Sunday, September 28, 2008

 

The Feeling and tailgating!

I was pleased to see that my “current” favourite band, The Feeling, are appearing on a TV advertising campaign for a major car manufacturer with their Current Spanish and previously “bombed” last UK single.

Also pleasing are of course the scantily clad (or completely “clad-less”) females who appear in Spanish advertisements for anything from shampoo to cosmetic surgery. The filming tends to be done from the front and not the rear!!!! This is of course the advantage of being a culture that has not had its freedoms taken away by minority group lobbying – as is the case in the UK.

Tailgaiting in Galicia

I touched briefly on double parking last time, so today I will cover the one aspect of Galician driving that really does give me, and anyone else with common sense, a big problem. Namely, tailgating.

This practice is not only common, but epidemic in scale in Galicia and tailgating (if I am spelling it properly) has a whole new meaning in northern Spain.

Firstly, tailgating does not mean hanging 8 to 10 feet behind the car in front of you at 30mph, but rather less than 18 inches at 100km/p/h. Yes, that is no exaggeration.

To make matters even more incomprehensible, this is not done because the driver behind you is irritated, in a rush, or wanting to overtake you, but simply because they do not recognise the problem and danger in this tail gating practice. When given the chance to overtake you, most will decline and continue to polish your rear bumper!

Last year the Spanish government introduced a similar driving penalty points system to that of the UK and many other nations and heavily promoted the punishment for tailgating - which can lead to maximum point addition to a licence.

In the rest of Spain this caused a dramatic decrease in the tailgating habit, but in Galicia it had little statistical effect – very worrying.

Next time motorway driving and how, generally, the Galician are way better than the idiots in the UK!

Friday, September 26, 2008

 

Double parking in Galicia

Although hardly ever seen in the UK, USA and elsewhere, the concept of double parking – and that means leaving and locking your car for several minutes whilst going somewhere – is alive and well in Galicia.

On many occasions it beggars belief as car after car lines up and traps those “legally” parked in their legitimate spaces. This is often compounded by parking on zebra crossings, disabled spaces and, of course, in front of drives and entry ramps to apartment car parks.

So what is the typical Galician’s attitude to this? Well it is pretty consistent.

If you are the perpetrator of this act, then you clearly have no problem with it. But equally those who find themselves blocked in (and forced to wait for the driver of an illegally parked vehicle) by this act, seem only slightly irritated.

It is also amazing to see that the driver causing the problem is frequently doing little other than talking to someone whilst the “blocked in” driver is visibly waiting within his or her view. Naturally, this does not prompt any action, or indeed an apology when the trapped car is finally released.

As for police action, this is rarely seen! The local police simply ignore double parked cars. I guess that issuing a ticket would cause paperwork and possibly upset a friend who knows the person behind the double parking, so it just goes by unnoticed.

Obviously this has to go down as a low level of civil disobedience, but ultimately it does no real harm, causes only minor disruption and frankly no one gives a wotsit about it. A guess that one of the great traits of the Galicians is that they can always see that, in the greater scheme of thing, something like double parking simply does not register on the scale.

Have I double parked whilst in Galicia? You bet I have.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

 

Cheap Galician wine

Some weeks ago Colin Davies responded to a question along the lines of getting good local Galician wine for under 2 euros.

As I recall, Colin was fairly damming of wines in this price range. I would however differ very strongly.



I am certainly no wine expert, but we tend to drink one of two different Ribeiros, both available in supermarkets and, with our unsophisticated pallets, both pretty dammed good.

The Ribeiros in question are: Sonal and Rey Lafuente.

They are priced at 1.89 and 1.79 euros (when I last checked) and, again bearing in mind my “cheap” tastes, the cheaper option is the slightly better of the two.

We tend to have these wines as regular “meal” wines and they go well with anything from pimientos de Padron, to king prawns fried with garlic, pesto and tagliatelle pasta dishes etc.

They are light, fruity and better than most wines that you would get in a bar at 2 euros or more per glass. Both wines have the necessary guarantee labels on the bottle back and I have included a photo for easy identification.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

 

Future blogs about Galicia


I am back in the UK after some time in Galicia and I have a number of thoughts regarding things to write about for this blog - all prompted by recent experiences and (if I am honest) some similar subjects covered by Colin Davies in his blog over the last few months.

In many respects he and I have either different views, or draw different conclusions from observed behaviours and events. I would also add that, as someone who primarily lives in the UK, my comparisons with the UK are far more relevant, pertinent and accurate and not based upon how things were several years ago. My knowledge of Galicia is not of course as immediate as his! But it is perhaps one that takes less of an "outsider's view".

So, by way of, 1. remembering them and 2. giving an indication of future entries, here they are.

Good cheap ribeira wines.

Galician driving – rule adherence versus actual driving skill and how it compares to the UK.

Double parking and blocking entrances.

The non-alcohol culture.

The non rush culture, eg in bars restaurants.

Galician banks and how they work and operate.

Opening and closing hours and the siesta.

Salutations and general good manners.


Just for starters……….

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