Monday, January 14, 2013

Ask an Espanol

Belated happy new year to everyone! The Korean traveled to Spain in the first two weeks of the new year. More serious blogging will resume in the coming days. In the meantime, based on his trip, here are some questions that the Korean would have liked to pose to a hypothetical "Ask an Espanol" blog.

1.  Dear Espanol,

During his trip to Spain, the Korean greatly enjoyed bacalao, which is semi-dried cod. But the Korean had thought that Atlantic Cod is on the verge of extinction due to overfishing. Is bacalao in Spain made of Atlantic Cod? Is there any awareness in Spain about the sustainability of cod?

2.  Dear Espanol,

What do espanoles think about Francisco Franco generally? Is there any part of Spain or Spaniards who think positively of Franco? On a similar note, what do Spaniards think about the current king? In particular, what do people make of Juan Carlos's previous association with the Franco dictatorship? How strong is the "republican" movement (i.e. desire to do away with monarchy)?

3.  Dear Espanol,

One theory explaining the sorry state of Korean beer -- which is mostly watery and tasteless -- is that it is pointless to develop beer with strong flavor as beer usually accompanies food. The Korean had thought this theory was crock, until he had a fairly broad overview of Spanish beers, which were also mostly watery and tasteless. Do you think the Spanish habit of having tapas with drinks contributed to Spain's watery beer? Or is there any other reason?

4.  Dear Espanol,

The Korean had a wonderful time in Granada, a city renowned for its tapas culture. Remarkably, when one orders a drink in Granada, a free tapa comes along. But drinks in Granada were no more expensive than the rest of Spain, or rest of the developed world for that matter. And the tapas in Granada were just as tasty as any tapa in Spain. How does this work economically in Granada? Conversely, if this works so well in Granada, why is this wonderful custom not more widespread in Spain?

5.  Dear Espanol,

How are Spaniards dealing with the current economic crisis? Korea came out of its own wrenching economic crisis in 1997 as a completely changed society -- it became more individualist, materialist and survivalist. Do you feel any change in the national character of Spain as it is undergoing the economic crisis?

6.  Dear Espanol,

Why is Japanese food so popular in Madrid? Although the Korean's view is quite limited as he was only in the tourist-friendly area, he must have seen more Japanese restaurants per unit area in Madrid than any other country except Japan itself. But this trend appears to be limited to Madrid -- the Korean did not notice the same frequency of Japanese restaurants in other large Spanish cities, such as Barcelona or Seville. 

7.  Dear Espanol,

Do Spaniards feel any particular kinship with the Spanish-speaking South America?

-EDIT- One more that the Korean forgot to add...

8.  Dear Espanol,

The Korean heard that there is an increased number of Chinese immigrants to Spain, who are getting into small businesses that are more mainstream, such as a tapas restaurant. The Korean did in fact see quite a few Asians running small businesses in Madrid and Barcelona. Compared to the general attitude toward immigrants, how are Spaniards feeling about the immigrants from Asia, if there is any feeling developed yet?

*                  *                   *

If you think you have the answer to any of the questions above, feel free to chime in.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Well, I am not Spanish and I can't answer any questions on behalf of the people. However, I would like to comment that, if what I learned during my World Food Studies class is correct, bacalao is actually very rarely made with cod at all and made using other whitefish such as pollock in recent years.

  2. About bacalao, the Portuguese consume it way more than the Spanish (it's spelled bacalhau in Portuguese). And one thing I learned from the Portuguese I worked with, is that although there are some species of fish they prefer, bacalhau is more about the way it is dried and salted than just one kind of fish, so when one species becomes rarer people switch to another type of bacalhau. In Brazil they are even promoting a type of Amazonian freshwater bacalhau, which, they say, is cheaper and can substitute the North Atlantic ones.

  3. Not a Spanish, but if you're interested about the Republican movement, anti-fascism and the general Spanish thoughts about monarchy and dictators, there are plenty of films and documentaries on the Spanish Civil War, as well as the political folk songs. They might give you an idea about the whole thing. Thought I'm not sure if there are English and Korean translations of these song lyrics.

  4. Also not Spanish, though I do have my own pet theory about the beer question.

    I think (in Western Europe) anyway, there are two types of drinking "cultures" - wine culture and beer culture. I noticed this when I went back there last spring on vacation - north-western European countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, among others) had huge varieties of (generally) excellent beers. And when you think about what countries produce good quality beer, these countries generally top the list.

