Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 23.8.18

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. Garish but informative.

As usual on a Thursday morning, I'm indebted to Lenox Napier of the comprehensive Business over Tapas for some of the following items.

Matters Spanish
  • Those bull-taunting 'fiestas' around Spain involve a degree of risk for the spectators. As can be seen here and here. Don't you just love the action of someone throwing in a (red) rag while the bull tosses a poor chap as if he were one.
  • More summer fodder from The Local7 Spanish habits you'll never truly master.
  • As someone who fights to prevent waiters putting at least 2 plastic straws in my GandT, I wasn't surprised to read that Spain leads Europe in the use of these pretty pointless things. .
  • Yesterday I got a call from someone in my home-insurance company. I called him this morning to talk about the proposal I'd got in April from one of his colleagues. He said this had nothing to do with him as he was an autonoma (self-employed) working out of the company's offices. And he stressed that I would get a different proposal from each person representing the company. 'Different' discounts, for example. My mind went back to comments made by Vernon Werner in his book about how bizarrely companies can work in Spain. From which I compiled the points listed in this post.
  • Says Lenox in a bit on the evils of 'over-tourism': The difference between an over-sold resort in Spain and the perfectly ordinary village next-door is a wonder to behold in prices, tourist numbers and the ubiquitous souvenir shops. Also true of next-door Portugal, of course.
The EU and Greece
  • Says Ambrose Evans Pritchard: Greece will not escape debt servitude until the euro is destroyed.Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. The IMF says Greece will still be bankrupt in 2060 under EU policies, despite half a century of austerity. If all goes perfectly, Greece will struggle through the 2020s and early 2030s on the edge of insolvency, still under the tutelage of the foreign commissars. In 2060 it will finally emerge from a half century of austerity just as bankrupt as it is today, with a public debt of 180% of GDP. Greece will be back where it started. It will not have escaped the debtors’ prison or the grinding indignity of neo-colonial oversight. It will still have EU officials telling its elected leaders which pensions to cut or how much the country can spend on hospital syringes. 
  • Nice Times cartoon . . .
  • A trio of relevant articles from the (left of centre) Guardian:-
  1. A leader: The walls have suddenly caved in on Donald Trump’s presidency. First came Michael Cohen’s stunning plea agreement . . .Then, Robert Mueller’s prosecution team notched a big win with the guilty verdict on eight counts against Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. . . A third wall crumbled over the weekend, when the New York Times revealed that the White House counsel, Don McGahn, had spent 30 hours providing information to Mueller. 
  2. Nice article on Fart and his prospects. You have to say that a man with Fart's background, character and ethics who believed he could stand for president and get away with it is impressive in some way. Staggering self belief. Or, perhaps, self deception. Or just chutzpah?  Or pure hubris? With nemesis to follow?
  3. A cold blast for the Democrats.
The UK
  • Says Richard North re the Brexit: We now have 7 months to discuss in ever-greater detail the consequences of a no-deal deal, while conjuring up a sequence of imaginative mitigation measures that can get us off the hooks on which we've impaled ourselves. Sounds about right to me. He terms it the Dunkirk Option. Nice. The problem, adds North, is that the 2 biggest hurdles to a successful resolution are the stunning weight of ignorance borne by our politicians and a consistent inability to get to grips with the technical issues demonstrated by the babies in the media. Can one be at all optimistic?
  • A reverse trend? Words such as "dodgy", "bespoke", "wonky" and "twee" have popped up in the vocabulary of American speakers influenced by a desire to sound more sophisticated. I blame that new technology – the radio. Or, as we call it, the 'wireless'.
Galicia and Pontevedra
  • The Guardia Civil – which is really a semi-military organisation – has over 200 barracks in Galicia. But is about to close 'a large part' of them. The smaller ones, it seems.
  • 84% of homes in Galicia have the internet but only 32% have 'high speed' connection. Fortunately, after 15 years of almost no speed, my house now numbers among the lucky ones.
  • With the big August fiesta finally over, we now move to the Festa de Demo (Devil) this week, for kids. And the huge Medieval Fair on 1 September, which is a tradition that goes back all of 18 years. And then there's a break until the very Spanish Oktoberfest . . . Hey ho. It's obigatory to enjoy yourself in Spain. Whether you want to or not.
Finally . . .
  • I'm reading about the Phoenicians and foolishly mentioned this to a friend I share with the insufferable Mr Mittington. The latter sent me this article on them which - for reasons I can't now recall - I'd put on my Galicia web page back in 2013. I have to admit it's pretty good. When he isn't being pettifogging, he can be quite learned. Amusing, even. You can read his original post here.
© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 23.8.18


Sierra said...

A final comment on the "Fariña" book - it has been banned, so the copy you saw in a bookshop window is a bit dodgy (investment value?). Interesting article in the Telegraph:

Colin Davies said...

I thought it had been unbanned by a judge.

BTW - Magnets. I bought a small but very powerful one to try to find a watch possibly down a hole in my garden. I am now keeping it well away from me . . .

Country Girl said...

Interested to hear how you got on at the new Indian restaurant in Pontevedra.

Colin Davies said...

1. Hard to find. The place (at no. 7) was apparently a kebab bar and has no Surya sign outside. 2. Not very appealing interior. 3. Slow service. 4. Adequate lamb curry. 5. Nice mango lassi. Won't be rushing back . . . Does take away, if you want to test it this way.

Perry said...

Even these will wipe a bank card.

Perry said...

Re the AEP prognostication, (πρόγνωσις "fore-knowing, foreseeing").

Did 2004 Olympics Spark Greek Financial Crisis?

Colin Davies said...

I'd better keep my magnet away from my wallet then. As well as from my orchestra stalls . . .