Friday, November 09, 2007

The top story around here is that the three remaining Spanish aircrew held in Chad have been released, which makes sense because they're innocent of everything but being hired by the wrong outfit.

Jordi Pujol cited an urban legend the other day, claiming as fact that a Madrid taxi driver had kicked a Catalan friend-of-a-friend out of his cab for speaking Catalan on his cell phone. Yeah, right. All Pujol's loud-mouthing has only contributed to fanning the flames of discontent caused by the Great Barcelona Transport Snafu. And Montilla is going around saying that if the central government doesn't do anything to solve the problems partially caused by his and his party's bungling, then Catalonia is going to get very mad at Spain. He's so uncharismatic that he's a terrible demagogue, though. And he's got Zap pissed off at him now.

Development minister Maleni Alvarez now says that the commuter trains will be back on line before November 30. Yeah, right.

All the Glasgow Rangers fans went home; they supposedly drank 140,000 liters of beer among them, which is pretty good. If there were 20,000 of them, that's seven liters (an American six-pack is a little more than two liters) a man during the day-and-a-half they were here. That doesn't count all the other alcoholic beverages they consumed while here, either. They didn't cause a whole lot of trouble; they made a big mess in the Plaza Catalunya, and urinated profusely in public. However, the mess they caused was a lot less than what happens when the Barça wins the league or New Year's Eve. The cops were mellow and just kept an eye on them to stop matters from getting out of control, and nobody got arrested, which was probably pretty smart. Putting a lot of porta-johns around the Old City might have been a good idea, though, which they didn't do.

However, one Ramon Masagué Arribas sent a letter of complaint to La Vanguardia that was published this morning: "Every year the same thing happens with the English fans. They keep drinking and drinking..." Now wait a minute. People from Glasgow are Scots, not English, and they kind of make a big deal out of that. Mr. Mesegué has no idea, however, which is interesting because many Catalans become very indignant that the rest of the world does not pay much attention to their attempt at differentiating themselves from the rest of the Spaniards.

I cannot count the number of times that people around here have told me accusingly, "Americans don't even know that Catalonia exists." As if not having heard of a European region with seven million people made one ignorant. I bet no Catalan could tell you the difference between North Carolina and Missouri, much less that between a Bengali and a Gujerati, or a Mandarin-speaker and a Cantonese-speaker. Hell, TV3 doesn't know the difference between an Arab, a Persian, and a Turk; they have no idea that Kurds are Persians, Azeris are Turks, and Armenians are none of the above.

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