    Further south - in France and Spain, where wine is much more popularly the drink of choice, "good" beers are hard to find. Indeed, I was sorely disappointed when looking for good beer in Paris - it was nearly impossible to find something that wasn't Kronenburg or Stella. But think about what countries produce quality wines - France, Spain, Italy etc. I wouldn't be surprised to find that Italy also produces many cheap watery beers.

    I was actually surprised by Spain though. We walked the Camino de Santiago (and were surprised to find that it was extremely popular with Koreans - though perhaps we shouldn't have been given how popular hiking is on the Peninsula) and found quite a few pubs and bars--mostly towards the western half of the trail--that had quite good beer from some of the medium/small cities farther away (I forget exactly where at the moment). So it's there, though not exactly widespread.

    I suspect that the drink of choice has more to do with what crops traditionally grow in a particular environment than anything having to do with "culture" though, culture certainly is shaped by what's available in a particular country...

  5. In my experience, Spanish people from Spain tend to regard South Americans the same way French people regard the Quebecois...with condescension.

  6. Korean, born and raised in Spain... so will give it a shot and answer one of The Korean's many questions:

    "On Franco, King Juan Carlos and Republicanism": The Korean has to remember that Spanish democracy, somewhat similar to Korea’s own experience, is still relatively young (some 37 years old). That being said, the legacy of Franco can be found, to a limited extent, in some parts of society and politics. In particular, the current governing party, Partido Popular, can count on children of men that served with Franco (the founder of the political party was once a Minister in the caudillo's government) . Of course, you will never hear any of them comment on Franco’s rule, as he still remains the most divisive figure in Spanish history (much like how the Koreans think of Park Chung-hee). But generally, it is fair to say that the majority of Spaniards don’t have fond memories of him. As to King Juan Carlos, Spaniards (in the author’s opinion) see a weak link between him and Franco. After all, the King is credited of playing a crucial role in the transition from dictatorship to a democratic system. The “Republican” movement has been around for much of the past centuries. The country has gone through two republics, one civil war, and one military dictatorship to prove its struggle, so it could still become a potent force that threatens the future of the monarchy. This is especially true in the current economic situation that the country is facing...

    El coreano.

  7. Not an expert by any means, but I've been to Spain twice and majored in Spanish so I got some information through my studies....
    I was trying to think about beer I tried in Spain... but I can't remember a thing. I can only remember the wine. I love beer, but the wine was so good I think I just forgot about beer's existence for my time there.. I imagine many Spanish do as well...
    Granada is well known for it's tapas, but actually I found a lot of local bars would give tapas along with a drink or especially food (felt like some sort of 'anju' or 'service-uh') to me in other cities too.. How does it work in Korea that they can give out so much 'service' while charging so little for their food? Also, it could be that operation costs are cheaper in Granada? At least compared with Madrid or Barcelona?

    As for Juan Carlos, I don't know much, but I remember studying that he was the leader of the move to democracy, so I would imagine that they wouldn't blame him too much for being Franco's protege.

    And as for any kinship.... at least among Madrilleños, I found that in general they looked down on anyone who didn't speak the way they did, including other españoles, like from Andalucia. My host family in Madrid explained to me once while watching TV that the woman being interviewed on the TV, who was from Andalucia, spoke Spanish worse than I did (which was a real insult at the time because I was a high school student who had never practiced speaking until that trip). Later, I hosted a girl from Madrid, who, after watching an American movie dubbed in Mexican Spanish, told me that they spoke "bad" Spanish. Of course, that is just anecdotal... I hope/ assume most Spanards don't all think like those people I encountered.

    Strangely, I don't remember seeing any Japanese restaurants in Madrid on my last trip there. I guess I wasn't in the right place. Seoul sure has a lot of Japanese restaurants though... I'd be surprised if Madrid could outdo the number of Japanese restaurants in Seoul...

    1. Very interesting, Joanna.

      But wouldn't Spanish people think Juan Carlos as a traitor if he led the followers of the democratic movement in one hand and support Franco in the other? Sounds like a two-faced selfish profiter, to me. Just a personal opinion. I'm not an expert either, just a Mediterranean European who has heard a lot of Spanish political folk songs and seen a lot of films about politics in Spain.

