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Showing posts from March, 2012

Blackleg

Once upon a time I'd have been there. Slightly bemused no doubt but I'd have been there. Today, the day of the eighth General Strike in Spain's history since the return to democracy, I went to work much as usual.

There was a lot of police activity; there were patrol cars parked up the side-streets in the town centre whilst groups of bored police officers lounged around taking the sun. There were big Guardia Civil  4x4s parked on several of the strategic roundabouts in and out of the industrial estate with most of the Guardia sporting a smart new uniform that looked just a little more menacing than the old one.

Outside one of the union offices a few workers lounged around taking the sun. They looked like extras from a Mike Leigh film. Car coats a plenty.

On the way home from my early morning shift I came across the main march in Cartagena. Lots of nice red banners and crowds of photographers.

The town centre seemed generally open for business as usual.

At the offices where I…

Gentlemen, start your engines!

I finish early on Wednesday afternoon/evening (take your Spanish/English choice) As I walked home this evening I had a little chuckle on seeing the inner cones of some of the Klu Klux Klan hats, used in the Eater parades, parked besides the table of a coffee shop. Their owners were enjoying a drink and a chat.

Monday evenings I'm not so fortunate. I finish at 10, when both Brits and Spaniards agree, it's night. This Monday there were people in military uniforms on the streets, more people sporting those long silvered staffs (hachotes) used by the penitents in the various processions and several more were carrying a thick glossy brochure with a picture of a bleeding Christ on the front.

Cartagena is definitely  revving up for Easter.

Is it just me?

I mentioned the Cartagena Tapas Trail recently. Nice idea, fixed price for a snack and a drink; lots of different snacks. They sold 400,000€ worth in the couple of weeks so other people must have liked the idea too.

Here in Cartagena we have a coffee called Asiatico. It's a coffee made with condensed milk, brandy and a local liqueur called Licor 43 - usually with cinnamon and sometimes with other little embellishments. It's nice, a bit of a change from time to time. There's been an attempt to promote it as being typical of the area. You can buy massively overpriced kits as tourist souvenirs that feature the oddly shaped glasses along with all the ingredients.

Yesterday the Asiatico Trail opened. There are 47 places to buy an Asiatico. But come on, this isn't the same is it? With the tapas it was something different at every stop. But 47 cups of very sweet and slightly alcoholic coffee? There may be some variation and the price is OK at 1.40€ but I can hardly see us ru…

Turmoil

Crisis, it's said like kreesys here, everywhere, all the time. bad news rolling in, wave after wave lapping on the shore.

The news is full of it. On the radio today I've listened  to stories about Local Authorities, unable to pay their creditors, being bailed out by Central Government to stop the businesses they owe money to going belly up. In Catalonia they're going to start charging everyone a euro for every prescription. The pay of Local Government workers is being cut at the same time as working hours are being increased. Another hike in VAT is on the cards.There will be a General Strike on the 29th of this month. And so on.

The news is one thing though and personal experience is another. In our house, from this week Maggie has been expected to work two hours more per week than she has been up to now. A pay cut or a work increase sliding under the wire.

I teach English to a bunch of people in a local business. It's a strategic industry and, as such affected more t…

On the town

We were in el Descanso del Icue. It's a bar. We were having a snack and a glass of wine. At the bar there were three men. A couple chatted at one of the tables and a red faced man, toying with an unlit cigarette, wandered back and forth between the bar and nowhere in particular. Like us they were all Brits. Earlier in the evening we'd shared a table with two other Britons.

Now it's hardly unusual to come across Britons anywhere in Spain. We're an inquisitive and resourceful bunch. We turn up everywhere. Only the other day I was having a coffee in a bar on an out of town Industrial Estate before I gave a class to one of the busiinesses there. There were three other Britons in the bar, telecomms engineers from the look of their jackets. I noticed them but didn't think much about it. I may have stared a little longer than would be considered polite though when two backpack wearing tracksuit clad British tourists joined us.

There were more of us out tonight in town be…