Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 13.3.18

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.

  • Good to see Spain are about to qualify for the next Rugby World Cup, having thrashed Germany at the weekend. They've also beaten Rumania, who are a useful side. Who knows, given how England played against France at the weekend, the Spanish Lions could well defeat them as well.
  • I'm very saddened – but not, of course, surprised - that millions of prayers and tweets and social media postings did nothing to stop the murder of young Gabriel Cruz. God, it seems, is not as strong as an evil human. Though I guess theists will say it was work of that other mythical figure, the Devil. If that brings them some sort of solace or comfort, I guess it's harmless. If delusory. IMHO.
  • Far more relevant to daily life is the incidence of violence against women in Spain. The numbers are worse than ever but it's always possible that greater attention has led to increased reporting levels. Whatever, it's a real problem in Spanish society. Possibly augmented by the high levels of immigration from her ex-colonies in South America.
Life in Spain
  • Sometime you can't believe what you've just seen. Yesterday, I couldn't exit from a roundabout because I was blocked by a vast car transporter which was going straight on. In contrast, the driver who was planning to turn left had kindly left a gap for cars exiting the roundabout. Or so I thought. But, just as I was about to raise a hand to thank her and move forward, she drove into the space, thus keeping me blocked when the transporter moved off. Whatever her logic was it completely failed me. And it was a good job she didn't look in my direction but maintained that straight-to-the front stare that I know so well from recalcitrant drivers on zebra crossings. Perhaps she hadn't really noticed me – right in front of her – and had just run out of patience. Or possibly consideration for others. Never, as I keep saying, a huge factor in Spanish life. Unless there's the 'personal factor'. Then it's unbounded.
  • Anyway . . . Here's the matrix you need to understand at what speed you'll be fined (if snapped) by Spain's ever-increasing number of radar traps. Offences are Serious(Grave) and Very Serious(Muy Grave). The latter will cost you €600 and the loss of 6 of the intial/remaining points on your licence. Mind you, you'll have to be doing - for example - 80kph(50mph) in a 30kph(19mph) zone to be hit by these penalties. Which is just asking for it, of course. Far more likely, you'll be on a straight, unpopulated road outside a town where logic dictates that the limit is 90/100kph but, in fact, it hasn't been increased since the 30-50 limit of the town you left behind 5-10 minutes ago. Safety isn't always the prime consideration in these matters:-

  • The bottom line might be considered the most relevant - the speed at which the camera clicks on. By the way . . . Resist all temptation to question, insult or - most of all - take a foto of the guardia civil officer who books you. In PP's Spain, this could get you a jail sentence.
The EU
  • If you're interested, here and here is Politico on the Martin Selmayr rapid promotion 'scandal' – skullduggery cloaked in secrecy - and on the man himself. Much disliked, apparently. But possibly 'well-meaning and misunderstood'. And hubristic, ambitious and 'destructive'. A microcosm of the EU, then. A perfect leader. One can see why he soared so quickly to the very top. Reading the second article, I was reminded of my reference yesterday to endogamy.
  • No surprise here: US President Donald Trump's plan to deter school shootings does not include his repeated calls to raise the age for buying semi-automatic rifles to 21.  . . The president tweeted that there was not much political support for raising the minimum age on weapons sales. Well, not from Republicans, one could hazard a guess. Nor the funds-flushed NRA, in all likelihood.
Social Media
  • In the article I posted yesterday it was reported that Tim Berners-Lee has always maintained his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. It seems no one predicted just how much of the latter two we'd be compelled to witness. On a daily basis.
  • And I thought the environs of Pontevedra were dangerous for pedestrians.
  • I've reported on the shenanigans of the Franco family to keep hold of a palace that was 'gifted' to the Generalisimo by the people of Galicia in 1938. It's emerged that the management of the place was taken over a while ago by the Francisco Franco Foundation which has been using public visits as an opportunity to defend Franco's political legacy as a nation builder. As someone has said: It's unthinkable that there could exist in Germany a Hitler foundation or an Italian Benito Mussolini foundation glorifying the lives of these dictators. But Spain is different. At least under the PP party of the hapless Señor Rajoy.
  • What would be your guess at the answer to the question: Over the past 20 years, has the proportion of the world population that lives in extreme poverty:-
1) Increased by 50%
2) Increased by 25%
3) Stayed the same?
4) Decreased by 25%?
5) Decreased by 50%?
Well, 2 years ago some Dutch researchers asked of 26,492 people in 24 countries. Only 1% of these guessed correctly that it had decreased by 50%.

You'd never guess from reading or listening to the media, would you?

Colin Davies, Pontevedra  13.3.18


Maria said...

Ah, yes, the Francisco Franco Foundation and the Pazo de Meirás. It was Franco's daughter who arranged that. Now that she's died, her children have decided to get rid of the troublesome pazo. Rather than let all that real estate get away without any profit from it, they've put it on sale for eight million euros. A snub to the Xunta. You want it back? You pay. The last chapter has yet to be written.

The new head of the Foundation, by the way, is a former aide to the king emeritus. Perhaps the time for a republic is more than ripe. The Borbóns have always been more sinners than saints.

Eamon said...

Colin your logic is not quite correct. The child was murdered before anyone, apart from the murderer, knew about it so prayers, tweets etc. could not influence the fact.

Colin Davies said...

True, Eamon. But I guess that many Catholic women pray for God to stop their husbands abusing them. Doesn't seem to work. And I'm sure that even more Catholics, such as my sister, pray for an end to all the evil in the world. But that doesn't seem to do any good either. And I find the explanation that it's all the fault of Man's God-given 'free will' after the incident in the Garden of Eden to be very unconvincing.

I know it doesn't invalidate your point but I'm sure many millions of prayers were offered that G would be found safe and sound. After the murder, I mean.