franco years, I suspect.
  • As usual, the list of the marks required for specific courses in specific universities in the national entrance exam (la selectividad) makes interesting reading. What's required by Galician institutions probably doesn't differ much nationally. As you'd expect, medical and certain science courses demand high marks. But so do courses for nursing, physiotherapy and Spanish-English translation. Law is pretty low. And even lower are the marks required for Primary Education and Tourism. As I've said a few times over the years, Spain must have some of the cleverest nurses in the world. I don't envy the life of a mediocre doctor here. Or possibly even a good one.
  • Despite the high reputation of Spain's business schools, the QS global university rankings are not kind to the country's universities. Only the university of Barcelona and the Autonomous Universities of Madrid and Barcelona figure in the top 200. Santiago de Compostela is to be found in the 601-650 section, while La Coruña is in the final 801-1000 section. The top 5 places go to US institutions, followed by the UK's Cambridge and Oxford.
  • Up here in Galicia, the courts investigated c. 200 cases of alleged corruption in the public sector last year, broken down for the most part as:-
                 Prevaricación (perversion of justice): 99
                 Tráfico de influencia (selling favours): 27
                 Malversación (embezzlement): 26
                 Blanqueo de dinero (money laundering): 23
                 Cohecho (bribery): 11
This headline appeared in a local paper last Friday: A drunk throwing beer bottles from a 5th floor flat forced the police to take action. It got me wondering how long they sat around watching the action and pondering whether to do something before they felt obliged to.

The wolves are getting closer and closer to Pontevedra. The latest report is of a foal killed in Acibal, near Moraña. Only 15km from the city. Urban wolves within 20 years?

The English language: How important a possessive adjective can be:-
To lose your heart: To fall in love
To lose heart: To become discouraged. Possibly afterwards.

Well, if I told you last night's train was scheduled to leave Madrid at 10.15 you probably wouldn't believe me. And you'd be right not to do so. For it was 10.14. Mind you, Chamartín is a vastly larger station than Pontevedra, so they have a lot more departures and arrivals to schedule. At last I have an answer – because I finally asked – why the train stops for about 30m in Vigo before ending its journey 25 minutes later in Pontevedra. It's because they change the engine. As to why they do this, the Renfe guy didn't know. He guess was because we changed direction. Which seems implausible to me. Unless they later use the (smaller?) engine to run between Pontevedra and La Coruña. Or perhaps the one that dragged us from Madrid can't push us to Pontevedra.

Nutters' Corner: A Christian pastor in the USA – where else? - has asked whether more souls haven't been damaged by the singer Ariana Grande than by the Manchester suicide bomber. I wonder if his god is impressed by his insane musings.

Finally . . . . In the building of my hostel in Malasaña, there was a modelling agency with a name I felt was possibly not terribly appropriate.

Or perhaps it was.

Note: My web page on Galicia and Pontevedra is now free of the awful yellow/white striations and once again readable. Bear in mind I wrote it several years ago.


Maria said...

The cut off marks on the selectivity exam not only reflect what is expected of the students, it also reflects the need for one professional or another. It seems there are already too many doctors who remain unemployed when they graduate and who end up emigrating. The waiting rooms of the different hospitals don't seem to sway anyone into thinking a few more would be a godsend. Lawyers, on the other hand, are less common, generally because many who study law don't end up being lawyers, but perhaps go on to pursue careers in upper echelon law enforcement or politics, and other stuff where a law degree is a help, if only to know how to evade the law.

Wolves seem to be copying their neighbors, the boars. They've shown on the news video clips of boar families eating from garbage containers, patrolling the central streets of a town, and even sunbathing at the beach with the tourists. I fully expect one to come knocking on the door any day now, asking for a handout.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Maria. As informative and amusing as ever. I've heard it said a few times that the huge demand for nursing cranks up the mark but it still means that graduates must be pretty smart. And now that none are applying to go to the UK, at least for now, there's going to be a lot of them around in Spain . . .

Perry said...


The train from Madrid to Vigo is not configured for a DVT.


Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Perry. I think I understand this . . .