Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Downright Silly! 3 - The Downright Silly!!!

We've had the good and the bad; now for stage three.

The downright silly.
  • The people who wait patiently for the green man to appear at the pedestrian crossing, even when there is obviously ABSOLUTELY NO TRAFFIC, usually on a Sunday!
  • Spanish parking! Every city in every country nowadays has parking problems but it's not in every country that you find cars parked on pedestrian crossing, on the corners of streets, at right-angles to the end of a street and, even in marked parking bays, bumper to bumper so tightly packed that I find it hard to imagine how they get in and out. Double parking is standard practice but I thought that the triple-file parking next to this pedestrian crossing took the biscuit!
  • The difficulty that I had in finding fresh herbs when we first arrived here. I asked around everywhere to now avail. I asked myself what Spanish cooks do when they want to prepare a dish with a few herbs. The answer, of course, is that many traditional Spanish cooks, and perhaps even more so in the case of Gallego cooks, feel that good ingredients do not need to be "disguised" with herbs!! Since mid-January I have found a source in El Corte Ingles. Now, was it a case of "new-to-me supermarket" syndrome, the effect which prevents you finding what you need in an unfamiliar environment? Or were they genuinely not there until recently?
  • The continuing difficulty in finding houmous or, indeed, other items such as sun-dried tomatoes. Sometimes I miss Mr Sainsbury's deli counter!
  • Using a hedge as a table. In the Castro Park a group of old gentlemen regularly meet and play cards on fine days - all standing up and using the hedge as their card table. At least the old ladies who also play cards in the sunshine take folding chairs and use a picnic table!
Spain is a country of tremendous contrasts. For forty years the country was governed by a dictator. During the dictatorship, a Spanish friend told me: "We are like children; we need a strict father". More recently, another friend explains the contrasts in this way: in the last twenty five years Spain has gone through changes that have taken other countries at least twice that long. On the one hand the government has allowed gay marriage and on the other, according to a friend of mine, there are people who believe that Zapatero himself must be gay because he let the law go through parliament.

Maybe this is why we find so many people determinedly smoking even though they know it is bad for them, certainly so many women; at one time it was just not done for woment to smoke in public. Maybe this explains why some of the notices announcing that smoking is allowed in bars are SO BIG. Maybe this explains why they wait passively for the green man. One way or another, they insist on doing things in their own way.

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