Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 27.3.18

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.

Cataluña
Spain
  • President Rajoy clearly thinks his legalstic approach to the political issue of Cataluña has been a huge success. Otherwise why ask people to hold off with the triumphalism?
  • Weird Easter traditions from, of course, The Local.
  • Dangerous geriatrics.
Life in Spain
  • There does seem to be something of a problem with the accuracy of the CVs of many politicians who rise in Spain. Perhaps checking them out is a new practice here.
  • Yesterday morning, I answered the door to a young man selling croissants, at twice the normal price. He told me he was doing this to get cash to help him get through college. I didn't ask him what he was studying but, looking at the (short) change he gave me, I assumed it wasn't mathematics. If I thought he really was a student, I would admire this rare example of entrepreneurship, but I don't. The size of his tray – and that of this mate - suggested employment by a local bakery. Though I have no problem with that, of course.
  • Just in case you didn't read the stuff on renting in Madrid, here's a bit that certainly applies nationally: Landlords and real estate agents are not user-friendly. They often don’t return phone calls, or fail to turn up for viewings. Sometimes they don’t bother to tell you the apartment has already been let until you phone up to ask why they're not on the doorstep. In fact, they can be downright untrustworthy and have been known to lie on occasions. TBH, the writer is actually pulling his punches. It's the Wild West. Where, astonishingly, the percentage commission charged to sellers is 2 or 3 times that of the UK for, usually, appalling service. In large part, this stems from the PP government, at the start of the construction boom, removing the requirement for estate agents(realtors) to be qualified and licensed. Hence cowboys. And, of course, girls. Lots of money to be made, low service levels and even lower ethics. Something that Dutch author Vincent Werner would regard as a microcosm of Spain. Tune in tomorrow for a lot more on Werner . .
EU
  • Here's Don Quijones on Europe's twisted banking industry again.
The USA
  • It’s funny how there appears to be no actual thought going on at all here, not a hint that Trump recognizes his own contradictory claims. He just says whatever he thinks he needs to say to defend himself at any given moment. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter, whatever he says right this minute is true right this minute. It’s Humpty Trumpty and words mean whatever he wants them to mean, neither more nor less.
Spanish/English
  • When a Spanish neighbour texts me to say they're about to visit me – you simply can't arrive unannounced in Spain – they say 'I'm going now' (Ya voy), not, as in English, 'I'm coming now'. Is it too much to say this indicates a significantly different perspective. One from the point of view of the visitor and the other from the point of view of the visitee?
Social Media
  • Extracts:-
- Facebook’s digital empire will be hard to shake despite Cambridge Analytica scandal
- People are leaving Facebook in droves. But they are not escaping the social media giant’s empire.
- Facebook's global reach now makes it almost impossible for people to disentangle themselves completely from an online empire that has made it one of the richest — and most politically influential — companies in the world.
- Removing Facebook’s app from your smartphone — or even committing social networking harakari — may be cathartic for those who don’t like the idea of their personal photos, messages and “likes” being shared without their knowledge. And to be fair, Facebook has progressively clamped down on how much of people’s digital information is shared with third-party app developers.
- The company’s global reach is no longer reliant on just its original social network. Over recent years, it has built (or acquired) a stable of other smartphones apps, including Instagram and Facebook Messenger
- That strategy has paid off. Facebook now owns three out of the top 10 most used apps, according to difficult — if not impossible — for anyone to fully extricate themselves from Zuckerberg’s digital empire.
- FB recently announced that it was buying TBH, an up-and-coming social network mostly used by teenagers.
- People who steered clear of Facebook and its deep bench of smartphone apps may think they have escaped the company’s reach. But even they are not out of the woods. As part of the social network’s goal to make itself indispensable to people’s online habits, the social network sealed agreements with tens of millions of websites worldwide to embed the company’s famous “like” button across the wider internet. concerns that these deals also allow Facebook to indiscriminately collect data on its users and non-users alike, accusations that the company denies.
- The social network’s reach beyond its own apps doesn’t stop there. Roughly 1 billion people worldwide regularly see these Facebook-generated ads whenever they surf the web.
- Roughly 15 million websites also allow people to sign in through Facebook’s login, according to SimilarTech, a digital marketing consultancy. That makes the company a de facto ID system for vast swathes of the web, while also helping it to collect data on people’s internet activities. And since 2014, the social network has similarly built a highly lucrative digital advertising network that extends companies’ existing marketing campaigns on the platform to the rest of the internet. Many of the ads you now see online, for instance, are powered by Facebook. This global platform makes the social network second only behind Google in the amount of money it generates annually from online ads,

- The horse has already bolted. We’re now living in a Facebook world.

