Thursday, October 04, 2018

Thoughts from Portugal: 4.10.18

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
  • Something coming out of Spain to look forward to? Or is hyperloop merely hype?
  • The FT wonders here if Spain in on the edge of a new golden age. The comment I found most true in the article is that: Spain’s Europhilia can appear outdated. Madrid is caught in a time capsule professing views long abandoned by its partners.
  • The wages of sin. At least for one Spanish ex politician. I wonder who he upset.
  • I didn't know alcohol was free in some places around Spain. But possibly not for much longer.
  • The Local provides an A-Z of teaching in Spain here. BTW . . . I don't understand the 'pants' comment under 'H'. 'Trousers' in British English. At least in the North.
Matters Portuguese
  • Viseu boasts a very lovely baroque cathedral. As ever, in these places, I'm astounded by 2 things – 1. Human artistry, and 3. The amount of money extorted from both the rich and the poor to finance this. But, even as an atheist, I can feel gratitude that this was done, while disagreeing with it. It's impossible to imagine todya's public being willing to regularly donate towards, say, a massive architectural project. Vanity projects such as the City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela have to be indirectly financed via the generosity of taxation.
  • The sacristy of the cathedral contains beautiful stone and tile work, and magnificent wooden furnishings. At one end of it, there's a stone basin where the priests could/can wash their hands. In it, bars of soap lie on 2 pink plastic soap-dishes. Which seemed rather out of place to me.
  • In the corridor between the sacristy and a side altar, missing blue tiles have been replaced by any to hand. Which makes for some amusing scenes.
  • Talking of laughter . . . There's a portrait in the impressive Museo Grao Vasco next to the cathedral which has surely produced gales of this. It's so 'honest' that the female sitter's moustache is clearly evident. I wasn't surprised to later read that she's locally known as “The Bearded Lady”:-
  • Still on laughter . . . As we struggled to find street-name plaques, my companion suggested the street we were in was called 'Anuncios Prohibidos'. But she realised as quickly as I did that this mean 'Advertisements Forbidden'.
  • Finally on the theme of amusement . . . The report I clicked on re the Hyperloop thing turned out to be that of RT.com, the Russian propaganda outfit. As I scrolled down, I was met with a foto of young woman who wanted to tell me she was only 200m away from me and keen to meet me. All in Portuguese. The wonders of the internet. And tracking.
  • I have a little difficulty with the double R sound in Portuguese. It's not rolled as it is in Spanish and I'd formed the view that it was rather like the KH sound in, say, 'loch'. I asked a waiter last night and he gave me the helpful answer that “It depends on where you're from”. The receptionist in the hotel this morning said 'Empurra' on the doors was pronounced 'Empukha', as I had suspected, but someone on the internet says RR is pronounced like the H in hotel. Advice welcome . . .
Matters US
  • Read all about it! How Fart really got rich. Totally as you'd expect, really - nothing like how he says he did.
  • If you're (North) American, this sounds like something you might like to watch.
The Spanish Language
  • The Local gives us fugaz here,
© [David] Colin Davies: 4.10.18

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