Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 24.6.20

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
  • What has changed? It's said that Japan is the noisiest country in the world, with Spain only in 2nd place. Having been to Japan thrice, I beg to differ. Perhaps it's a question of machines rather than  people, as there's no doubt in my mind that Spain takes the biscuit in this regard. Here's my earliest note on the subject, from mid 2000: Spain is a noisy place. Bars almost invariably have a TV blaring in at least one corner. People talk loudly and simultaneously. Sometimes it is hard to believe that anyone is a group is listening to anyone else. A single table of four Spaniards can easily make more noise than a whole restaurant full of Portuguese. One wonders at this stark difference between neighbours. Even on a quiet night in a small bar the music will be at a level that forces one to shout at the only other person there. No-one seems to notice that this is going on, which gives a surreal quality to the evening. The verdict? Nothing has changed; Spain remains in first position. The best place in the world to listen to - or at least overhear - private conversations in public places.
  • The virus has affected a lot of businesses, of course, and surely accounts for delays in deliveries of magazines and parcels from Correos, for example. But does it explain why, more than 3 weeks, after applying, I still haven't got 02 as my telecoms provider? Or is this because O2 is a subsidiary of the more-expensive-for-the-same-service Movistar? So it's in the latter's financial interest to stretch things out?
  • This (pretty universal) cynical (Spanish) attitude was reflected in (British) comments to a Guardian article on the latest desecration of a religious painting. One person suggested the 'renovated' Murillo was actually a copy, with the original having been sold by the (alleged) restorer for a fortune. Which seemed credible until someone else pointed put that the original is, in fact, in the Prado. So  . . .This poor restoration happened on a copy of that painting. Or the copy was sold as the original to some credulous fool and a new (crap) copy made.
  • Another 3 refranes:-
- Eat, drink and me merry for tomorrow we die: A beber y a tragar, Que el mundo se va a acabar.
- Every dog has his day: A todos les llega su momento de gloria.
- Every law has a loophole: Quien hace la ley hace la trampa.

  • The re-election of President Trump would be a “danger to the republic” and would have “grave consequences”, Mr Bolton has said. As if we needed to be told.
  • Someone else has opined: There's never been a president like Donald Trump. And there'll never be another one. Unless, of course, the mystifying American electorate keep him in power in November.  
Finally . . . A relatively new (but 'truly authentic) camino has brought income to a tiny village below the monastery of Oia, on our coast between La Guardia - at the mouth of the MiƱo - and Bayona. Where, incidentally, Columbus made footfall on his return from 'India'. It's a lovely place but this wouldn't be Galicia if there weren't nearby examples of the region's (in)famous feismo. Or 'ugliness':-

* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.

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