Galicia/Pontevedra
  • Some interesting news with a link to the nearby town of Cambados, along the coast:- Europol's most-wanted criminal (and the only woman in the organisation's top 70 fugitives), Tania Varela, has been arrested after 4 four years on the run. Varela, ex-girlfriend of David Pérez Lago, whose stepfather was the infamous Galicia drug baron Laureano Oubiña, is accused of involvement in multi-million drug-smuggling hauls and of laundering the proceeds from this. And of playing a 'significant role' in northern Spain's biggest organised criminal gang, which used ports in Galicia to traffic cocaine and other class-A drugs from South America to Europe and included the notorious clans of Laureano Oubiña and Sito Miñanco. She was convicted in 2013 of setting up front companies in tax havens to launder the drug money but fled, and has been on the run since. Before she was arrested, Tania Varela – a lawyer - was office manager and legal advisor for the Women's Issues department at Cambados town hall.
  • But . . . The drug clans aren't our only evil bastards. According to someone in yesterday's local press, the furtivos (stealers of shellfish from their breeding grounds) are a “worse mafia than the narcotráficos”. Bloody 'ell.
  • Someone should write a book and make a TV series about our criminals. Oh, they already did.
  • The 85 year old president of the English Speaking Society of Pontevedra has offered to tell me all about the dapper 'star' of the TV series. They grew up together.
Finally
  • Beggars 1: The atrocious guitarist – I've noted in the last 3 days – knows only a single chord and spends the entire day strumming to it. Astonishing. Picaresque or what?
  • Beggars 2: Today I was confronted by a chap with a plastic glass in his hand, held out to receive coins from everyone he passed. His defining characteristic was not a wan, skinniness but a truly vast gut, hinting at least one form of indulgence.
© Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 27.3.18

7 comments:

Lenox said...

I live in a wealthy tourist resort. We have some beggars (mostly from what appears to be an extended Romanian family). Our beggars content themselves with sitting outside every door of every supermarket (even the fire-door). The cops seem to ignore them as long as they aren't Spanish (image is everything down south)

Maria said...

Oh, those Klan hats! My first Holy Week living here, over twenty years ago, I was taken very much aback. Most Americans, seeing them for the first time, are.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


It is the 27th of March, not the 17th, my dear friend!

Selling croissants is, as it happens and the Lord only knows why, an established practice for Gallego schoolchildren to gather money. Thus, in my godson's school, the children and their parents do this to finance the considerable costs of a 4-day trip to London. Personally, I'd send them door to door with something a little more exotic, but it seems to work.

I would translate 'Ya Voy' as 'I'm on my way already' - but let native speakers correct me by all means!

WHAT 'dapper star' of WHAT TV-series?????

Be glad your local busker knows a chord. It would be worse if he didn't know an at all!

Yours, KnowledgebAl

Colin Davies said...

Google Analytics tells me that there are between 450 and 1500 readers to this blog a day, though some of these could well be bored Russian bots. Whatever, I imagine you are the only person/machine who reads the dateline. One is forced to ask Why?

The TV series? - The one linked to in the previous sentence. And in an earlier post. Try to stay awake between paragraphs . . .

Thank-you for your deliberate mistake to show how easily accidental ones are made

Colin Davies said...

@Lenox: Yes, we too have the Rumanian supermarket squatters

Colin Davies said...

@Maria: I can imagine, if you're famiuliar with the KKK displays. It was bad enough for me. Still is, in fact. I find it all very eerie. Medieval.

BTW, Maria: I had convinced myself you were a returned emigrée from the USA. I now theorise the child/grandchild of an emigré or emigrés . . .

Maria said...

Colin, I was taken by my parents to Boston when I was a month and a half old. I think I qualify both for emigré and child of emigré!

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