Thursday, January 19, 2012
It’s nice to know that politicians are politicians all over the world. The President of the Generalitat, Alberto Fabra, is blaming the government of the previous Prime Minister of Spain for the Generlitat’s delay in paying both their bills and their employees. The Generalitat is the governing body of the province of Valencia. Two weeks ago all the pharmacies in town went on strike because the Generalitat was months in arrears in their payments to pharmacies for medicines dispensed to those who have state sponsored health insurance. Prior to the strike the pharmacies were forced to stop dispensing medication to those on the government insurance plan unless those individuals could pay for their prescriptions. The current crisis affect schools at all levels, including the universities. The government currently owes these institutions 140 million Euros in back payments. Fabra’s claim is that the national government has delayed their payments to Valencia.
Fabra has failed to mention that the 150 million Euros spent to build an airport in Castellón, an airport that will most probably never open. He also has failed to mention the 30 million Euros that have been spent publicizing the airport. He has also failed to mention that the only activity currently at the airport is an 80 feet high statue of his likeness that is being erected at said airport. The cost of the statue is estimate to be 300,000 Euros. He has also failed to mention that this past fiscal year the Generalitat overspent its budget by 20% and in the most indebted autonomy in all of Spain. He has failed to mention hoe the national government caused Valencia to overspend to such a degree.
Yesterday was a relatively quiet day. We did go to the market in the morning to pick up some shrimp for dinner last night. We also paid a visit to Solaz to pick up some ham and turkey. After a round of our usual morning activities, I headed out to the gym for my workout and shortly afterwards Susan went to her Pilates class. As I have mentioned previously, we both fend for ourselves for lunch on Monday and Wednesday so I stopped at a Colombian restaurant nearby called La Paisa and got one of their platters to go. It had a little bit of everything – arepas, fried plantains, ribs, sausages, salad and fries. I ordered the platter for one to go and ate as much as I wanted. I barely made a dent in the to-go box. I left what was left for Susan since she had not had lunch before she went off to class. She ate her fill and since what was left over would not survive a visit to the microwave very well, we trashed the rest. To be honest, the food was filling, but not very tasty.
At 4:00 I met up with Nico who is one of the pizza makers at La Fórcola. Nico is originally from Sardinia and has been living in Valencia for six years. He has a girlfriend and the two of them hope to go to London in May and live and work there for a couple of years with the goal of learning to speak English fluently. Nico has been taking an online English course for the past four months and has wanted to meet with me to work on his conversational skills. We spent 45 minutes together chatting about various topics and I helped him out with some vocabulary and explained a couple of grammar points to him. At times, Nico, who is shy, struggled to express himself, but he toughed it out. We will meet again next Wednesday to continue our work together.
Speaking of La Fórcola, we ran into Antón yesterday. Antón is the owner and just before New Year’s suffered a heart attack. He has been told by his doctors to rest, stop smoking and stay away from work. They have also made some changes to his diet. He has an appointment with his cardiologist on Friday and regardless of what he is told, he has made the decision to retire from the daily grind and will help with the administrative tasks at the restaurant and at most will spend an hour a day there. His plans for the future call for extensive travel. There is a possibility he may become my third English student.
We decided to go for a walk a little after 6:00. We planned to stop in at the Nespresso store to pick up some coffee and, in the process to see if Linares had indeed out of business. Our favorite gelatería is still shuttered and that has been the case for almost a month. Damn! We purchased our coffee and on the way back stopped off at The Ginger Loft for a drink and some conversation. Mike is getting things ready for a Chinese New Year Brunch this Sunday. We will be there along with Ofelia and Brian. It looks like it will be a lot of fun. It was a little before 9:00 when we headed back home so that Susan could make dinner for us.
Last night’s dinner started with sautéed artichokes topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Next came those lovely, plump shrimp we had bought earlier in the day that had been sautéed in garlic sitting atop a nest of black pasta. This was a restaurant quality meal. We finished off a bottle of Martín Códax that we opened the other day and chatted over a cup of coffee. We caught up with Rachel after dinner and then worked on the computer for a while before we retired for the night.