Friday, May 04, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 4.5.18

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.

  • What is it with toilets in Spanish cafés, bars and even restaurants? While some – like those in La Entrada in Puerto Real last week – are clean and well provisioned, many are not. And some are despicable. On one day, yesterday, I encountered one aseo where there was not only no toilet paper but also not even a holder to put one on, and a second aseo which lacked everything including a seat. Though it did at least have a trickle of cold water. I wonder if clients are expected to carry their own toilet paper and soap, and perhaps even a small towel to dry their hands ond. And what about the staff?? Maybe everyone is expected to use the little paper serviettes found in boxes on every table in a Spanish bar and café. And the serviettes provided in restaurants.
  • It reminded me of a comment made by a foreign tourist in Pontevedra a couple of weeks ago. Clearly horrified by what she'd experienced during her trip, she said she was writing a guide to Spanish toilets. I didn't get the impression it was to sing their praises.
  • Having lived in several years in the developing world, I carry 'Imodium' with me at all times. You might not be surprised to hear it came in handy yesterday.
  • Driving east from Arcos de la Frontera yesterday, it seemed at times we were being passed by every motorcyclist in the world, presumably on the way to the big race(s) in Jerez. At one stage 10 guardia civil bikes flashed past in a posse, followed by 2 vans. And then another 2 bikes.
  • Shortly thereafter, we arrived at a junction where Ronda was signed to be 15km to the right. A few kilometres along the highway, this had changed to 20km. What was I saying about getting used to arbitrariness?
  • And then we had more satnav/GPS fun with Ronda's one-way streets and a hotel which offered parking but which was situated in pedestrian street we couldn't enter. The alleged hotel parking facility turned out to be a public carpark a kilometre away. By the time I found this out, we'd parked a kilometre in the other direction and walked to the hotel.
  • Talking of hotels . . . Here's something to be aware of . . . If there are 2 of you sharing the costs of a hotel room and want separate beds, you can't rely – with at least – on getting what you've opted for when reserving on their site. Not even if you make it clear in the Special Requests box on the form that you want 'twin beds' and not a 'matrimonial bed'. Arriving in Ronda yesterday evening, we were told that a reservation was always subject to availability – en base de disponibilidad. And we were then offered a 3 bed room at 40% increased cost. I got no satisfaction from, who seemed to suggest I could confirm availability through them. But, if I'm going to phone someone, I might as well phone the hotel direct. And, if I'm going to do that, why make the reservation through Lesson learnt.
  • Need I say the hotel won't be getting a good review from me? Especially as they gave us a room in which they knew the door handle didn't work.
  • To be more positive . . . In Ronda last night, I partook of a pleasant red wine from Málaga going under the name of La Encina del inglés. Or The Englishman's Holm Oak. Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Which reminds me . . . Last week I had a white wine described – in Spanish - as frizzante. The label called it Mékora Frizzle but I can't trace any reference to it on the net. Neither frizzante nor frizzle appears in the dictionary of the Royal Academy but I have found this reference to one example of a frizzante wine At only 5.5% alcohol, it was more like drinking what the Spanish call un refresco than wine. Or 'soft drink' in English, I guess..
  • Finally . . . The breakfast option at this hotel includes a Full English/Irish. I assume it's not a Scottish, Welsh or American breakfast because it lacks haggis, leeks or hash browns, respectively.

  • In the mad world of President Fart, the EU was created to 'take advantage of' the USA', rather than to more effectively compete with it. You'd have thought a businessman would know the difference. Perhaps he does but is now far more of a lying populist than a businessman. Though his businesses do seem to be doing well out of his presidency.
  • That TSB/Sabadell IT problem . . . While Sr Montes, General Manager of Sabadell and a director of TSB, has told British MPs that the end to the problems is “very close”, an 'IT expert' talking to The Times has opined that fixing the problems could take 3 to 6 months because of the severity of them. Unnecessarily perhaps, he added that: I think this is genuinely catastrophic for TSB. Interestingly, my brother-'in-law reminded me yesterday that I'd warned him off TSB/Sabadell a month ago, in view of comments from Don Quijones, as I recall.
  • In Spanish una gamba is a prawn. In Italian, I believe, it's a thigh. Linguistics folk call these 'false friends' and here's The Local with a list of the 11 'most annoying' for English speakers.
  • Feminism has been less of a feature of Spanish society than elsewhere in the West. Thanks to the scandal of the Pamplona rape trial and the judicial demonstration that consent is not the issue under Spanish law, things look like they're about to gather pace. Witness this article. I guess women will have to stop tolerating unsolicited comments like the one made by a waiter to the youngest of our group yesterday – Oh, what lovely green eyes. I love you like a fish. In Spanish, of course.

1 comment:

Maria said...

Gamba, from campa in late Latin, from the ancient Greek kanpe, which referred originally to the shank of the leg. And from that little word we get all sorts of later meanings, even jamón, which originated from the French jambon, again from the late Latin campa; or jamb, because the jambs are the legs that hold up the doorway. There's even an American slang word for legs from the middle of the last century, gams. Possibly, it was a corruption of the Italian gambas.