Saint George’s day is here again, and with it some lovely weather (it always seems to be sunny on April 23rd). As I’ve mentioned before, in Catalonia today is the ‘day of lovers’ or the ‘day of the book and the rose’. Each year, we’re encouraged to buy eachother roses and books as an expression of love and friendship. I think that, as well as giving the publishers and rose traders a bumper day, it’s a lovely tradition.
One of the funny thing about it is that there are lots of places to choose from when it comes to buying your gifts. You can go to El Corte Inglés, as did one of my colleagues, and buy two roses for €16… but it’s far more normal to purchase your flower either from a gypsy rose merchant (visible on many street corners all through the day), or a stall in your local plaça. These stalls are often (though not exclusively) operated by charities and political groups, so while buying your rose you get to choose which pressure group or political party you want to support.
This year, I bought Gemma’s rose at the Solidarity with Palestine stall. For much less than the Corte Inglés price, I got a lovely rose and a poem (apparently about Palestine). The stall was also selling wallets, tshirts and so on… but I prefer to wear my heart on my blog.
Right… off to enjoy the sunshine!
Every year, on April 21st, I receive a text message from Vodafone España (my mobile operator) that reads as follows:
VF Publi: Hoy, dia nacional de Reino Unido, date de Alta GRATIS en Mi Pais marcando *189# y llama por 18 cent/min ese dia (20,88 IVA inc).+info:www.vodafone.es
Now, I’ll leave out any criticism of a deal that costs me 18 cents a minute to call the UK (“€20,88 included”).
What first amused me about this piece of text-spam was the bit about the UK having a ‘national day’. At first, I thought they must have sent the message a couple of days early and were wrongly assuming that they could get away with calling St. George’s day ‘the UK’s national day’. But no… the truth is that they made an even bigger mistake: Vodafone thinks that the Queen’s birthday (she was born on April 21st 1926) is some sort of national fiesta that we all celebrate and that I’d probably want to call my mum to wish her “Happy Queen’s birthday, Mum!”.
Yes, silly Vodafone.
Or rather, silly Tom. Because after some deep investigation (well, putting ‘Queen’s Birthday’ into Wikipedia), I divined that the Queen’s “official birthday” actually is Britain’s national day. It’s just that no-one told us about it. The official birthday happens one Saturday in June (no one knows when), and so is never made a public holiday.
So, silly United Kingdom for having a Queen who has two birthdays. And silly me for not knowing we had a national day to sullenly ignore. And silly Vodafone for sending me their spam on the wrong birthday. Idiots.
The prime minister of Thailand declared that the country is in a state of emergency today, in response to widespread (and at times humiliating) protests against the current government (the third, if I recall correctly, since the military coup d’etat in 2007). Former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra, who the protestors apparently claim to see as their leader, has suggested that this might be the beginning of a revolution in Thailand.
When Shinawatra refers to a ‘revolution’, he probably means another coup, and though I lean towards Shinawatra’s version of Thai democracy rather than that of the urban middle classes, I feel that Thailand needs to achieve a revolution which no one talks about: abolishing the monarchy. A truly socialist anti-king revolution in Bangkok would probably fix a lot of the problems that Thailand now faces or some travel agencies like koh samui villas.
Chances of that happening: ZERO
Some fucker stole my wallet on the Metro last night. Along with my money, they got my precious Tarjeta de Residencia which had expired and cannot be replaced. Words cannot express how pissed off I am right now.