Friday, August 24, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 24.8.18

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.

Matters Spanish
  • When it comes to the acceptance of homosexuality, ex-Catholic Spain still seems to be well in the van.
  • Here's The Local doing its bit to promote 'over-tourism' with 10 things that, until today, were relatively secret in Barcelona.
  • Spain - a magnet for digital nomads?
  • If you look up a Spanish word in the dictionary of the Royal Academy but fail to include an accent, you'll be told it doesn't exist. Is this really appropriate – never mind helpful – in the 21st century?
  • It was asked frequently on US TV yesterday:- How stupid do Fart and his people think we are? An excellent question. Time will give us the answer. Perhaps as stupid as them. Or at least Fart.
  • A question I have . . . Would Fart lie so brazenly if there weren't a channel like Fox News to do it on without ever being challenged?
  • Which reminds me . . . If you're a US voter who witnessed Fart's lie-strewn – and possibly criminal - performance in front of a supine, mute interviewer on that channel on Wednesday and still rate him, then he was surely right to say that you'd vote for him even if he killed someone on 5th Avenue. Or maybe, as someone said on US TV yesterday, you'd react like Carrie Fisher did to John Belushi here.
  • Perhaps the most relevant comment made in the last few days is that, with US politics being now so polarised and tribal, it's not policies – let alone moralities – which determine victory, but turnout. So, both parties will be going hell for leather between now and November to maximise their voters at the midterm elections.
Social Media
  • Don Quijones here: Facebook tries to clean up its tattered image
Galicia and Pontevedra
  • Taking a coffee en route to my midday watering hole yesterday, I had to endure the stereo-blight of terrace life in Spain – a woman blowing cigarette smoke from the left, and – on my right - a woman moaning about her private life in a voice that could surely be heard in Vigo. So, in the immortal words of reporters on the News of the Screws, I made my excuses and left.
  • A local paper reports that our good August weather has led to virtually 100% occupation in our hotels. This implies that some Spaniards leave their holiday arrangements until the last possible moment. Can this really be true?
  • Which reminds me . . . It's a feature of Spanish life that no one takes reservations seriously. Neither the people who make them, nor the hotels and restaurants which book them. Nor is there any reaction if you reserve a table for, say, 6 and turn up with, say, 20. Or even vice versa. It's all part of the Spanish love of 'spontaneity'. Or, rather, their aversion to 'planning'. BUT . . . Hotels and restaurants are getting fed up of losing money because of this national practice. Maybe it didn't matter so much when the places were never full and things could be accommodated but, with tourism now booming like never before, serious money is being lost - both because of people failing to turn up and because of people turning up but then departing without paying. A sinpa. Or sin pagar. So, things will change. But probably slowly. Credit card details will surely one day be requested in advance. And Spain will become a little less 'different'. Once again.
  • Meanwhile . . There's more than a week to go to our one-day Medieval Fair but work has already begun on preparing for it. Evidence of my belief that the Spanish are at their most hard-working and efficient when having fun. Or even when just getting ready to have it.
Finally . . .
  • A personal note: I was brought up a Catholic and, for a time, was – as you'd expect - the best Latin-speaking altar boy in Britain. But I lost my faith during my teenage years, becoming first a deist and then an atheist. I married a protestant woman and now have one atheist daughter and one Catholic daughter. Plus one jewish sister and one very pious Catholic sister. I also have Catholic (as well as Jewish, protestant and even JW) friends, of course, as I regard their religious beliefs as irrelevant to the question of whether they're a good and interesting person or not. But, for quite some time now, I've regarded the Catholic Church as an evil and corrupt institution. So, you won't be surprised to hear that I agreed with comments in this article on its precipitous decline in Ireland. It's truly astonishing – but totally consistent – that an immensely wealthy organisation can only come up with cheap words. And then adds insult to injury by asking its faithful to pray and fast. As if that ever did anyone any good. I guess the only other thing worth saying is that, despite the rush away from the RC church in Ireland, Mass attendance there is still higher than it is here in Spain, where the church was/is, of course, associated with Franco's appalling fascist regime. On the other hand, there's Poland . . 
  • Oh, dear. A few minutes after writing that paragraph, I read this article about the inane pronouncements of a Mexican cardinal.
© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 24.8.18


Maria said...

The Fart is something most Americans never expected in their lifetimes. Getting rid of him will be difficult. The Republicans in Congress and the Senate are complicit with him. Only after the mid-terms this November, if more Democrats are elected, might something be done about this situation. The problem is, will he and his fanatics go in peace?

By the way, I read today that Brits in Spain might not be able to receive their pensions if there's no Brexit agreement. I understand that the Union is not all it's cracked up to be, and is direly in need of change, but there is something to be said for it in terms of financial borders.

Eamon said...

"Brits in Spain might not be able to receive their pensions if there's no Brexit agreement." The situation will affect those Spaniards who receive their old age pension from Britain as well so the Spanish government had better get moving to avoid a catastrophe.

Sierra said...

Some seem to care: