Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 12.5.20

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'
Life in Spain in the Time of Something Like Cholera

Observations after my first sortie into the city for 3 months:-
o O Burgo bridge is still only half open.
o There were lots of people exercising on the streets younger than the time slot (10-12) allows for this.
o Some cafés were open, though only those outside hotels or small enough to be family concerns.
o There were 'young' people on the terrace of one hotel but the waiter advised that, though they couldn't go out to walk and run at outside their time slots (franjas), they are allowed to go to a café. He might be right. But are they allowed to go to the shops at times reserved for 'seniors'?
o No large cafés - those who've laid off their staff - were open, even those with decent-sized terraces outside.
o No bars or restaurants were open, though it was early in the day for this.
o The Post Office was open but there were 15 people queuing in the street. Gave it a miss.
o Not a single officer the law was visible in 2 hours.* Which is possibly why . .
o The beggars who sit all day on shop doorsteps were doing their usual thing.

* Correction: This chap and his sidekick appeared on the hotel terrace 5 minutes before the end of the 10-12 time franja, possibly to check whether any seniores were about to breach the law:

Essentially the Great Relaxation is largely a chimera so far. Nothing like normal economic activity has been resumed. It's a great time to wander round Pontevedra's gem of an old quarter. Like on public holidays.
  • Here's María's view on Day 1 of our New Life. Day 57 of her Chronicle.
  • Talking of the franjas for exercising . . . Madrid has now said the regions can do away with these, perhaps recognising that they're not compatible with Phase 1 and could turn out to be largely unworkable or even pointless.
  • Last weekend in Madrid, the police broke up 400 house parties and 97 gatherings in parks. 
  • And they issued 3,847 fines, a 23% increase over the previous weekend. Zealous or what? 
  • Nationally - at €600 to €30,000 each - the total number of fines in Spain reached nearly a million in the 8 weeks between 14 March and the end of last week. A tidy sum for the state Treasury.
  • As expected, Easyjet cancelled the flights my sister had booked from Oporto on the 19th and 26th of May. 
Real Life in Spain 
  • Good news re the Iberian lynx.
  • There's been a second death in Galicia from the sting of an Asian hornet (vespa velutina) but this was unusual and probably the result of extreme anaphylactic shock. This creature is not to be confused with its North American 'Murder hornet' (The Asian giant hornet/Vespa Mandarina), which is much larger and certainly more life-threatening.
  • Airbnb's business naturally collapsed after lockdowns were imposed. In Barcelona, they believe/hope this will lead to a revival of 'normal' short lets and have a beneficial impact on barrios previously 'infested' with tourist apartments, to the detriment of residents.
 The USA
  • This article reviews the virus scene there, under the headline The US' coronavirus recovery is way behind Europe's. Not that you'd get that impression from listening to Fart.
  • And this is another review from The Corner, under the heading Lives for Money.
  • Another fine impression of the man, allegedly destroying '60 Minutes'
Finally . . .
  • Always make sure you put in the absolutely correct email address when buying rail or plane tickets on line. Otherwise you won't get confirmation of your reservation by email and will have problems getting this later. Especially if it's Renfe you have to deal with . . .

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