Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Only in Spain!

So, what do my sister and President Obama have in common? Both of them are afraid of being trapped here because of the new ash cloud. In actual fact, it looks as though there won’t be a problem. The cloud is said to be moving on to Germany where they are busy closing airports today. But you never know; volcanoes are a bit unpredictable, after all.

My sister is here for an Eric Clapton concert in London and has taken the opportunity to visit family en route. This has lead to a rather roundabout journey: plane from Seville to Liverpool, car to Southport (to see my
other sister), train to Greenfield and bus to Delph (to see us), bus to Manchester, train to London (I made sure she and her husband got on it this morning) and finally plain from London to Seville.

They have to back home in time for the 1st of June at the latest. Otherwis
e they wouldn’t be worried about ash clouds causing delays; they’d just stay a little longer. However, her Spanish husband took early retirement last year and because of this his pension is currently paid partly by his employer (essentially the Spanish state as he was a funcionario) and partly by Social Security. As a result he has to go and sign on the dole every three months until he reaches proper retirement age, whatever that is these days. There must be an easier way of doing things!

Before they came to England, my sister investigated getting them both European Health Cards. She had no problem doing this for herself over the internet but for her Spanish hubby they had to report to the Social Security offices. Once again, the problem was that he is an early retiree. This time it meant that he could not actually have a European Health Card but a bit of paper covering him for possible health problems while out of Spain. However, he was told that he was only covered for two weeks and should/could not remain out of the country for a longe
r time. When did this kind of restriction come into force?

While I’m on the subject
of strange Spanish ways, here’s a link to a website I discovered. Since smoking restrictions came into force in Spanish bars and restaurants, there are smokers who desperately need to know which places have a separate smoking section and this website, AquíSí puedes fumar, lets you know this. Only in Spain!!

My “Spanish” sister was quite vociferously against banning all sorts of things, including bullfighting. S
he feels that people should have the choice. All well and good, but I don’t choose to have my lungs filled with cigarette smoke and I don’t suppose bulls choose to be prodded, poked and finally polished off in the bullring.

So, here are some pictures of Las Arenas,
the old bullring in Barcelona which has been converted into a shopping and leisure centre with magnificent views of the Catalan capital from the top of the building. Now, that seems like a good way to preserve and old monument without having to maintain a tradition which really has little to do with the 21st century!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't think there was any scope any more for a smoking area. I must check Pasaje and Ruas, as they are on the Ponters list.