Thursday, January 09, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 9.1.20

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
                  Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
The Spanish Politics Economy
  • Here's how Spain did as regards top-line/macro 
  • GDP growth last year, compared with the other Euro zone members:.

I see the Celtic Tiger is still steaming away. In contrast . . . Germany and Italy. 

The UK number was above the EU average, at 1.4%. But was probably inflated by stocking up/'panic buying'.

Spanish Politics
  • We might have a government but Spain remains as fissiparous as ever. It'd be good if a de jure  federal state could replace the current de facto one. This would be  a major constitutional change, of course, needing cross-party agreement. So, not much chance, then. The Far Right and Far Left have taken to walking out of the parliament when the other speaks . . . Which is not exactly encouraging.
Spanish Life
  • There are some rather bizarre - faith oriented - Spanish forenames. Especially for women. I've listed some over the years and even, I think, invented - Purgatoria. Inspired by Penitencia. Which I might also have made up. But yesterday I came across Generosa, which was new to me. And Possibly more common in S America. At least these days.
  • Here's Rebekah Scott - in her book A Furnace Full of God  - describing Spain in brief: A European country with functional socialism and a spectacular cultural and architectural heritage. And a question: What's not to like? Err . . . a few small things, I guess.
  • And here's a chart showing what percentage fixed costs are of the total electricity bills here. Now even more than only a few years ago. I've been saying for years how wrong this is, for one thing because it penalises low usage houses such as mine:-

Galician Life
  • Here in the second poorest region in Spain after Extremadura, there are 23 houses for sale at more than €2m. Possibly all in Villagarcia, the urban centre of drug smuggling.
  • Galicia's economy is not doing as well as that of the country as a whole, One major reason is that the important shipbuilding industry - based in Vigo - is going the same way as that of Clydeside in Glasgow. But at least the Citroen-Peugeot car factory seems safe from reductions/closure. Plus there's now a camino that goes through the city . . . Doubtless authentic, stretching back to the time before Vigo was just a fishing village in a beautiful bay.
  • Here's a series of fotos of a Pontevedra Carnaval parade a long time ago. I'm not clear where the last 3 were taken. But I suspect the first 2 of these are taken from in front of the Peregrina church, looking back down Rúa Michelena. With the procession having come from the basilica of Santa María. As it still does:-

I can't tell if this is a foto or a sketch but I suspect the latter. It looks like the Peregrina church but the building next to it doesn't appear on old fotos and isn't there today:-

The USA and Iran
  • Just in case you're unaware of the stupendous Persian treasures being threatened by Ffart, here's most of them. I've been lucky to see most of them. Indeed, I walked around Persepolis very early one sunny morning, when there was only the ruins and me.  No Visitors' Centre or lights, etc. Can't be done now. A magical experience. But my favourite is the Sheik Lutfollah mosque in the Meidan (main square) of Esfahan. Unforgettably beautiful. If Ffart destroys it, I might well carry out the assassination I've predicted myself . . .
  • Word of the Day: Mono. Usually 'monkey' but also the equivalent of 'cold turkey'. As the Royal Academy puts it:- Sindrome de abstinencia. (Conjunto de trastornos provocado por la reducción o suspensión brusca de la dosis habitual de una sustancia de la que se tiene dependencia.
Finally . . . 
  • I also came across the (female) name Idilko yesterday. But this turned out of be of Hungarian origin. From the German Lida or Hilda('warrior') and the Medieval Latin Lidico.

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