C is for Cesta de Navidad

La Cesta de Navidad – the Christmas hamper.

The way in which businesses thank their employees at the end of the year. The way in which businesses remind their clients that they exist. From large boxes full of drink, food and sweets to the more trendy fruit baskets or luscious boxes of expensive chocolates. I wonder what’s going on this year…

If you are curious as to what’s inside a Spanish Christmas hamper, have a look at the one Graham Hunt from Houses for Sale in Spain got this year…

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E is for Estereotipo

The BBC’s Lingo Show is funny and sweet. It also has my friend Fran as the voice of Queso, the Spanish flea. It’s great fun and I hope that the many children who watch it will pick up a bit of each foreign language and will grow to love the characters so much that they will want to learn languages when they grow up.

I also hope that they will Spain to see that the country is not full of people in sevillanas dresses and eating paella.

For now, I leave you with Queso’s song. Enjoy!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/lingo-show/songs/lingo-show-queso1/

G is for Golpe de Estado 23-F 1981

I don’t know how it happened.

This year I missed the anniversary – maybe I was out for most of the day and busy all afternoon, but I missed the anniversary of one of the scariest days of Spanish democracy and just when I was getting to writing about the event for the AtoZ book, I realised. It’s gone, I missed it.

Adolfo Suarez, who had been at the head of Spain’s new democracy since 1976, resigned in 1981 feeling like he was losing the support of the people. He was passing on the role of president on 23rd February 1981 to Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, when suddenly, there was some noise outside the Congress building. Some commotion, a bit of noise and then this guy with a mustache and a military hat oh wait, and a gun in his hand, came into the hall and said

Todos al suelo.

Nobody knew what was going on – was it a stunt? Indeed, if you look now at the footage, he looks like a clown but then it was really scary. I can tell you, cause I was 9 and I was watching it on TV. (In his book, Calvo Sotelo says that he actually thought it was a group of terrorists dressed up as guardias civiles that had entered the building.)T is also for Tejero, he was “that guy”. The sense of parody increases Gutierrez Mellado (part of the military himself and Minister of Defense at the time), stands up against them and you can see they don’t have a clue about how to react. Luckily they just pushed him around a bit, instead of shooting him in the head.

This military coup kept Spain breathless for one day. The mother of one of my school friends, who was foreign, called my house to ask for advice. What should she do? Send the kids to school the next day? Keep them at home? What was going on?

Luckily, the King stepped up. He asked the Spanish population to back democracy. Luckily, the military did too.

Do watch the videos: the first one has about 30 seconds of normality, making it all ever so powerful. The second one has the commentary of the journalist – even if you don’t understand what he’s saying, you’ll hear the panic in his voice as he sees the machine-guns come out.


M is for Metro de Madrid

Madrid is very proud of its metro. Or should I say that the Metro de Madrid is very proud of its metro.

I’m always struck by the different slogans the Comunidad de Madrid comes up with. Their latest one, on their website, is

Rápidomodernoecológicocómodoseguro
…vivo

Fastmodernecologicalcomfortablesafe
…alive

I do like the tube system in Madrid very much, so here is a short video for those of you who haven’t been on it before.

Enjoy the ride!

Metro madrid EOS 550D Rebel 2Ti from VJ Cookie / Kevin K on Vimeo.