Friday, September 21, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 21.8.18

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
  • Trigger warning - A rant, reflecting the fact that yesterday was one of those days:-
  1. Spain Corporate 1: In Portugal on Wednesday, I bought a SIM card for my phone and then somehow lost the Spanish one. No problem, I thought, I'll just get a new one from the Movistar shop in town. Which I did yesterday at the cost of €11. "The phone will be registered in about 15 minutes or so", I was told. But it wasn't. Not in 15 minutes, nor in 15 hours. All in all, I wasted between 2 and 3 hours of my time yesterday trying to solve this problem, including pointless searches on the internet and a second visit to the shop in the evening. Where I was - eventually - told there was a fault on the Telefónica line which prevented registration. A sort of apology was given as a I left but it didn't assuage me much, as I'd really needed the phone to be in touch with the Bosch garage where I'd earlier lodged my car for a service.
  2. Spanish Corporate 2: In his book It is not What it is: The Real (S)pains of Europe, Dutchman Vincent Warner asks why Spanish companies have email addresses, as they frequently don't respond to messages sent to them. Which is certainly my experience too. Anyway, last night I was asking myself why the Bosch garage had a phone number, as they didn't answer it the 3 or 4 times I called in the evening - after I'd been unable to receive an important call from them during the entire day. But, with my phone now on this morning, I can see that they did at least try to contact me several times during the day. But, of course, couldn't get through to me.
  3. Spain Corporate 3: The (Catalan) company which supplies both my gas and electricity - not a great deal of real competition - was called gasNatural fenosa(sic) but is henceforth to be known as Naturgy. In a letter received with my latest bill, I'm advised that they're doing this To offer a better service and To make your life easier. All just by changing their name to one that is prepared for a modern and digital future. I guess the alternatives of actually providing a decent, cheaper service and making their bills comprehensible were rejected as likely to cost them some profit.
  4. Spain Corporate 4: But at least I'm not looking to buy an HP computer from the Corte Inglés, Spain's best-known (only?) department store . . .
  • 5. Time in Spain: I don't recall Werner making this point in his book, but suspect he did. The concept of time here in Spain is different from elsewhere. For one thing, it has to allow for endless chatting and the completion of a vast amount of paperwork that would be considered intolerable in Anglo cultures, and perhaps others. I thought of this again last night, while waiting 45 minutes to be attended to in the Movistar shop and then during the additional 15-20 minutes while the woman dealing with - but not solving - my problem pounded on the keyboard, took a copy of my ID and then called someone in Telefónica who eventually answered the phone. During all of this 60 plus minutes, one of her colleagues was dealing with a young couple and one of their parents over, I guess, a new contract. Both the employee and the customers gave the impression of regarding this as a family outing. Actually, it was longer than I've indicated, as they were already being attended to when I arrived. None of the group showed the slightest irritation at things taking so long.
Matters US
  • Someone has asked whether Fart's suggestion that Spain build a wall across the Sahara isn't the daftest thing to come out of his mouth. Blimey! That's quite a contest. Of course, the questioner is only assuming the question came out of his mouth.
Matters Galician/Pontevedran
  • English academías sprout regularly in the city, reflecting the demand for classes. This poses a challenge for those charged with finding an attractive name for a start-up. This one is quite good, but opinions might differ:-
  • For my evening trip to the Movistar shop, I got a lift down to town from one of my neighbours. As we got halfway down the hill, she noticed a police patrol ahead of us and exclaimed. Colin, put your belt on? I don't want to be fined. To which I replied: Mine is on. How about putting yours on? Yes, this is the same woman who drove down to town without a belt on and while talking on her mobile phone, with me and her 3 kids in the car.
That's enough moaning for today . . . 

© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 21.9.18


Eamon said...

"Trigger warning - A rant," seems like a normal day of events in Spain to me.

Colin Davies said...

Indeed, Eamon. But, as you know, I try to avoid upsetting Spanish readers . . . .

Perry said...

Theresa May; dressed to depress.

A scathing, Richard North evisceration of May's piss poor performance in Salzburg.