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Plenty of Spanish people ask me why I came to Spain. They expect my answer to be "for the sun" but usually I say "It's because you're all anarchists." This meets with various levels of approval from "How dare you!" to the equivalent of "Ha, ha!" In truth though I don't think that it rings a bell with the majority. I may think the Spanish are anarchists but they don't.

Lots of people die in traffic accidents here because they don't wear their seat belts. Police officers don't wear seat belts when they're driving. Major building work in a town centre will often have JCBs dodging around the milling shoppers. Safety gear is still a bit mamby pamby for most workmen. The sign says "Keep off the Grass" yet the grass is littered with picnicking families. Dogs must be on a lead - and of course they aren't. Parents snatch the sticky sweet papers from their children and throw the litter to the ground. Standing at the threshold of a (non smoking) bar, fag in hand, and popping in to emphasise your point in the discussion is commonplace. Double and triple parking, parking on the pavement or on a zebra crossing is endemic. Groups of people often re-organise the furniture on entering a café. Even the coffee order is anarchic - strong on coffee, short on milk, with sweetener and in a glass. There are lots more examples - I could go on; Maggie says I do.

Sometimes it's surprising, sometimes it's hilarious, sometimes it's nettling but it's definitely very Spanish.

Oh, and I think it's excellent that Spanish people often sit down to eat at their tea at ten in the evening too.


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