Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Downright Silly! 2 - The Bad!!

Well, I've made a list of the good things now for some negative points.

The Bad.
  • The rather gruesome reports of road accidents, often with quite graphic pictures, telling us how many people died or were injured in our locality every weekend. Many of these report that the victims were not wearing seatbelts, which leads me to another point.
  • The continuing lackadaisical attitude to wearing seatbelts. Apparently it has long been a requirement that the driver wears a seatbelt but as this was originally only out of town many still ignore it. Most frontseat passengers just seem to "forget" that the seatbelt is there. When I was the middle rearseat passenger in a car recently and could not find the seatbelt (it was trapped down the back of the seat) one of my fellow passengers reassured me: "No te preocupes. Si pasa algo, te agarramos fuerte." (Don't worry. If anything happens, we'll hang on to you.)
  • The genuine anger expressed by a member of my reading group about public information adverts on the TV, reminding people of the imprtance of wearing seatbelts. She felt that it was wrong to make people who have had a member of their family hurt or killed in a road accident feel guilty because they had not prevented it by making them wear a seatbelt! No comment!
  • The lack of child-safety in many cars: clunk-click every trip is not an automatic reaction. In one of the local free newspapers in January I read that O Consello de Ourense is offering a service to low-income families with small children. They can borrow child safety seats for use in their cars. I applaud the intitiative but not the need for it.
  • The smoking. Aqui se permite fumar!!! It is still almost impossible to find a smoke free bar. When la ley del tabaco was introduced a few years ago, Spanish friends of mine in the UK were delighted that Spain was ahead of many other countries in banning smoking. How wrong they were. In small bars the owner decides, usually to allow it. That year we found one tapas bar in Salamanca, two bars in Madrid and I discussed the matter with the owner of the corner bar near my sister's home in the south of Spain. He had initially banned smoking but had changed his mind when his bar remained empty for several days on the run. His regulars went elsewhere. There's the problem!
  • The smoking. Despite the ley de tobaco requirement that restaurants have a separate area for smokers, most just ignore it and put ashtrays on all the tables anyway.
  • The smoking. I keep having to dodge round people in the street to get ahead of the (far too numerous) smokers!
  • Less serious this one! The fact that, despite all the fine buildings in the city, the Vigo skyline is dominated by a blue-green monstrosity.
  • The fact that, despite a number of perfectly charming smaller squares, Vigo does not have a traditional plaza mayor.
  • Oh, and the weather! When it rains, it just comes down in bucketfuls, usually accompanied by some really good wind. No wonder you find broken brollies in the bins!

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