Ironic mode on
Mis amigos espanñoles! Where do I start?
The food? Spanish food is nothing special. The most usual form of cooking is to fry in olive and then cover everything in further large amounts of olive oil, salt and vinegar - how healthy is that? You should see how much salt my girlfriend covers everything with, especially salads. 99% of ovens are never used and used for storing pots and pans - most things cooked are fried. Vegetables are boiled to death and when you actually get the food, it is usually cold - especially chips/fries etc uggghhhh! If you go into most bars you will see exactly the same things for sale, usually with a few "local" variations depending on the region that the bar owner comes from. All fresh food in the supermarkets is appalling quality, but this is because the best gets exported. A lot of the seafood comes from tins (anchoas, mejillones, boquerones etc) and the rest is just the usual ham, cheese, potatoes etc with the same old sauces ali-oli, bravas, olive oil. The tapas (at least in Madrid) aren't that great - at least in Avila you get asked what you'd like.. If you ever visit anywhere in Spain you have to try the local "typical" food - which of course is the best in Spain - such as the roast baby pig in Segovia (or in Avila), Cocido in Madrid, In fact, everywhere in Spain there is the best in Spain. Spaghetti is cooked only with processed Tomato Frito and so on. In Spain you have to eat bread with everything and have many paper napkins at hand so that the mouth can be continually wiped. If you ever want to make a Spanish person feel uncomfortable, invite them to dinner and have neither bread nor napkins on the table and watch them squirm.....
Then there is the fish that has been plundered from all four corners of the world’s oceans. One day there will be nothing left swimming in the sea if the Spanish have their way. Everything gets covered with Tuna and if you are a non-seafood eater or vegetarian then you're buggered. Fish and seafood is the basis of the cuisine and it is consumed in huge quantities – and the fishermen will do anything to get it – whether it is legal or not. My parent's fish hide at the bottom of the fish tank for fear of being eaten when I visit the UK with my Spanish girlfriend. In Spain, if it moves, they shoot it and eat it. The wildlife has and continues to be decimated. My in-laws place looks like morgue with the amount of stuffed animal heads on the wall. When as Spaniard sees an animal, the first thing they think of is how nice it would be with a bit of garlic and fried in olive oil. When my girlfriend’s grandmother heard that she had bought a rabbit (and I mean a real “conejo” – not the other thing!), the first thing she did was tell us it how it would taste lovely with a bit of rosemary and some potatoes!
Customer service doesn't exist in Spain - we all know about Iberia (although they are getting better). If you are in a bar you have to shout and wave a lot to get served, don't expect to be served in a busy bar if you stand and wait your turn. Likewise, I don’t think the word “excuse me” exists in Spanish. People push you out of the way in the supermarket without a word - as well as bashing their trolley into you without a murmur of an apology.
Red tape is rife and state employees (funcionarios) don’t care about anyone or anything. They are slow, incompetent and have no authority to make decisions with out referring upwards. All they want to do is their secure job for life and go home and get paid.
Then there is queuing. In Spain this is something else. Generally a queue is something to be abused - and when I first lived in Spain, I used to get so frustrated by the people who come and ask who the last in the queue is, then stake their claim and bugger off to carry on with the shopping and then come back and expect to jump straight in in front of you - or you have the "placeholder" who stand in a queue while the rest of the family or friends do something else and return en-mass when their turn comes. Recently witnessed while waiting for the Tourist Train in Avila. You might think you are close to the front of the queue - but it is not always the case.
Then there is the rubbish that is called a Television service. Unless you are interested in what the "famosos" are doing and don't mind at least 20 minutes of adverts an hour for those magazine collections where you start of with the rivet and end up with a full size jumbo-jet - then Spanish TV
is not for you. In fact, I have been driven to the point of suicide several times when watching TV
in Spain. Oh, and no show is a show without dancing girls and an audience of Marujas. Also, how do they manage to make a game show go on for 3 to 4 hours?
On the road, the Spaniards are a law unto themselves. The driving is appalling and the consequent death toll is amazing. Ever tried to use a Spanish pedestrian crossing? You are dicing with death. Even the ones with traffic lights are risky and I have seen 2 people killed crossing when the man is green - right in front of my eyes!! When you are driving, people appear from nowhere walking across the road, not even looking to see what is coming. Drinking and driving is still common and still isn't considered by the average person to be a bad thing. It is an insult to someone's driving if you wear a seatbelt or decline a lift due to the fact they have drunk six large whisky and cokes and still see no wrong in driving. I sometimes wonder why are there are not more accidents when I see the standard of driving at 3am on the Castellana in Madrid. On motorways, people drive behind you at 140 km/h at a distance of less than a meter.
Smoking in institutional and a no smoking sign might as well not be there. Spanish people smoke everywhere. I’d love to see what happened if the government tried to ban smoking in enclosed public places like they have done in New York and Ireland. If you go out for a night out expect to come home well "smoked". Sometimes it seems everyone smokes.
Then there is Gibraltar. Spain complains about Gibraltar being British somehow seem to forget that they have got two equivalent places in Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. Talk about double standard or hypocrisy. Of course, the average Spaniard will tell you this is not the same – but it is.
Oh yes, don’t ever criticise Spain to a Spaniard. You are dancing on the grave of their grandmother. Spain is the best so you’d better just accept it! So, any Spaniard reading this is going to be highly offended, even though I am entitled to have my opinion having lived in Spain on and off for the last 14 years – and I am talking about in the real Spain and not in the ex-pat community on the coast.
Ironic mode off-
Why do I live there then? Well – I just wrote it above. Spain is an addiction; it is a love-hate relationship. It’s the girl that treats you bad you just can’t give up. The reasons I hate things are the reasons I love it. The way of life is the reason I live in Spain and cannot escape. Nothing is ever certain, the pride, the nightlife (especially in somewhere in Madrid or Barcelona). The cost of living is low compared to my home country, although Madrid is getting very pricy – especially the housing – and the women are the most attractive in the known world. In fact, I know so many people who suffer the same way I do. Help – I need a doctor.
Alfonso – donde te has metido, tio? No te he visto en MSN