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Life as A Spanish Fly


That is Spanish Fly as in 'fly on the wall', not Spanish Fly as in 'aphrodisiac.' The casual approach to life in Spain still astounds me on a daily basis. I should be accredited by now to seeing someone eat their lunchtime sandwiches while parked on a busy roundabout, on a moped.

A crane swinging several hundredweight of bricks in a cradle from one side of the road to the other, via the airspace directly above my convertible should no longer fill me with panic, but it does.

Driving through the center of the sleepy town where I live in the Northern Costa Blanca, just this morning, I encountered a fellow motorist swinging into a U-turn, across the dual carriageway. Well why not you may ask? Well, sometimes it would surprise you to learn he was also negotiating his U-turn between two bollards, spaced approximately an inch each side of his car, over a pedestrian crossing marked with red stripes, located over a speed bump, complete with pedestrian trying to cross.

Passing drivers were so impressed that they stopped to get a better view. I brought up the queue of cars behind this intrepid flouter of all traffic laws and hoped to get a better look at him when we got to the traffic lights, and I would have, had he stopped at the red light, but he just kept going ..

In a certain part of the Old Town, just a few hundred yards from the spot I just mentioned, there are a set of traffic lights which show green in both directions, including the pedestrian crossing light. There is a street café not far down the street where you can drink your morning coffee, read the newspaper, and watch the near miss road accidents at the lights.

The question of garbage has been addressed with some seriousness in our town. It was decreed some time ago that in order to maintain a green and healthy planet, it was necessary to have a recycling policy. So the Town Council set about appointing councilors to be in change of implementing recycling policies and educating local citizens to separate newspapers, cartons, glass, plastic packaging etc. All of the containers were then collected by the garbage trucks and emptied into one landfill site. Hmm. Spot the flaw in this program ..

In bad weather, and by bad weather I mean torrential rain and winds, the streets in our little town flood very quickly, so much so that it is impossible to see the road benefit the muddy water. As soon as the heavy rain begins to puddle, the local police remove all the manhole covers in the road, to assist the drain. Yes, the manhole covers are actually in the road, so it is quite possible you will drive into one and wreck your car. When I complained to a Spanish gentleman about the wisdom of ignoring huge holes in the road, he claimed the responsibility fell upon the driver to have a car so scarred with dents and scratches that driving into a manhole could incur no further damage. I must say I had not considered this option.

During fiestas, everyone turns out to watch the fireworks and have a party. The fireworks invariably manage to start a serious fire in somebody's roof and the insurance bills run to many thousands of euros.

During the height of the celebrations groups of young men run through the streets throwing fire crackers underneath skirts and up trouser legs, it is all very exciting and if you object to such behavior you are considered to be a bit of a bad sport.

I am no longer surprised or alarmed when the garage attendant continues to smoke his cigarette while filling my tank with petrol. After all, I have been here for six years and I have not been involved in an explosion, have I? Not yet anyway ..

Source by Jan Gamm

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