Late yesterday afternoon I stood for about 15 minutes in a queue to buy a ticket to Pontevedra from Vigo. The same happened the other day when I was returning from the Islas Cíes with my daughter and her children. We began to wonder if everyone was obliged to tell their life story before the staff would sell them any tickets, the process was so slow. Yesterday, the lady behind me commented that the chap on the middle ticket office was always very slow. He should retire, she told me. There are all those young people out of work and this old chap can't do the job properly. I must say I tended to agree with her. On one occasion last year I asked him for two singles and he sold me one return!!!
Mind you, I am not sure that the lady who served me yesterday was any better. While she was laboriously putting in the number of my "tarjeta dorada", the ticket that gets me a discount for being over 60, into the computer, someone came up and said she had given him the wrong tickets. He was in a panic as he already had his cases on the train. It was only when he had looked for the seat numbers that he realised the mistake. At the Pontevedra station, the ticket clerk did not even enter my "tarjeta dorada" number into the computer. So why the hassle at the Vigo end?
All this because I had accompanied my daughter and family to Vigo from Ponters so that I could make sure they had no problems getting onto the bus to Oporto airport. All went well. I saw them off and then walked back to our Vigo flat to drop off all the beach mats, buckets and spades, water pistols and other such equipment that the kids have been using during their stay. Everyone has had a good time although the little fellow had one tearful evening when he saw so many friendly little dogs along our route into town that he became totally nostalgic for his own friendly little dog! Who knew that a cheeky ten year old could be such a sentimental softy?
After I had dropped off the beach stuff, I headed down to the station to go back to Ponters where Phil is still playing chess. Hence the need to buy a ticket for the train. The queue was enormous - hence the long wait - but the ticket machines seemed only to accept payment by card and I had no cards with me!
As I walked down to the station, thinking about this and that, I almost jumped out of my skin when someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was " Soy Muy Pobre", the local supermarket beggar. She was a little out of breath, probably having spotted me and run to catch me up. The usual story of how poor she is (Soy muy pobre, señora) followed her expressions of delights at seeing me again. I gave her a few coins to send her on her way. I am aware that this almost certainly encourages her to chase after me again but she seems harmless enough.
This must be a week for reunions with beggars. On Wednesday, as I walked along Urzáiz in Vigo with the family, I spotted a familiar figure in his old spot near the car park exit. It was " Nadie Da". This beggar always used to be in that spot, on his knees, eyes downcast, hands outstretched. I gave him his name in the run-up to Christmas one year when his chant went on and on about it being Christmastime and nobody giving any money - "nadie da".
For the last two years, at least, I have not seen him but on Wednesday I was there in the late morning, an unusual time for me to be about and about in the centre of Vigo, and so was he. Maybe that is his time for that particular begging pitch. I did not give him anything. He was no longer on his knees but sitting in the ground, still telling us that nobody gives. Perhaps his knees are worn out.