      Also, about the language part, I was often told on chat, by Spanish people, that Spain, like China, has some "other countries" under its flag and that there are a few more languages in Spain other than Spanish, no dialects, real languages. For example, I've heard Catalonia is one of those non-Spanish countries under Spain.
      So maybe that woman from Andalucia spoke "Spanish" not worse than you, it was maybe just another language.

    2. After I wrote this, I checked with a Chilean friend of mine who spent some time in Spain to make sure I wasn't going crazy. In Anadalucia they do speak Spanish, but with a very thick accent. There are various other languages within Spain, of course, such as Catalan, Basque and Galacian. I'm sure there are regional differences along with the accent, but it's still Spanish.

    3. I see.
      Well, in the end it depends on how you define the difference between languages and dialects. That's something that has still not been "officially defined" yet.

    4. There are several languages in Spain apart from Spanish, and some of them appeared before Castillian :). The three that got official acknowlegdement after Franco's dictatorship are Galician, Basque and Catalonian, because they had a written tradition ever since the Middle Age. Then Valencian also became an official language, although it shares a lot of simmilarities with Catalonian.

      And there's also the eternal debate over if X is a language and should become official or it's just a dialect characteristic of a specific region or a certain group. This is the case with bable, fala, caló, etc. etc.

      You can check the page of the Wikipedia, it's quite good:

      Dac X Lee, it's not exactly countries, more like regions with a certain degree of independence in certain issues, like health or education. They are still subject to the national government, though.

      And Joanna, the stereotype for madrileños is that they are very "chulos" (arrogant people). Each region has their own. I'm sorry that in your case the stereotype turned out to be true.

  8. Hi all! 안녕하세요!

    I am Spanish (born and raised in Spain), 26-year-old girl, and have been the girlfriend of a Korean boy for 2 years... (and also discoverer of this GREAT BLOG (the best I saw ever) some months ago...).

    Many Spanish people tend to regard South Americans as an inferior group in certain ways... (and even more in Madrid, where I am at these days). In fact there is a word: "sudaca" (instead of "sudamericano", which should be the correct term)... it is a common ethnic slur here in Madrid usually directed at people of South American descent.

    I think Americans have a pejorative word also... (for black people living in the USA)... last summer I met some friends from the States at Deusto University and they used the word "nigger" when speaking about the blacks (always slightingly).

    I was wondering if Germans do the same with the Turks... Do they have any word for them? (Mmm... any Korean reading this and living in Deutschland right now could answer to this, please? ;))

    Thanks all! 감사!


    1. Germans use the slang "Kanacken/Kanaken" when referring to the Turks. Kameltreiber ("dirty Arab") can also be used.

    2. I can tell first-hand that Germans (of course not all of them, but you can fell it somehow) tend to do the same with the Spanish, regarding them as loud, lazy, even sometimes troublemakers... But I think that this happens whenever there is a significant demographic movement, like for example in the early 20th century, with the arrival of the Europeans into the US.

  9. A lot of cod comes from Iceland, which has a science-based fisheries management law in which limits on the catch are set by an independent panel. It seems to work: at any rate the fish population hasn't collapsed in Icelandic waters.

    Icelanders, in fact, fear joining the EU because it might result in Spanish trawlers destroying Icelandic fisheries because Iceland would lose exclusive control.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. First of all, a curiosity about language: I am an “española”. The nouns in Spanish have gender, so when you doubt if you will be talking to a man or a woman you can write “español/a”. I've been reading your blog for years, so I really like the idea of answering as you answer our questions. I am not an expert on anything, but I've tried gathering some info so my responses are a bit more objective than just my knowledge. I'll post 2 for now, as they are way larger than I expected. If you want me to answer the other questions I would love a bit of feedback!
    1.As a biology student, I can tell you that overfishing is a huge problem in our country, not just with bacalao (which is Atlantic Cod) but with almost every other species we extract from the sea. There are a lot of ecologist groups trying to stop overfishing and raising awareness about it, backed up with thousands of scientific studies; but still, in Spain, people have mixed feelings about this.
    In the fishermen community we have in one hand the small fishermen and in the other hand the huge fishing boats of big companies that export most of the captures. Also, we still use methods as destructive as trawling fishing; even though the legislation is very restrictive about it, there is almost no control over the law being followed. The problem here is that we compete with a lot of countries for the captures, and the public opinion here is that if “our” fishermen don't get their share, even if it destroys the species, some French or Moroccan fishermen will “steal” our profit and destroy the species anyway. The news, almost every time they show anything about the subject, show a small boat of a poor Galician family which has been fishing for generations and will lose everything if they restrict fishing in any way. Meanwhile, new laws that allow big companies not to show in the package of fish preserves the fish origin (which could be Ethiopian fish obtained for 1 cent a ton and zero health and environmental control) are being approved; really damaging small fishermen who follow laws and serve quality local products.

