Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia; 13.9.17

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
  • I've been waiting for the take of Don Quijones – a Barcelona resident – on the clash between Spain and Cataluña's (minority?) nationalists and here it is. As he says, there's huge concern in the business world – and elsewhere I'm sure - that what began as a largely political (and perfectly avoidable) crisis has the potential to spiral into a financial maelstrom that could spread far beyond the borders of both Catalonia and Spain. The blame for this is not entirely on one side. DQ cites the mistakes of the right-of-centre PP since 2010 in taking us to this (surely avoidable) crisis. But nationalists of any stamp are hard to reason with. And tend to cut off their noses to spite their faces. DQ – surely rightly – concludes that Madrid's use of its nuclear option move will do nothing to restore calm, peace or harmony in a part of Europe that still bears the scars from one of Europe’s bloodiest civil wars. And that: Whether the referendum happens or not, Spain’s richest region is likely to be riven by conflict, division and uncertainty for months, if not years ahead — none of which is good for either Catalonia or Spain’s economy. And the biggest irony of all: the more Madrid tries to pummel Catalonia into compliance, the more separatists it will create. All that said, no one would bet on this not happening.
  • As I expected, as we get closer to the referendum date, Madrid has started to release all the 'black book' data it has on the leaders of the secession movement. Specifically, their involvement in the notorious 3% rake-off from all government contracts. Which is a tad ironic, given the accusations of vast corruption against PP party membersin Madrid.
  • An interesting item in today's paper . . . .Billionaire heir to the Santander banking empire faces 4 years in prison and a fine in excess of €100 million, if he is found guilty of attempting to smuggle a protected Picasso painting out of Spanish territory on his luxury yacht.
  • It's a cheap way to get a laugh but here – courtesy of my Dutch friend Peter in Santiago – is one of those Google menu translation items which one has to share:- Mussels of her laugh to the steam. Which I assume to be Mejillones de la ría al vapor. Or 'Steamed estuary mussels''.

Today finds me in Colmenar Viejo, north of Madrid, at the start of another camino with old friends. I decided to walk from the station to the hotel. This is 2.7km and takes about 40 minutes. Or around 70 if you take into account that few of the streets here have names on them and even people standing in a particular street can't tell you where it is. So, a certain amount of backtracking.

As Oscar Wilde once said to me . . . To have your pocket picked once in Madrid is unfortunate; to have it picked twice in 2 weeks smacks of carelessness. But at least this time I had followed my own advice and separated my bank and other cards. So just a monetary loss. As if that weren't bad enough.

En passant . . . Do octogenarian and nonagenarian Americans really think they look good in baseball caps?

Finally . . . I am just woken from a siesta to that extraordinarily loud, thumping music that is de rigeur at any Spanish event. I fear there's a wedding taking place in the hotel and that this will go on until 2am. By which time I will be ready to kill someone. So, if you never see another post . . . 

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I keep hearing and reading that this conflict between Madrid and Catalonia could easily have been avoided. But for some reason, nobody ever explains how. So could you - or one of your readers - possibly give this old sceptic a peep into the theoretical scenario?

Sorry about your second wallet. If karma truly exists, you may find a valuable gold coin on the road you're walking now…


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