Monday, August 27, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 27.8.18

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
  • There are conflicting reports on the attitude of Franco's relatives to the removal of his remains from the Valley of the Fallen. The doyenne of the family says she's relying on the (ex-fascist) abbot of the Benedictine monastery there to refuse to cooperate with the government. And he himself is reported to have said he'll only do so on the instructions of the king. See a Guardian article on the subject here.
  • Spanish administrations – national, regional and local – don't make it easy for entrepreneurs. The general approach is to protect existing vested interests – such as hoteliers and taxi drivers – and a standard tactic is to compel licensing by some non-objective body or other. And then impose potentially huge fines on those who infringe. Here's El PaĆ­s on the subject of a (foreign) would-be guide down in Valencia. By the way, the Spanish term for guides is cicerones.
  • As for licensing, it can go the other way. At the start of the phony construction boom in the early 2000s, the Spanish government abolished the need for estate agents(realtors) to be trained and licensed. You can imagine the - totally predictable - result, in this country of 'low ethics'.
  • Possibly irrelevant for most of us . . . On a golden hilltop facing the Mediterranean Sea on the private Andalucian estate of Sotogrande, the groundwork is being laid for seven of the most extraordinary and expensive new properties in Spain.
The EU
  • Get ready for an even more German Europe, we're advised here.
The USA
China
  • Here's a fascinating - and worrying - article on what's happening there these days and what the nation's objectives are. I don't suppose Fart has read it. Or anything like it. Or possibly anything.
The UK: Brexit
  • Richard North: Any minister with the slightest grasp of the subject, confronted with the prospect of a "no deal" Brexit closing in on us would be pressing the panic button, preparing the British people to expect major concessions to Brussels in order to avoid catastrophe. . . . Mrs May is not going to find it easy when they have to deal with Brussels. It is quite possible that they are planning to take the talks to the wire, then expecting Barnier to "cave in" and offer the UK concessions which will mitigate the worst effects of a "no deal".  But this will effectively be handing the game to Brussels which will allow only that which is in the interests of the EU and its Member States. . . . We go to our doom blinded by the zealots, and kept in ignorance by the goverment.
English
  • What Brits call (potato) crisps, Americans call (potato) chips. Which is the phrase/word used by Brits for what Americans call (French) fries. All clear enough. But yesterday I came across these lines in a book written by George Orwell in the 1930s:-
Sometimes in the evening he would produce a greasy packet of Smith's potato crisps from his pocket and, holding it out, say in his clipped style:
“Hassome chips?”
The packet was always grasped so firmly in his large hand that it was impossible to extract more than two or three chips.

Very odd. You don't expect Orwell to be confused/confusing.

Galicia and Pontevedra
  • On the subject of tour guides, there are reported to be 683 official ones here in Galicia, where we had a record 5.1m visitors in 2017. But not many unofficial ones, for obvious reasons.
  • The medieval fair (Feira Franca) takes place here next Saturday. When I first attended this in 2001 – its second year – there were about 3 stalls in one small street. This year there will be 68 stalls and 376 'licensed tables'. (Is there anything they won't licence in Spain? Oh, yes, the ubiquitous prostitution). The fiesta has expanded from one street to take over the entire Old Quarter and much of the New Quarter as well. I believe it's now even gone across the river to the city's 'fairground' and the car park of the New Theatre.
  • Another alternative to the camino de Santiago.
Finally . . .
  • I struggled for a few seconds yesterday with the Spanish word jipi. I finally figured out it was 'hippy'. Or, more accurately, 'khippy'

© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 27.8.18

1 comment:

demetria rogers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.