Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 12.7.18

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 hereGarish but informative.

  • There's a growing number of siren voices warning that Spain is heading for another phony bum (boom) based on soaring property sales financed by even cheaper money than last time round. God forbid. But greed will have its way. And there's a speculative fool born every minute.
  • Meanwhile, there's good news on ever-lower unemployment levels, albeit from the very high base of a few years ago,
  • HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for this article about some fake news from Franco's government on healthcare in Spain. Possibly not the only subject on which porkies were propagated back then.
Life in Spain
  • So, it's not only in Galicia where a trip to the beach can be more stimulating than you were expecting.
  • Prostitution per se is neither legal nor illegal in Spain. So, the outskirts of all Spanish towns sport 'Clubs' with pink/purple neon signs. And, possibly, garish representations of the female form. Taking the secondary roads to see a friend near Santiago last Friday and then pick up someone from the airport, I passed at least 7 of these establishments. And then there are the ladies at the side of the road or in the truck carparks. About which some town halls are taking severe measures aimed at the purchasers of the services rather than the providers. For example here.
  • Another HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for this: The Spanish are tolerant and friendly towards the immigrant population, says El Diario, quoting various sources. One, from the European Social Survey, shows Spain to be close to Sweden, Denmark and Finland in their tolerance, and worldwide (according to Gallup here) as 17th out of 138 countries.
  • And for this: An amusing article from El País on 10 things the Spanish no longer do during the summer. Maybe. For details of what's replaced them, click here.
  1. Waiting up to three hours to go for a swim after lunch
  2. Ordering a beer for your 12-year-old 
  3. Dropping off your children at summer camps 
  4. Skipping siestas to watch Miguel Induráin win the Tour de France
  5. Spending the morning reading gossip magazines
  6. Spending time in the sun without sunscreen 
  7. Using a road map to find a village in, say, Murcia 
  8. Calling a hotel to make a reservation
  9. Travelling in a car without a seatbelt for 400km
  10. Thinking that flying is just for the rich
  • Down in Andalucia, there's reason to be worried about the meat you're buying in the supermarkets. Or there was at least.
  • If Trump is so sure he has deep understanding of and great relationships with the leaders of China, North Korea and Russia, why on earth does he want Western defence spending increased to a staggering 4% of GDP? Maybe he thinks his successors will screw things up. Or maybe he's in the pocket of the infamous US industrial-military complex. You have to wonder.
  • And why did he choose to walk to the Nato 'family foto' with the increasingly dictatorial president of Turkey?
  • I stumbled across the word esnafrarse yesterday. Although in an article in Spanish, I couldn't find its meaning in normal sources, nor in the dictionary of the Royal Academy. I eventually found this definition: Romperse las narices (debido a un golpe o accidente): 'To break your nostrils (after a blow or an accident)'. The suggestion was that it's a Galician word used by speakers of Spanish and Castrapo in NW Spain. Specifically Galicia, León, Zamora, but not Asturias. Resort to a Galician-Spanish dictionary confirmed this meaning, though a Galican-favouring friend insisted the blow didn't need to be confined to the nose. And added this: Si alguien tropieza y se cae, con retranca decimos: 'Non te esnafres'. The equivalent, perhaps, of the English “Had a good trip?”. Which reminds me of the Spike Milligan comment of the plaque on the deck of the Victory: Nelson Fell Here - 'I'm not surprised. I tripped over it twice!'.
  • I went to the central (i. e. only) post office (Correos) yesterday at 2.30 to find it closed. Which is not what it said on the Horario on the door. Nor on the net. And the Correos web page declared it was 'Open now'. Maybe the employees have decided to move to summer hours without telling anyone. Especially their employers,
  • I bought my now-stolen dash cam largely to film the antics of the numerous learner drivers I see every time I go to town. But I never did post any. Watching one learner yesterday, I concluded that these folk have 2 obsessions: 1. Not signalling at all on the approach to a roundabout, and 2. Pointlessly signally right after exiting it. How any of them pass their test is beyond me. But, I confess to thinking that no signal is better than a completely misleading one. As I've frequently said, it's best to ignore all signals and approach the challenge of roundabouts in Spain very gingerly. Always aware that cars will be coming at you from the right in ways you won't see elsewhere in the world.
Finally . . .

The World Cup:
  1. I was going to argue with this comment but it seems a bit pointless this morning:- Belgium created early chances but were stymied by France’s miserly defence and undone after Umtiti rose above Marouane Fellaini on 51 minutes to redirect Antoine Griezmann’s corner past Courtois.
  2. Likewise my question as to whether Croatia's first goal last night didn't come from a foot that would normally be considered to be dangerously high. The better team won, after all. And we English are good losers . . .

© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 12.7.18

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