  12. Here goes the second answer:
    2.Francisco Franco is mostly loathed; but there is a small percentage of the population that still regards highly of his figure. Those people are not concentrated anywhere in particular; it's a bit as Nazis in modern Germany, they tend to form groups in bigger cities, but you can find them almost anywhere. There are still a few political groups that follow directly the ideology of the dictatorship, but they only got a 0,34% (~6.000 votes of a 40 million people country). Within last few years development of the crisis and all the demonstrations and protests (movement 15M), the far-right and far-left parties have been acquiring more votes than in past elections, as public opinion is polarizing and tired of the two-party system (bipartisanship? Sounds weird) going on since the end of the dictatorship.
    The king, in the other hand, is highly regarded and loved by most of the older people; and ignored or hated by the young people. His link with the dictatorship has been almost erased from public opinion, and it is “forgiven” as he decided set up a parliamentary monarchy instead of just a monarchy, giving the country a freedom they didn't expect. But due to a series of recent events, the royal house has started to fall from its pedestal: the infanta Cristina husband was accused of diverting public money, the king's nephew shot himself in the foot (he is under-age for gun use), the king injured himself while hunting for elephants in Botswana (Yes, you can overfish cod, but you can't kill an elephant… As you can see Spaniards are not brilliant as a mass of people). All this burst the bubble the royal house was in and has driven more people (and not only the far-left parties) to position themselves against monarchy. In votes, only 7% represent republican ideology, but it is a tricky subject that most parties avoid so they can get the votes of pro-monarchy people. In a totally subjective estimation, I would say 15% would vote yes against monarchy, 40% would vote no and the rest wouldn't vote.

  13. 3.- About the beer: Which beers did you have? We traditionally don't have stouts or ales, the Spanish beer is mostly lager which is not strong by definition, but watery depends on which beer you choose. As some people said in the comments our culture is more about wine than about beer, so it is true that most of them are awful. But we know it. You won’t hear almost anyone except the girl in the advertisement saying “San Miguel is my favourite beer”, because it is awful. But it is cheap. In most bars and restaurants it's cheaper than a bottle of water or a can of coke. That's why most people would ask for barrel beer in a bar: it is cheap and it has alcohol in it. But most of the bars and restaurants have better and more expensive beers always available, usually in a bottle. So, when you want to enjoy beer, you ask for a specific one instead of “una caña”. Alhambra 1925, Voll-Damm or Estrella Galicia are quite good. Also, there are “cervecerías” that make their own beer or buy beer at local breweries and have a really wide offer of national and international beers. In Spain, traditionally, people would eat with red wine on the table, and drink a “carajillo” afterwards, so I don't think the strong flavour is a problem. I think it has more to do with company decisions that make every flavour shittier and the sells bigger.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Dear Mr. Korean,

    I love your blog and have been following it for about a year. I was even tempted to make a question regarding the past Korean elections...only to decide to wait and see the answer for myself on the news. (Perhaps I was slightly mortified about making the best of the worst list - which totally rocks btw! Ü).

    Anyways, I am a Mexican but my mom lived in Spain for about half of her youth. I would not know from personal experience if Spaniards in general have affinity for Spanish speaking countries in America, but I can make an educated guess that the answer is: NO. I would gather it is more of an appreciation for those poor third world countries so much enhanced by their presence grazing this continent way back when...except for Manu Chao of course (otherwise, where would his music career be?). My mom always says that Spanish people were constantly shocked she was Mexican. Why you ask? She was beautiful, educated, and so not matching the sombrero, tacos, and tequila stereotype...I know, right? Where's the cactus?!

    Living in a touristic spot I've met at least a couple of Spanish expats (and even third/fourth generation Mexican families with Spanish origin) who refused to let go of their accent because THEIRS is the proper "castellano". Perhaps it is, but then, I would think that when in Rome...of course that may demerit the blue eyes and blond locks they seem to be so proud of. I don't know...

