Thursday, February 08, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 8.2.18

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.

  • Can you believe this? The PP government's infamous Gag Law in practice??
  • This week saw the start of our long Lenten festival - Carnaval to the Spanish, Entroido to the Galicians. Here is the inevitable list of weird celebrations around the country from The Local. As long time readers might recall, we immolate a parrot here in Pontevedra, rather than the sardine more customary along this coast. 
  • Things didn't start too well here. I went to the Casa da Luz yesterday to see a foto exhibition. The Turismo(city only) folk there knew nothing about it. It seems it takes place on 23 and 24 Feb.
  • I was amused by a quote from someone in a local paper yesterday that Without the fun, there'd be no point to Carnaval/Entroido. Fun has long seemed to me to be the very point of every fiesta in Spain.
  • Back to daily life . . . Consumer orientation and consumer protection here in Spain are both behind elsewhere but things are moving in the right direction. As Don Quijones reports here, the Spanish - assisted by the courts - are now rather less supine than they used to be as regards at least their utterly rapacious - and quite possibly criminal - banks.
  • I wonder how true the first bit of this is: The Spanish are turning to Rick Stein, the British chef, for inspiration on cooking their native food. Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, in which the restaurateur toured the region sampling and creating local specialities, was the most watched BBC export to Spain last  year.
  • An amusing spoof version of Spain's dreadful entry for the Eurovision song contest.
The EU
  • As with Brexit, there's an awful lot of commentary but no one really knows where Germany and, therefore, the EU are going now. France wants more integration, the Netherlands wants less. Germany will decide. Taking its time, I guess.
  • Trump is now waging four domestic wars at once: with the media; with Democrats; with his own Justice Department and with the FBI (headed by his own appointees) over his and his family’s potential involvement with Russia.
The UK
  • A Times columnist has surveyed the political scene and observes: There's a large group of people who see no viable party to represent their views or their sense of what is best for Britain. In recent polls asking about the best prime minister, Theresa May has led Jeremy Corbyn but “Don’t know” has beaten both. The need for a new alignment - but not a new party - is obvious, he claims. Adding the rider: As Shimon Peres once said: “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel; the problem is there is no tunnel”. The writer labels this unhappy group The club of the politically homeless.
Nutters Corner
  • A US Christian pastor - Paul Begley - claims that Melania Trump had the entire White House “completely exorcised” before she moved in. This was because: When the Obamas lived there, the it was filled with all kinds of idol gods and images and all kinds of artifacts in there that were demonic. Sounds reasonable enough to me. Or would do if I were a Christian Evangelist who thinks Fart was sent by God, primarily to stop abortions. Well, legal ones anyay.
  • One of our big narcos was arrested this week, along with several mates and family members. He's the king of cocaine smuggling here and is said to have managed operations while spending 20 years in clink. With the help of 'moles' in the police and the Tax Office.
  • The AVE high-speed train was forecast to enter Galicia as of December - always December  - this year but the Ministry of Development has admitted this isn't in its 2018-2019 plan. So, when? As ever, no one really knows. But it won't be 2005 or any other date given since then.
  • The Galicians like to think of themselves as the only Celts in Spain. Rather like the Catholics in Heaven. This map rather gives the lie to that belief. So, don't show it to any nationalists:-

  • I'm sure this doesn't happen down south but we Brits are so exotic up here in Galicia that the normal question I get when talking to someone new in Spanish is Are you German? Things got a bit better this morning then a carpenter asked me if I was Dutch.
Today's Cartoon

Sorry, can't resist this, from today's Times:-


Maria said...

Love the cartoon! The cartoonist captured the spirit of the orange buffoon perfectly.

Years ago, when the Costa da Morte was still pretty much only for the locals, we visited the rough lane that leads from Santa Mariña to Cabo Vilán, passing by the Cemiterio dos Ingleses, of The Serpent fame. Along the dusty track, we met a man who was walking. We started talking and offered him a ride down to the cemetery. He spoke such perfect English that I asked if he was British. Turned out he was German.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Well, some people demolish a sardine for carnival... Others break the neck of a parrot... Where I come from (my French home town, I mean) we twist a rain worm into a Gordian knot and then the kid with the best notes in the local grammar school gets to chop the little sucker into pieces. A tradition which goes back to Macedonian immigrants on the Provençal coast...

No need to tell you that I had the honour of doing so for six year in a row!


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Oh, incidentally, my dear Colin:

Nobody in his right mind would EVER mistake you for a Dutchman. They are polite...


Colin Davies said...

It's a little-known fact, Maria, that a Galician director made a short documentary about the Serpent and that I played the part of the captain. I know the cemetery well, having spent an entire day sitting/standing in or near it.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

And nobody knows more about the Serpent and the 'Costa da More' than Juan Campos Calvo-Soltelo, who wrote a most marvellous book about the shipwrecks on that stretch of coast...

Shall we give credit where credit is due??


Perry said...

James Gillray was the more cutting cartoonist, m'thinks. One example.

Perry said...

???? we Brits are so exotic up her in Galicia ????

For (e) sham (e) sir (e). Eeees have meeeening.