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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 7 August 2020
07 August 2020 @ 11:02

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'* 

Covid 19 

  • Covid 19 

  • It's one of Trump's regular lies that the US is doing more tests than anywhere else in the world. Indeed - being unfamiliar with the concept of truth - he's gone so far as to boast that the US is doing more tests than the rest of the world put together. This isn't even true in absolute terms but, in per capita terms, there are several countries doing better at this. Tests per million of population:-

- The USA: 191k

- The UK: 258k

- Russia: 204k

- Denmark: 286k

- Luxembourg: 995k (virtually all of its population of 627,000).

  • The more you test, the more asymptomatic cases you find, meaning a fall in the percentage of deaths per case reported. The USA does well on this parameter and it was this Trump was trying to stress in his disastrous weekend interview, while dismissing the fact of more than 1,000 deaths per day as 'what it is'.
  • France has a low testing percentage, so it's not surprising that, at 15%, its deaths per case on a per capita basis is much higher than the USA's  - 15% v 3%.
  • More surprising is that the UK has a high test number but also has a death per case number of 15%. This is possibly because, as someone has said - they're 'daft enough' to record as 'Covid-caused' every death where someone passes when they have the virus. Whatever they actually died of.
  • Spain: All is not what it seems . . . The Health Minister yesterday again denied that the country is facing a second wave of infections, despite a spike in cases in recent days.

Living La Vida Loca in Spain 

  • I've mentioned that the Galician government now requires one to advise them not only you've been to countries on the nation's blacklist but also if you've been in certain regions of Spain and, now, Madrid. The online form is superficially simple but not user-friendly. Worse, it doesn't bloodywell work. I've pressed the Enter button more than 50 times in the last 24 hours, to no effect and must now contact them by phone today. My housemate had similar problems  days ago, trying to report that he'd been in Portugal. But he eventually succeeded yesterday. Which was rather ironic, as the Xunta had taken Portugal off the list earlier in the day . . .
  • I see there was an official 'opening' of the reformed O Burgo bridge on Wednesday night, which included a concert from a string quartet and the switching on of the new lighting system. This was not in evidence last night, so here's a bad foto of it taken from a local paper:-

I've no idea how often we'll have the pleasure of seeing the bridge bathed in red. Or of how many people care about this.

  • Driving in Spain:  After almost 20 years of pondering this - essentially using too much logic - I've finally figured out what it means when someone here is signalling right when approaching a roundabout of more than one exit. It simply means they're going to leave the roundabout at one of the exits. Which can, of course, be any of, say, 5. If you take on board this lesson, you'll save yourself the risk of being in a collision for which you'll be blamed. So, Rule 1: Whichever exit you're taking, beware of cars coming from your right, in a way you'd not expect in any other country. Rule 2, born of this situation: The really smart driver here doesn't offer any signal but leaves everyone else guessing. Which forces them to hesitate and stay out of your way. There's always some form of logic at play . . .
  • Noise: There was a sparsely-attended hard-rock concert - from 3 middle-aged guys - in Pontevedra’s main square yesterday. At midday. Or maybe they were rehearsing for the evening. Either way, it was naturally deafening. And, of course, no one nearby seemed perturbed by the fact they had to shout their conversations even louder than usual.**
  • Here’s María’s Day 53 of her Chronicle. Uncertainty rules. 

The USA 

The Way of the World

  • The Zidane-Bale impasse shows the [soccer]game at its tone-deaf worst: while Bale is playing less than ever, his salary is still set to rise, from £15.3 million for his latest spasmodic season to £17.1 million for 2020-21. Real Madrid lack the power to put him out of his misery, while Bale lacks the inclination.


  • Three more refranes:-

- The early bird catches the worm: Al que madruga, Dios le ayuda.

- The grass is always greener . . . : Gusta lo ajeno, mas por ajeno que bueno/Nadie está contento con su suerte.

- The pen is mightier than the sword: Más puede la pluma que la espada.

Finally . . . 

** I’ve just checked. It was a midday concert, from the Three Black Crows.  Whose foto in the events guide was clearly taken several years ago. Today we have a 5-member female group called Agoraphobia, who are part of a Barullada de Rock.  Or ‘ A Noisiness/Rowdiness of Rock’. I rest my case . . .


* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant. 

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