    I can for sure tell you that Mexico, in general, feels no affinity for "la Madre Patria" as it is generally perceived that they came, destroyed, and conquered via violence, disease, and all kinds of abuse. I would venture to say that most of South America has equal sentiments of having been victimized by "conquistadores" (Spanish, French, and Portuguese) and fleeing migrants (English, Italian, German, Dutch, and so forth) at some point. I know it is somewhat irrational as no one can really go back in time or into an alternative reality and see whether things are really worse off or perhaps way better off (probably the second - except for the all killin' and the destroyin' of our patrimony...triffle things, really...) So, who's to know? Not to mention, that most of us are product of a ginormous melting changing the past would result in the non-existence of most of the current population. I wouldn't do it...

    I am sure Siltha may have a more comprehensive, hopefully kinder appreciation than my own with this regard, but as a Mexican that has met some really stuck up Spanish persons in Mexico...this has been my experience so far. Hope it helps!

  16. Haha! Just saw everybody else's bit on Spanish appreciation of Spanish speaking!...I knew it! At least is mutual..sorta. Ü

  17. I live in Spain so I can tell you that more than half of those Japanese restaurants are probably just Chinese buffets. Also most Spanish people call all Asian people chinos. I don't think there is a very positive attitude towards Chinese immigrants. Spanish people don't hate the Chinese but don't exactly love them either

  18. Hi,
    I am a Spanish guy and I will try to answer to some of the questions.
    I have to say that I agree with Siltha, but not the answer about Franco.
    Even though I do not support him, it still draws much support, and I will say it has the same level of support of Park Chung-hee.
    4. About the tapas in Granada, you can also get them in many other cities. It is normally more common in the south parts of Spain, but still if you go to Salamanca (1 hour ride to the northwest of Madrid) you will be in one of the best known city for its tapas. Still Granada is one of the best places to have tapas.
    5. Regarding the crisis I think is too early to see the changes that it will bring to the society. Here in Spain the worst of it is yet to come. One of the main changes is that people are growing more and more disillusioned with all the political parties.

    7. I do not agree with what is being said by JC. We have one of the most important things in common, which is sharing a same language. I have been living in NY for one year and some of my closest friends were Mexicans and Argentinians. Of course there are some prejudices involved, but normally we tend to criticize the cultures and people that are closer to you.
    I have travelled for two months in South America, and even though sometimes I was reminded that we the Spanish, took the wealth away (something funny to me because the people telling me that normally had a European appearance and were descendants of these conquerors) it were rare cases.

  19. My 2cents here.
    I'm a 28 year old Spaniard, graduate of History and Asian Studies, who has often travelled and even temporarily lived in Asia.

    (2) Dealing with Franco and King Juan Carlos I, i'd come to say that the image most Spaniards have of him isn't good by any means. Right now Spain is, somehow, a quite liberal country, where interracial marriage and same-sex marriage are quite common and mostly tolerated and where the level of social freedom is, for the most part (yet not always) pretty huge. So looking back at the days and hearing the stories told to us by our parents and grands, or watching the many TV series and movies that portrait this period, can be a shock. Yet still, the real situation was that the Republican government failed to succeed in achieving a strong and united state. Political violence, the appearance of armed groups and the insecurity were quite common. We must admit that Franco put an end to most of that, yet in a way that leaves a lot to be desired (nearly 1million people killed in the war and nearly 200,000 executed or dying in prison in the 12 years that followed). However, we can't be so demagogic and say that Republicans (and, for being more accurate, the radical left-wing groups associated to the Republican government) didn't execute or commit atrocities. Sure they did. So right now, we must live with the eternal doubt. If the Republicans had prevailed odds are that we'd now be a modern republic like France or either be in a shape pretty similar to that of those of the former Soviet bloc, like Hungary, Poland or Bulgaria.

    As for King Juan Carlos, things are not so simple. It's true that he was designed King by Franco in the late 1960s. But let's take a look at it. He's the grandson of Alphonse XIII, the king kicked out by the Republicans back in 1931. When Franco came to power in 1939 he never allowed Alphonse to return to Spain, and refused to give the crown to Alphonse's son. He allowed young Juan Carlos to come to Spain in the 1940s to attend a naval academy, later allowing him to live in Spain permanently. Yet all over the 1950s and the 1960s there was a strong debate wether he'd be the next king after Franco's death, or if the title would go to one of his cousins, who was married to one of Franco's relatives. Hence, i'd say it'd also be pretty interesting to ask Juan Carlos how does he (nowadays) and how did he (back then) feel about Franco.

