Thursday, November 27, 2014

¡El diabólico ingenio de su malvado plan es magnifico!

I just wanted to write down the Spanish translation of one of my favorite lines from Star Trek. It's from the Bride of Chaotica (La Novia de Caótica) episode of Star Trek Voyager. And it sounds just as great in Spanish as in English, IMO.

"The clever fiendishness of your evil plan is brilliant!" = "¡El diabólico ingenio de su malvado plan es magnifico!"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

As tourism to Spain grows, Spaniards staying home: study finds continuing decrease in 'outbound' travel

Spain's economy may be on the rebound, but the ripple effects from the crash that began in 2008continued to impact negatively on outbound tourism during 2013. 

Spanish consumers seem more focused on debt reduction and saving than ever before. Reducing and eliminating non-essential spending, including travel, is now the Spanish way, according to
Euromonitor International.

The new report, "Tourism Flows Outbound in Spain," finds that Spaniard's visiting European countries continued to decrease in 2013 and the number of visitors on long haul destinations declined as well. 

About 60% of departures in Spain are made during the summer holidays, with Easter, Christmas (although traditionally spent with the family), New Year’s and national holidays accounting for most of the remaining 40%.

Read more here.

Trying to solve the mystery of murdered poet Federico Garcia Lorca's burial site / Madrid soccer team to help widow evicted from home

My latest Newsvine articles:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spain is a lapsed Catholic country as well as a lapsed democracy

Monedero & Iglesias
Or so says Spanish political scientist Juan Carlos Monedero Fernández-Gala 

In a sardonic interview published in today's  El Mundo newspaper, Monedero was asked why so many atheists believe in Pablo Iglesias (the leader of the new and increasingly popular crowdfunded political party Podemos) and so many believers do not? His reply:

"We're a lapsed Catholic country, just as we're a lapsed democratic country."

Monday, November 10, 2014

¡Sí, se puede! ¿O no? Catalan Independence? Podemos in Power?

My latest Newsvine article looks at the independence consultation in Catalonia on November 9, while my last post was to a guide to Spain's new Podemos political party:

At 80% In Favor, Catalonia Overwhelmingly Voted For Independence From Spain. Or Did It?

An informal vote on independence in the Autonomous Region of Catalonia, Spain has shown more than 80% of participants in favor of separation from the country, local officials have said. Spanish media is reporting that a total of 2,236,806 persons out of an estimated …
Article Photo

Sunday, November 9, 2014

An American votes in Catalonia's independence consultation (Video)

Kieth Kirwen is from Montana but lives in Catalonia.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A billion, a triilion and Little Nicholas

My latest Spanish related Newsvine posts: 

In Spain and other Spanish speaking countries 1 billion is 1,000,000,000,000 while in the USA, UK and other English speaking countries it's 1,000,000,000. Why? Read:

How much is 1 billion? 1 trillion? More? That depends on where you are.

Police in Spain have arrested a 20-year-old alleged con man who embarrassed the establishment by posing as a bigwig and even got himself photographed shaking hands with the king. Fresh-faced and curly-haired, the sharp-suited wheeler-dealer Francisco Nicolas Gomez Iglesias...Read about it:

Little Nicholas: Fresh-Faced 'Con Man' Fools Spain's Elite

Monday, October 20, 2014

Europe's unsafest border?

A recent news report on Syrians and others entering Europe illegally via Melilla, one of two Spanish territories (the other being Ceuta) in North Africa:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Teresa Romero cured of Ebola; Spanish nursing assistant was first person infected outside Africa

From Newsvine: "Tests performed on Romero today could not detect the Ebola virus in her blood, according to Teresa Mesa the family's spokeswoman. The special committee set up by Spain to manage the crisis has confirmed the test result, but a second analysis will be required to confirm the virus' absence. If the negative finding is repeated tomorrow, the medical case will be practically closed.

This news follows yesterday's announcement that Romero was..."

[Update, Tuesday 21 October 2014: Romero has now reportedly tested negative four times and has been officially declared cured.]

Links to two other recent Newsvine posts: 

Teresa Romero subject of political fight

Spain: Elevator capital of the world.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spain declared best value winter travel destination

Spain's sunny southern coast
The Iberian penninsula offers some of the best travel deals this winter, with the Costa del Sol offering the best bargain but the Algarve not far behind

The UK's Post Office has found that the Costa del Sol in Andalusia, Spain provides the best value for money this winter. The Algarve coast of neighboring Portugal came in third. Bali, Indonesia was sandwiched in between at number two.

