Friday, 17 July 2015

Making connections.

Last Saturday, on the dot of midnight our mobile internet gadget ran out of credit. Just as poor Cinderella's fine frock turned into rags as the clock chimed twelve, so our dongle turned into a useless bit of plastic. 

So on Monday we went along to the Vodafone shop to see what splendid offers they had for us. This being summertime they had a special summer offer for 1.5 giga for €15 with a three month period to use it in. Not enough to download films and music but enough to keep us going for a while checking our email and such. The shop didn't have the correct pack for the offer so we sat around while a helpful young man spent three quarters of an hour on the phone getting a mobile phone sim converted into a data only sim and then getting the right amount of credit on it. It seemed to work. Sorted!

At some point on Tuesday night we found that our internet connection was dropping after just a couple of minutes. Not sorted after all. So on Wednesday, after a pleasant lunch with friends, we went back to the shop, armed with the dongle, the relevant bits of information and the computer. A very helpful young lady called Ana had a go at sorting it for us. The conversion from mobile phone sim to data only sim had not been done correctly. That should have been easy to sort out. Then it transpired that the sim now had no credit. We needed to pay another €15 to get our data allowance. It's amazing what a bit of indignation can do for your Spanish. Phil was suddenly all indignation, quiet, calm indignation but indignation none the less. And in beautiful Spanish. 

So the very helpful Ana got back on the phone and spent a good hour going round in circles, explaining the problem, being passed on to someone else, explaining again, arguing our cause in fact. At one point she thought she had it sorted. Verbally the central organisation had guaranteed that all was well but she wanted to wait a few minutes and then request further confirmation. Just as well she did, for the cycle began again! Eventually she achieved the near impossible and got us the €15 credit, guaranteed data only!!!! What a heroine? 

Earlier, while we waited for the shop to open (we had 4.30 in mind but the notice in the door said 5.00) I found myself being perhaps a little rude to a novel kind of beggar. A young man with a clipboard saw us standing in the street and sauntered over, asking for a few minutes of our time. He commented on our apparent admiration of the clothes in the posh frock shop. I put him wise and told him we were waiting for Vodafone to open. 

Then he went into his spiel. Would I like to give him a euro for the sheet of paper on his clipboard? Well, no, not really, but what was it? Something poetic! Something interesting! Okay, what was it for? To inform, to educate, to help me understand life and death! It seemed to be a photocopy of a handwritten sheet and in the absence of further explanation I was not prepared to hand over even a small amount of money. Did I not want to read it? No! Well, did I not want to give him a euro to find out what it was all about? No! That, I am afraid, was all I said. Harrumphing about Vodafone, he walked away. 

I was not really rude but I suppose I was abrupt. Had he explained what it was all about without all the nonsense about reading a life-enhancing piece of paper, I might have given him some more attention, time and even money. It is entirely possible that he was not a beggar but working for some organisation, I suppose. But I was not in the mood for airy fairy nonsense and gave him short shrift! 

Something rather different: at the barber's shop the other day, the barber showed me some old photos of Vigo. Very interesting they were too. I love old photos of places I know. One of the photos showed the Castro without trees. All you could see was a huge rocky outcropping with a fortress on the top. Of course, when the fortification was an actual military establishment they would not want trees around it. They would require a clear line of sight for firing their cannons and no chance of anyone sneaking up on them through the trees and underbrush. 

So when, I wonder, were the trees planted. For now they look as though they have always been there. The Castro Park is one of the green lungs of the city. At some point the decision must have been taken to plant trees and flowers, to make pathways up to the top and to make the fortification into a park: to parkalise it! 

Does such a word exist? Probably not. However, up at the top of the Castro there is a notice about the "musealisation" of the Roman and pre-Roman settlement remains up there. I have my doubts about the Spanish verb "musealizar" and even more serious doubts about the cavalier translations of that into the English(?) "musealise". So I feel justified in creating the verb "to parkalise".

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