About Me

My photo
I'm spending all of 2012 learning and experiencing new things. This blog is my way of documenting it all, while keeping my family and friends back in the states in the loop. Here's to 2012. Check out my website- Kat Carney Photography

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Crisis

A few days ago we were all sitting around the table outside in the warm Spanish sunshine after enjoying paella con verduras, caracoles, y conejo (basically spanish rice with vegetables, snails, and rabbit meat). It was my first time trying snails. They tasted similar to a clam of some sort. Anyway, the discussion turned to the economic crisis in Spain. At this point I realized I had been listening to people speak Spanish and more or less understanding what was going on. Not only that, but I was responding and adding input also in Spanish. One person said in order for the situation to improve in Spain, people are going to have to change the way they do things. No more siestas and four hour coffee breaks in the middle of the day. Others agreed. While we were enjoying a four hour lunch. Unemployment is around 27 percent in Spain. The average salary is 24,000 Euros a year. None of these people were unemployed, and it would be safe to say they can afford their four hour lunches because they make more than the average Spaniard.

I was in Madrid a couple weeks ago when my friend said something like, "There's an economic crisis here in Spain, you know? Don't really notice, do you?"

And I didn't really notice. People are always out eating, drinking, and generally being merry. Everyone takes coffee in the middle of the day after la comida. The whole process takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. I found it incredible and somewhat insane at first. I always feel like I should be doing something. Well, that and I didn't really drink coffee. I do now.

Americans think that we are in crisis mode with 7 to 9 percent unemployment (I honestly have no clue what it is now, I haven't seen, read, or heard very much American news since I came here about three months ago). But it is three times that in Spain, the land of four hour lunches and a place where everyone has both a home in the city and one on the beach.

In an earlier post I talked about the well dressed beggars here. I think that might be the only place I have noticed an impact of the crisis. There are many people on the streets that look like your average middle class person. Many of their signs read, "Tengo cinco hijos y no puedo darles comer." But every night most of these people go home and sleep in their bed. I often see them smoking while begging, and at times even texting. I think I would give up my cell phone before I took to the streets to beg. There is no doubt the culture and lifestyle in Spain is different from America and it should be interesting to see how these two nations and the rest of the world fare in the coming years.

Happy Easter everyone. This is from the Holy Week processions here. I'll write about these later.

Countryside after a "storm." They don't really know what storms are like.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All great changes are preceded by chaos.