In a new Winter Sunshine Report barometer of 18 destinations in Europe and further afield, Post Office Travel Money found the Costa del Sol cheapest for a bargain break.  The cost of eight tourist staples, including a family meal, drinks, suncream and insect repellent, was just £44 ($71 / €55).  Bali (£47 / $76 / €59) just beat out Portugal’s Algarve  (£48 / $77 / €60) for the runner-up bargain spot.

Winter vacationers looking for more guaranteed winter sun in Europe will find great value on Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands at £58 ($93 / €73) for the eight items and Ayia Napa in Cyprus at £60 ($96 / €76).  According to the Post Office, local prices in the four eurozone destinations above are either level with last year or slightly cheaper. 

Madrid Guitars: One of Europe's Treasures

The New York Times has included guitars made in Madrid on its list of twelve European Treasures:

Madrid: Guitars

Crossing the threshold of one of Madrid’s storied guitar makers’ workshops can feel like stepping into the past. Curly wood shavings, from the palest pine to ebony, cascade to the floor as artisans hone a few humble planks into acoustic works of art. It’s painstaking work — all done by hand — with classical guitar models and the methods of making them changing little over the last century. The monthly production of even the most seasoned craftsmen typically maxes out at two instruments per month.
The finished products will someday go out the door, gleaming with varnish and polished metal fittings, to seduce audiences from stages around the globe. But here in Madrid, the tiny workrooms and the simple tools — as well as the last names of the artisans employing them — have often not changed in generations.
My first encounter with luthiers, or guitarreros (guitar makers), took place deep in the heart of Madrid’s historic center, where I went looking for one workshop and found several.
The door is usually open at Mariano Conde’s shop (Calle Amnistía 1;, a tiny two-level workshop near the Teatro Realm where Mr. Conde, his son — also named Mariano — and two other craftsmen move between molds, saws, planes and files. Prices are 2,800 euros ($3,500) for a standard flamenco guitar to 18,000 euros ($23,000) for his finest classical concert guitar.
Mr. Conde is a third-generation guitar maker from the fabled (and now defunct) house of Hermanos Conde, and his brother Felipe also continues the family legacy at his own shop nearby (Calle Arrieta 4; A 10-minute walk away, on the other side of Plaza Mayor, is another cluster of luthiers, including José Ramírez (Calle de la Paz 8;, Pedro de Miguel (Calle Amor de Dios 13; and Juan Álvarez (Calle San Pedro 7;
A guitar’s colorful mix of woods is less an aesthetic choice than a science. Each element of the instrument’s anatomy has specific physical and acoustic demands, and its maker knows which woods can accomplish each function. It’s fascinating to consider that the materials for today’s instruments may have been purchased by the artisans’ fathers 30 or 40 years ago, just as the German spruce and Canadian cedar today’s guitarreros acquire will sit drying for decades until it’s suitable to be turned into guitars by their children or grandchildren. ANDREW FERREN

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rodrigo Rato, Ex-IMF head, in Spanish court over credit card scandal

"Ex-IMF head Rodrigo Rato went before a judge Thursday over allegations that he and other former executives at a bailed-out Spanish bank went on lavish spending sprees with company credit cards.
The 65-year-old went to court along with two other former executives for questioning by a judge investigating Bankia, the group whose near-collapse sparked a 41-billion-euro ($52 billion) bailout for Spain's financial sector.
The three were met by yells of "
'Thieves!' from protesters who say they lost their savings when Bankia collapsed in 2012.
Audit documents submitted by prosecutors to the court detailed a total of more than 15 million euros of suspect spending with credit cards by former managers of the group, which Rato headed from 2010 to 2012.
Prosecutors said the credit cards were used for personal purchases with media reports detailing spending on safaris, meals at luxury restaurants, art, clothing and massive cash withdrawals.
Rato made no comment as he arrived shortly before 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) at the National Court, Spain's top criminal tribunal, for questioning by Judge Fernando Abreu.

Rato served from 2004 to 2007 as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the worldwide lender that played a key role in tackling the eurozone debt crisis.
He was finance minister in Jose Maria Aznar's conservative government, which was in office from 1996 to 2004, and served as chief executive of Caja Madrid before holding the top post at Bankia until shortly before it was rescued by the Spanish government in 2012.
The scandal has fuelled indignation in Spain, where one in four workers are unemployed, ahead of a general election expected by the end of next year."