Friday, 4 December 2015

A few language things!

Yesterday we travelled on the slow train to Pontevedra, a tiny little train that only went as far as Pontevedra. At any rate it felt like a slow train, quietly chugging along, sometimes giving the impression that we could have walked faster. However, it took no longer to get there than the usual Regional train between Vigo and A Coruña. Of course it took twice as long as the faster train running from Vigo Urzáiz station but the times of the faster trains were not so convenient for us. 

Walking up from Pontevedra station I spotted a florist that called itself "Mouguet", obviously intended to be the French for "lily of the valley" since it had a picture of that flower alongside its name. Unfortunately the correct French should be "Muguet". Clearly the Spanish are no better at French names than they are at English ones. No better than pretentious English florists who give their shops French names either! 

We met our friend Colin for Lunch at the Meigas Fora restaurant, where we did not have "gambas con erizos", "prawns with sea urchins", mistranslated on the menu as "prawns with hedgehogs". I have been told that gipsies eat, or used to eat, hedgehogs, rolling them in mud and baking them so that when you broke the baked mud shell the spines came off and the meat could be eaten. I don't think they ate them with prawns though and besides that was not what the menu intended to convey. Fortunately, Colin was already proofreading their translation for them and putting things right. 

We did have "arroz con guisantes", correctly translated as the most unappetising-sounding "rice with peas". The waitress told us it got its name from a Galician song, "arroz con chícharos". She even sang a little bit of it for us. It 's actually quite a nice dish with red cabbage, done in a sort of omelette and accompanied by rice cakes and pureed peas. It's nothing at all like the recipe they print on line but there you go. 

On the language front, later I read in a local paper about some car parks being opened in Vigo. The content was unimportant. What struck me was the article talked about "un parquin", not "un parking", which is what the Spanish have called a car park for years and years. Obviously it has finally been given the Spanish treatment. It even has a correctly formed plural: "los párquines". Progress! 

Today the weather had been was positively balmy! So we walked out towards A Guía and strolled around the coastal path, paid for by EU money and opened in 2010. The views were rather fine. 


On our way back we stopped for refreshments at the Café Crem', the cafe next to Teis market. The girl who served us asked me at one point , "Are you England?" "Yes," I told her, "we are English." She went on, "I am study England at the ... er ... um .. Escuela de Idiomas." The official language school in Vigo. She's in her second year. Needs a bit of practice but I congratulated her on her progress so far. 

If she works hard she can progress to mistranslating the cafe's menu! 

Here's a picture of Etna in Sicily erupting the other day. I've seen it erupting but never quite so spectacularly as this: brief but bright apparently and with a huge ash cloud. I include that picture just because it impressed me. 

And here's a picture of tonight's sunset. Pretty spectacular too!

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