    Nostalgics of both blocs, the republican and Franco's ultra-nationalist are still there. But as time passes by and more generations of Spaniards are born, their strength is quickly diminishing. Yet support for the monarchy is also going down...

  20. (6) & (8) - I'd say Chinese restaurants are much more common than Japanese ones here. In fact, we can boast being the only western country on earth in which all towns with at least 5,000 inhabitants do have, at the very least, one Chinese restaurant. Japanese and Thai restaurants are becoming very popular as well, of course. As for why does Madrid have a much larger amount... well, i'm not sure, but it may be because one third of the Chinese immigrants in Spain do live in the Madrid area and nearly two-thirds of these Japanese restaurants or Asian buffets are owned by Chinese.

    As for the general feelings of the Spaniards toward the Chinese, i'd point that we usually consider them to be extremely hard-working and industrious people. Also respectful and polite. Crimes committed by Chinese here are few and, for the most part, the damage caused by them stays within their community. Yet there are still some negative views, for sure. Among them is the fact that people who open a small business in some parts of Spain are exempt of paying several taxes for some years. So many Chinese do open their business and when the tax-free time is about to expire, they sell it to a FOB relative. At the same time, some of them do just relate within their community (something that is not so common as more and more educated Chinese are coming here and more Spain born Chinese are roaming the streets these days) and some do not really bother to learn the language further beyond the "1KILO OF RICE COSTS 3EUROS" thing (this is also disappearing, however).

    It's true that many Spaniards may use the word "chino" to refer to any East/Southeast-Asian, but it's not a racial slur nor a derogatory term (this must be clear). It's just that the overwhelming majority of Asians in Spain are either Chinese or Filipinos (we have the 4th largest Chinese community in Europe). As a fair-skinned and fair-haired 1m84 guy, you can also imagine that i have been continuously referred to by all sorts of names or terms while in Asia: lao wai, gaijin, bule, yankee, tay, kano, farang (mistaken for an American, a Brit, a German, a Russian, an Australian...), so a little bit of "chino" to some Koreans doesn't hurt. Does it?

  21. And, finally, the everlasting question about "HOW DO SPANIARDS FEEL TOWARD LATIN AMERICANS".

    Haha, this may be a bit complex one.
    We do like to keep our bond with them, for sure. But it's also true that many Spaniards do look down upon on them. Why? Well, it's not for historical reasons or grudges, and i would say it's not for racial reasons either, which is what most people here seem to think.

    Let me begin saying that we do not have a complete aversion for them and that Spain IS NOT AN ANTI-LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRY. With more than 2million Latin Americans living in Spain, it's weird to find a Spaniard now who doesn't have a LatinAmerican friend, co-worker or relative (i do have Argentinian relatives and a Venezuelan aunt, myself). And, if we hated Latin Americans so much, why would 2million of them be living here in the first place? And while studying or travelling around a remote country it's not difficult to find many Spanish-speaking guys forming their own bunch of friends. I got some pretty close friends from Argentina, Guatemala and Costa Rica from the time in which i was doing some research in Vietnam, and we never had any problems.

    It's true that they usually come here to take the jobs that Spaniards don't want to do (domestic service, waiters/waitresses, working in the agriculture, etc) and many of them have joined the Spanish Army, being wounded and even killed in action (which deserves all our respect and recognition). The general "disenchant" that Spaniards have for Latin Americans comes from several sources. In some of them the Anti-Spain propaganda is still widespread (most notably Mexico and left-wing countries like Bolivia or Venezuela, as you could see in the comment from the Mexican girl). They continuously blame us for their poverty and current situation. For us, they are the mixed descendants of the conquerors they bash, not us. We're the descendants of the Spaniards who remained in Spain, never setting a foot on Colonial America. So in the 21st century, after being an extremely poor country and having suffered a devastating civil war, Spain is a quite developed country and no Spaniard keeps any of Cortes' gold in his cellar. But these guys live in countries that are the main gold and silver exporters on earth, and some are also rich in petrol. Yet they live the way they do. So many Spaniards may consider many Latin Americans as lazy, having no manners and being uncultured people (not that we're the brightest guys around). Spain still gives tons of economic and humanitarian aid to Latin American countries (with the Departamento Iberoamericano de Cooperacion y Desarrollo) giving millions of Euros to these countries from our taxes.

