When you look back to the times when you spent an evening having a few drinks with friends and then had to wash your hair because it smelt of cigarette smoke, not to mention how the smell got into all your clothes as well, it makes you wonder how it took them so long to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. And then you stop and reflect and realise that it still hasn't really been sorted? Much of the delight of sitting on the terrace of a bar or even eating outside has largely disappeared because that is where ALL the smokers now congregate. And you find yourself checking which direction the wind is blowing before you finally choose a table outdoors.
I have been moved to rant about the smokers because of our experience the other day, when it rained, and we popped into one of our local bars with wifi to check our mail and other such stuff. The bar in question, like many hereabouts, has a kind of enclosed terrace separate from the main bar, where the tobacco addicts go when they don't want to be actually out in the street. You have to take a deep breath and rush through there to the inner, smoke-free area. This is the equivalent of the pubs in the UK where the smokers congregate around the main door, creating a cloud through which you have to pass.
Anyway, on that particular rainy day, probably because the temperature had dropped from 27 to a mere 21 degrees, the outer door to the smokers's area was closed. Presumably the smokers were feeling a little chilly in the draught from the open door and had closed it. This would have been fine but for the fact that the inner door, intended to keep the inner area smoke free, was not just occasionally left open but was actually wedged open! Where was the logic in that? Needless to say, we did not stay too long!
It was an example of a very Spanish thing, a kind of nod towards the letter of the law - after all, they did have a designated smoking area - while kind of thumbing their nose at the real intention of such a law.
Here's another example. I stood the other day at a pedestrian crossing, waiting with a fairly large group of people for the lights to change. Suddenly I became aware of a large motorcycle that had stopped on the crossing, even though the lights had not changed. Finally it dawned on us all that the motorcyclist was waiting for us to move out of his way so that he could get onto the pavement and ride his motorbike a hundred yards or so along the pavement to where he wanted to park it. Now, I am pretty sure it is is against the law to ride a motorbike on the pavement but motorcyclists appear to believe they are not actually riding on the pavement if they are intending to park, even if it's quite some distance up the road. (The motorcycling equivalent of a cardriver parking in an illegal spot but turning on his hazard lights, thus indicating "I am not really here".) A chap standing next to me went into an extended rant about never having known a place like Vigo for motorcyclists who ride on the pavement, a rant which went on as the lights changed and we all crossed the road. He was still chuntering as he continued up the street!
As regards parking, well, I could go on and on, rather like the crossing man, about parking on corners, about double parking, which I saw a police van do this morning so the driver could stop and greet a friend, about quite legal parking right next to pedestrian crossings obscuring everyone's view of the road, about the marked parking places that extend into road junctions and many more. Probably the best I have seen recently was a large van parked with two of his wheels on the pavement halfway round a roundabout! As if roundabouts in Spain were not complicated enough!
These are just a few oddities noticed in the last week!