Sunday, 31 August 2014

Budget options!

As I travelled on the bus towards Samil yesterday, at the further end of Travesía de Vigo I spotted a hairdressers with the same name as the one I usually go to here in Vigo. I know this is a chain. They have salons all over the city. This particular one was slightly different. 

Usually the salons portray themselves as being quite smart, perhaps even a little upmarket. This despite the fact that it costs me less than half what it costs in Manchester to have my hair done. And they are clearly cost-conscious. for example, when the stylist asked if I wanted the regular shampoo and conditioner treatment or one with a fancy name, she took pains to point out that the fancily-named one, which she would recommend, would cost me €2 more. A whole €2!!! I did a rapid calculation and decided that my budget could run to that. 

Besides I was curious to see what this fancy-named treatment would consist of. In the event, the shampoo and conditioner bit was much the same as usual. I can't imagine how you could make that very different. However, after that the stylist combed some gunk (which didn't look radically different from conditioner even though she called it a mask) through my hair and then put me under a kind of hood which blew steam all around my head. All this is the name of glossy hair! 

Anyway, back to the one I spotted on Travesía de Vigo. It was obviously the same chain as it had the identical logo. But the main salon sign was bright orange and it had a kind of luggage label image printed on, which said LOW COST!! I have noticed before now that some budget places use bright orange on their signs and notices. Could this be in flattering imitation of a certain budget airline? Hmmm, I wonder!! 

Talking of budget airlines, we have just printed our boarding cards for our flight to the UK at the end of the week. It offered "options" to call up the reservation: passport number or reservation number. Passport numbers (correctly entered this time) were more easily available so we went for that option. Whereupon they told us we had not completed all the obligatory fields. They needed the reservation number as well. So we had to go back into email to find it. Now, option means choice. Or at least, it always used to. "Options" shouldn't mean a list of stuff you have to do. In the end though, job done, boarding cards printed! 

Phil gets regular information from various sites regarding prices of flights. Over the last few days he has been getting updates on the price of the flight we decided not to opt for next Sunday on the grounds that it was already more expensive than we like to pay. It crept up to £170 and then, the other day, it flagged up £200+. 

That is no longer BUDGET! 

Budget, however, is what is offered by a small fruit shop I popped into on Avenida Castrelos yesterday on my way home from Samil I bought two oranges, half a dozen plums and half a dozen strange flat nectarines, like Paraguayans but in the nectarine family, all for the grand total of €1.30. Less than the fancy treatment for my hair! 

Yesterday I commented that the chess players might have a hot and sticky journey to Rianxo, a carful of full grown men. In the event, the ride was probably the best part. The venue was a sports hall, never the coolest of places on a sunny day, without air conditioning. There were several junior competitions going on in the same hall, starting and finishing at different times. Then there was the simple volume of entry for Phil's event, bigger than anticipated. Net result: a late and disorganised start to the noisiest and hottest tournament he says he has ever played in. And he didn't win even the veteran's prize. One of their number did return with a prize though. So all was not lost! 

When I read the newspapers online I occasionally glance at the collections of photos they have available on different themes. In La Voz de Galicia the other day they had an album of bridges of Galicia, bridges connecting Galicia to other parts of the Iberian Peninsula, such as the old railways bridge that crosses the Miño at Tui, and bridges that cross the various rías. 

One of those featured was the Rande bridge, which we see from our window. And a very fine view it is, I must say. From the album I learnt that the bridge is 1558 metres long. When it was opened in 1981 it was the longest bridge of its kind in the world (maybe it still is) and is the longest bridge in Spain. There you go. Always something new to learn. 

I was amused by the picture selected to show a bridge connecting Galicia to Asturias, the Puente de los Santos which crosses the ría de Ribadeo. A fine bridge but the photo was obviously taken on the occasion of a road accident as there is a lorry tipped over on the bridge. Love it! 

You have to admire the style! Perhaps this is budget photojournalism.

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