    Equally, Latin Americans are, along with Romanians and Moroccans the foreign communities that commit crimes more often. Some extremely violent cases are starting to take place here involving their communities. You can imagine that for a country of 47million inhabitants in which "only" 250 murders were reported last year, violent crime makes a deep social impact and, just like everywhere else, violent crimes committed by foreigners, make it even deeper.

  22. Very late to the party, I know, but I'm going to work through these answers.

    1. Cod. Are people in Spain aware? Some are. The topic is written about and presented in the media. Some people have taken this in, many others are oblivious. The message that has reached consumers is that cod, particularly dried cod, is expensive. Back in 2005 (not long after Spain changed to Euro from the peseta, a time when the cost of living had already increased drastically) the average price of a kilo of salted cod would have cost about 8 Euros. By 2012 it was closer to 12 Euros a kilo. Also, by the time you visited, Spain, the largest consumers of fish in Europe were eating just over 26kg of fish a year. Out of that, 0.88kg is fresh and frozen cod. The third of a kilo of salted cod the average Spaniard eats in a year is separate to this.
    Data source:

    If you are interested in this topic, and wonder about how knowledge of the disappearance of cod can have such a negligible impact on consumers, look at England. A third of the world's cod is eaten by the Brits and most of the fish sold and consumed in England is cod. This Anglo-Spaniard visited a few fish and chip shops in London ten years ago when news about the decline of the cod was at its height and asked if these shops sold any other fish other than cod. The question seemed just as bizarre to the people working at the shop counters as it did to nearby customers. No purchase was made, other dinner choices were sought. There are still plenty of English fish and chip shops that sell only cod, sustainability be damned.

    Spaniards, at least, understand that there are alternatives to fresh and frozen cod and will adapt according to their wallet. Salted cod is a special case, alternatives are still new and strange - and mojama (salt dried tuna loins) is a completely different thing. Nevertheless, the time when households routinely had large dried fish hanging in their utility areas and a bowl of salt cod pieces soaking in water on the kitchen counter are behind us. A few homes still do this, but most consumers who do cook with salt cod will buy a small amount of pre-packaged "migas" (literally "crumbs") from the refrigerator section of their local grocery. A little goes a long way. When it comes to eating cod, the Spaniards are doing it in a much more responsible way than the English.

  23. 2a. This is perhaps the hardest question for the Anglo-Spaniard given her age (mid 40s). Only Spaniards who are over 50 have a direct recollection of his rule, younger people do not generally (in the Anglo-Spaniard's experience) talk about him much. First impression of the dictator, from this writer's point of view, was in learning the words popularly sung to the Spanish National Anthem as a young child
    "Franco, Franco, tiene un culo blanco, porque su mamá lo lava con Ariél"
    (Franco, Franco, has a white bottom, because his mother cleans it with Ariel - a washing detergent which famously washed whiter than white).
    The most palpable reaction to Franco's rule came during and after the failed coup d'état in 1981. it's something even I as a 10 year old watching in London remember just as every Spaniard does (most with horror).
    If there had been lingering mainstream support for a return to a dictatorship, it didn't survive this coup attempt, certainly not in any meaningful way. Not to say that no ultra right wing supporters remained, all Spaniards come across them, and their dispersal is influenced by the prevailing politics of each region. As this Anglo-Spaniard is from the South East of the country (where Franco was fiercely resisted) this has influenced her views and those conversations she has had with civil war survivors. Those from other communities will certainly have different experiences, but as mainstream coverage and discussion of the civil war was purposefully suppressed - see - it was not easy to get a sense of how those from other parts of the country felt.
    You can learn something of the remaining remnants of Francoism by reading about Falangism
    The sort of Franco-loving, Falangist leaning a-hole one occasionally comes across has been lampooned beautifully by the satirical "magazine" El Jueves (the Spanish Charlie Hebdo) in the "Martínez El Facha" series, vignettes were even collected for a novel. A more modern and younger version of this archetype can be seen in the Santiago Segura Torrente series, a dreadful, dark, but nonetheless, very recognisable caricature. Torrente is, of course, an exaggerated version of the kind of Fascist minded male one still comes across, but the awful truth (and the reason why the character makes so many Spaniards cry with laughter) is that the exaggeration isn't as extreme as one would expect or wish for. If you can find the first or second Torrente movie I'd recommend it to get a glimpse of Spain's unsanitary underbelly.
    Part B - Monarchy - next.


Comments are not available on posts older than 60 days.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...