Saturday, March 14, 2020

Thoughts from Jávea, Valencia, Spain: 14.3.20

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 
           - Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain [A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy   it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.]
Inevitably . . . .

The Coronavirus: Advice
  • I posted a Daily Telegraph - UK biased - guide last night. You can see it here. I will post the paper's updates each evening.
  • And here's a useful guide to what is fact and what is fiction.
The Coronavirus: The Valencia Region
  • Early evening yesterday, the president - probably irritated by the thousands fleeing here from the 'hotspot' of Madrid - announced that just about every public place, including the beaches, cafés, bars and restaurants, would be closed down from midnight. Possibly with tongue in cheek, he asked people not to panic. Cue panic. At 8.30, when we heard the news, and realising we had little food in the flat, we joined the herd and set off for the nearest supermarket. To find about 75% of its shelves had been cleared in a couple of hours.
  • Our food reserves for the next few days, therefore, constitute a rather bizarre collection - thanks, in part, to my sister's belief that 'essentials' include ice creams, custard tarts, Mars bars, nail varnish remover, expensive toothpaste and a bottle of brandy with her name - Terry - on it. We're having a lorra, lorra laffs, as they say back home in Liverpool.
  • Our tentative plans for the next few days have moved back and forth between staying here for at least another week or driving back to Pontevedra, only stopping for petrol. Having finally decided yesterday lunchtime to stay here, we then had to consider last night whether travel restrictions would prevent us driving to Galicia after a week and, therefore, whether we should revert to a decision to depart Jávea this weekend. As of the time of writing, we're sticking with a decision to complete our 2 week self-quarantining here - because we were in Madrid a week ago - and then to see what the options are in a week's time. When, of course, we might or might not have any choice in the matter. We could be in for a rather costly 3 month 'holiday'.
  • One is forced to ask whether the draconian measures being taken in Madrid, Cataluña and Valencia are truly justified by hard-headed logic. My own view is that there is one certainty and one possibility. The certainty is that, aware of the imminent collapse of public healthcare services, the central and regional governments are desperate to flatten the curve. More for political reasons than because it will materially save lives in the longer run. The possibility is that the authorities have taken stock of the warning of the experts that a far more serious virus will be coming down the line at some point and are, therefore, using this (comparatively mild) Covid-19 emergency as a dry run for that - testing what they should/can do and how the public will react. And they have certainly learnt, for example, that begging Madrid university students not to go out on Thursday night is a waste of breath. Ditto asking Madrid residents not to flee NW and SE to the coasts. Hence the sudden drastic announcements of closures. With more and wider travel restrictions expected this weekend.
 Spanish Politics
  • There's only one News item. Guess what it is.
The Spanish Economy
  • Tanking
Spanish Life  
  • As expected, airport employees - faced with the prospect of empty airports - have called off what would be a pointless set of Ester period strikes.
  • The country is naturally worried but is behind Italy and Spain in the progression of the virus. Measures taken are not yet as drastic. Maybe we'll head there after our quarantine period . . . 
  • Headline: Trump’s Coronavirus Speech Sparks ‘Total Chaos’ in His Own Administration. 
  • Text: It is often said that a crisis reveals a leader’s character. Sadly for all of us, that is certainly true with the coronavirus pandemic and what it has revealed or confirmed about the character or lack thereof of President Donald Trump. Trump’s handling of this, the first major international crisis of his presidency not of his making, has been a fiasco. The verdict is in. He has failed to rise to the challenge. And he stands exposed before a country contemplating his re-election. At a time when public buffets are being shut down across America, this crisis has put on display a wholly unappetizing 5-week-old smorgasbord of the very worst, most odious, most dangerous and weirdest of Trump. I guess there'll be some who'll argue with that. Convincingly??
  • But, hey, the man has called for a National Day of Prayer. . . Doubtless God will respond and favour the Americans, letting them off the virus hook. Meanwhile, I'm reminded of Native Indians doing a rain dance.
The Way of the World
  • Talking of religionists . . . 16 fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls bought by a Christian museum for a fortune have all been declared forgeries. Oh, dear. Doubtless the Devil's work. He was in the detail of the professional analysis.
  • Words and Phrases of the day:-
  1. Los webs cam: The Spanish plural of El web cam.
  2. Sesgo: Bias, slant.
  3. A falta de pan buenas son las tortas. Used when you have no real choice. Beggars can't be choosers. Heard on a newscast re the closure of Madrid's bars, etc. 
  4. No caerá esa breva: No such luck; We should be so bloody lucky.
Finally . . .  
  • Ironically, the weather in Pontevedra next week is forecast to be better than here in Jávea. That said, only a fool pretends to know a week in advance exactly what the weather will be like on the Atlantic coast.
And now, just for a (slightly hysterical*) laugh . . . .

  • Galicia Living is a new property development outfit here in Southern Galicia (As Rías Baixas), owned by a friend of mine. So, if you're looking for a house here, get in touch with them. And, if you're particularly interested in the lovely Miño area down on the border with Portugal, let me know on and I'll send you my write-up on it.
Finally, finally . . .
  • A real joke**: If Tom hanks doesn't survive this corona virus after beating aids, surviving the war and saving private Ryan, being deserted on an island, getting stranded on the moon, and taking on all them Somali pirates . . . then we're all fucked.

*   My apologies to those who think this word is sexist. Dark days merit black humour.
** Possibly


Perry said...

* I wasn't sure where you we going with this. From Wikipedia. 'The' is the only definite article in English & is the most commonly used word in the English language, accounting for seven percent of all words. It is derived from gendered articles in Old English which combined in Middle English and now has a single form used with pronouns of either genders. The word can be used with both singular and plural nouns and with a noun that starts with any letter. This is different from many other languages, which have different forms of the definite article for different genders or numbers, e.g. German, die & der, but not in Dutch nor Frisian. De is the definite article, AFAIK.

Therefore "the hysterics" should be considered as neuter & not sexist, being applied to either binary gender. OTOH, from Google translator, it's given as feminine singular "la histérica" in Spanish & feminine plural "les hystériques" in French????

Tom Hanks also landed on the Hudson.

Colin Davies said...

I believe the antagonism to the word stems from the original belief that is was caused by something in the womb and therefore only applicable to women. Plus the fact it's not an adjective commonly applied to men.

Terry said...

Today's lesson for Colin.

Never drop a "blonde" off at a supermarket and tell her to "just buy whatever is on the shelves".

Colin Davies said...

I meant by way of food, of course, Not bloody cosmetic products and candies . . . But lesson learnt.