Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in SpainSpain
- There's been an odd story unfolding in recent months/years, about an ex-cop used for nefarious purposes over many years by high-level people and organisations in Spain. See here and, in relation to one specific case, here.
- Lenox Napier reports here on a strange - and not terribly well-received - award down south. He refers to the Spanish custom of 'backslapping'. I suspect he's right that this is a nation-wide thing but I hadn't taken it on board and will now have to look out for it in the (numerous) local papers.
- Talking of local customs . . . I've reported before on this bizarre event, Specifically, here.
- As we continue to wait for the AVE high-speed train to Madrid, it's a little depressing to read that the journey time from Galicia to the capital has only been reduced by 2 hours in the last 20 years. Or not at all for the night train. I suspect this is because, although the trains have got better and better, the track remains what it was in the 19th century - unidirectional in many places.
- The tourist boom in Portugal has raised prices for holiday homes in Matosinhos (a little north west of Oporto) to the (very high) level of those of Sanxenxo, the 'Marbella of Galicia'. Which will be good for those who are already quite rich. I didn't know there was a beach in Matosinhos; I thought it was known merely for being close to the airport and a good place to park your car and then get on the metro. But, then, I'm not a beach person:-
- A recent (Spanish) report said that the Portuguese - a very polite people - are happy to have lots of Spanish folk visit their lovely country but are disturbed by how noisy they are. Who can blame them? In Oporto years ago, I heard just 4 Spanish diners totally dominate the quiet hum of more than 30 Portuguese in the restaurant.
- And Portuguese kids don't run around restaurants either. But the people cited in the report were too polite to say this.
- It's the summer of the slogan T-shirt. The statement item of the moment is, literally, a statement: a rhetorically inclined T-shirt — its aim perhaps to brag, perhaps to pun, perhaps to make a political, often feminist, statement, perhaps (and this is particularly zeitgeist) all three.
- I'm reminded of walking through Malasaña a few weeks ago and seeing a chap with a white T-shirt bearing the slogan: I'd like this in black. I suggested to my daughter it'd be better if there were a downwards-pointing arrow below the text. She had the decency to be amused. Even suggested I manufacture it . . .
- Dodgy health advice on Facebook is evolution’s way of thinning the herd.
- As you may already know, but it’s so important that it bears repetition, women have been warned not to try to cool down by putting ice lollies in their vaginas.
- Not for the first time, Fart this week has cited in one one of his tweets a parody site which he thinks is supportive of him.
- And not for the first time, I'm forced to ask: Can anyone be this stupid?
- That word mentira again . . . A Spanish friend last night confirmed that it can be used to mean an honest mistake. BUT she cautioned against foreigners using this word, as all depended on the context, the relationship between the parties and the tone. In fact, we'd just been arguing about whether there were fewer foreigners in the old quarter this year because, unlike me, they were on the beach. Her point was that, as I was in error out of ignorance (very rare for me . . .), it was legitimate for her, in saying I was wrong, to use the word mentira, even though she knew I wasn't being dishonest. The other thing we agreed on was that Spaniards accuse each other of mentiras far more often than Brits accuse each other of lying. But this possibly has nothing to do with the definitions of the word . .
- If the work 'break' in the sentence I cited the other day really does mean what the Brits call an 'estate car' and used to call a 'shooting-brake' - as they seem to - it's amusing to see that the Spanish have chosen the wrong homonym for this bit of Spanglish.
- From the woman who wrote the article about dodgy FB advice: If there’s one thing I’ve learnt after all these years it’s that some people can be really, really stupid.
- Pontevedra's flea market last Sunday again seemed to feature a large number of unlicensed gypsy stalls. Some of these were even off the street in which the trading is supposed to take place. I guess there'll be crackdown sometime in the future. After which things will slowly return to what they are now. IGIMSTS. Meanwhile, some fotos:-