Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Goings-on in Vigo.

Chaos and confusion at the school gates this morning! I have been back on my usual running route (which takes me past the school) in the morning since we came back to Vigo. I must admit that it was quite hard work getting back into that initial run up the San Joan do Monte hill but we humans are adaptable creatures. And now one section of my route is in the throes of some kind of road works. I think they are laying cables for something or other. The upshot is that bits of the road are restricted to narrow lanes and some are closed altogether. 

Now, I had already noted that there seem to be far more parents taking their little darlings by car to the school behind us by than ever in the past. I had even thought of getting up earlier (not a very realistic option!) to be there before the stream of cars starts to flow past me. Today there was no flow at all. Odd!

I soon discovered why this was the case. Because of one of the closed sections of road making it difficult for people who live along that stretch of one-way street to get out in their usual fashion, a few of them had decided to take unilateral action. They drove the wrong way along the road with the idea of getting out just beyond the school where it becomes two-directional again. A fairly typical Iberian decision in my experience! The problem was that the people coming in from the other end thought that this was still a one-way stretch. And so at a bend in the narrow road, two cars were facing in one direction (illegally) and about fifteen were facing in the other direction, trying to follow the rules. 

As you might expect, it was total chaos. Horns were being hooted. Tempers were fraying. Some drivers were getting out of cars and walking along to see what was going on. Others were making frantic mobile phone calls. Lots of tutting was taking place and a fair amount of shaking of heads in disgusted amazement! I have no idea what happened in the end as I just wove my way through the stationary vehicles and continued on my way. Such fun! 

Later, as I made my way into town, I heard a mournful sort of whistling, of the penny whistle variety. The same few bars were repeated over and over. Never was a whole tune completed. It was more than a little annoying. It's rather unusual to have buskers at our end of Calle Aragón but I thought briefly that someone might be practising prior to heading for the centre. And then I saw him: a chap with a bicycle, on the back of which there was a knife grinder's stone wheel. Some enterprising chap had decided that he would resurrect an old profession as a way of earning some money. Well, good for him I say! 

Meanwhile, Vigo is gearing up for Christmas. Strings of Santas are climbing up ropes to get to balconies. This is odd as traditionally it should be the Three Kings who leave the presents on the balconies! A shop that sells fireplaces and stoves and so on has Santas coming out of, or possibly going into, their stove pipes. I have seen a number of people scuttling along with Christmas wreaths (and yet more Santas of various kinds) in carrier bags, clearly intending to embellish their houses. 

In the centre a huge Christmas tree has been erected and close by is a sort of portacabin, making an appeal for people to give gifts to go on or under the tree, to be given to needy folk at Christmas itself. Jolly good! 

Outside the art gallery two bubbles have been set up with strange red Christmas trees inside and artificial snow blowers - a kind of gigantic snowstorm scene such as my grandmother used to let us shake once in a while. 

The shopping street, Príncipe, is full of huge poinsettia displays and pretend Christmas presents. 

Even the fishermen at the bottom of Gran Vía seem to have caught Christmas baubles in their fishing nets. That must have been a surprise for them! 

But the old chap who,has been living camped out in a shop doorway for the last couple of years on Calle Urzáiz seems to have disappeared. I just hope that someone has found a better place for him to live! 

There should be photos to accompany this post but I have been having problems uploading them. Photos, like jam, tomorrow!

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