Friday, 5 June 2015

Easter Sunday In Carcabuey

Carcabuey is a little village situated in the heart of Andalucía. Its citizens make a living from the agriculture, especially the agriculture of olives. Our olive oil has been named the best in the world several times. But this is not the only unique wonderful thing about this stunning village. Carcabuey is an amazing place in which spending your holidays at any time of year is always a good bet.

Easter Sunday is a special day. We celebrate it as if it would be carnival. This tradition dates back over 300 years, when a religious brotherhood included a fast and penance on Easter. When this week ended, people celebrated with a big party in order to quell the hunger from the fast. Since the people who belonged to this brotherhood dressed in purple, we call Easter Sunday, Purple Sunday

In the morning, people go out to enjoy the "murgas", those who go through the village to critique the behaviour of different citizens and the local government. They make this show dressing up in costume according a selected theme, and singing the criticisms from a customized float. 

Just after lunch time, everyone goes back home in order to dress up. At 5 o'clock, a parade begins from a historic village square and goes through the main streets, where villagers join in. This parade is led by a steel drum band. An hour later, there is no one to be seen in streets without a costume. A party goes on in the streets where the pubs and tavernas have built temporary bars and placed sound systems outside. There is music everywhere.

At night, a gig begins playing cover versions of songs that people sing along and dance to until 6 or 7 in the morning. The party finishes with a communal breakfast in the main square.

You can see a brief video summary here.
Please, If you find any mistake or you have another point of view about the information that I have posted, please leave a comment. We can all learn together! This blog feeds on your coments!!

Two-party Predominance Ending

It is clear that we have had a two-party system since almost the beginning of Spanish democracy. Every 4 years, when the polls take place, PP (right wing) and PSOE (left wing) fight one another in order to gain the majority. Personally, I think it only undermines democracy the population and the democracy.

In our two-party system, the parties don’t make a difference when they come to power. During the electoral campaign they claim to be concerned about society's various problems and promise to uphold the causes if they win. Even so, in the end, parties do nothing to sort out these problems and Spain is declining every year; we are in recession, public spending is constantly decreasing, the unemployment rate is soaring, there are cutbacks in education and tuition fees are increasing continually. Furthermore, inevitably people lose faith in politics when they are struggling to make ends meet while politicians become more corrupt than ever.

On the other hand, when the government launches a new initiative and all the politicians have to vote against or for it, any of the members of a party are in theory able to vote in a different way to the party line. If they do, they are punished with a financial and a political penalty. In other words, there is not a real democracy and the population loses faith in that too. They decide that it isn't worth voting. Hardly anyone bothers to vote in comparison with the early days of democracy.

Nevertheless, something has changed in the last elections and now there are new parties appear to be aware of the current problems society faces. I look forward to seeing whether they do make a real difference in our country or, at least, how the two old parties are going to reach an agreement with the new ones.

Please, If you find any mistake or you have another point of view about the information that I have posted, please leave a comment. We can all learn together! This blog feeds on your coments!!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

To Be Married Or Handcuffed

It was Friday. 8th July 2011 and the next day it would be all over. I couldn’t believe it, it had been the most stressful month ever.

The last week had been especially hard. I remember that I was completely overwhelmed; going back and forth, without sleeping, solving every kind of problem you could imagine. I was definitely worn out.

I was driving to the country house where it was supposed we were going to spend the weekend. I was feeling pretty nervous, excited indeed and wishing that everything would run smoothly. I had just left the motorway in order to take the regular road towards Vejer. Suddenly, at a crossroads, a policeman indicated that I had to stop.

He submitted me to a breathalyzer test in which I got 0’0. However, he decided not to let me go. In fact, he asked for my driving licence. I felt embarrassed because my glove box was crammed with so much stuff that I couldn’t reach the document. Finally, I retrieved it and the policeman checked everything was fine. Even so, he began to look around the car and saw that in the rear of the car, the seat backs were folded down and there was plenty of unusual stuff. He asked me – ‘What is it for?’. I just told him about the wedding.

Immediately his face changed and he said ‘If you want, you could be held in custody for several days. So, you could avoid getting married’.  

PS Curiously, in Spanish "esposados" means both; handcuffed and married. ;-)

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Security vs Privacy

In the fight against crime, the increase in Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV in advance) cameras at public places is thought to be recommended. In this way, whereas they appear only in banks, museums, jeweller’s and at high-security places until a few years ago,  nowadays it is very common to see them in public places such as small businesses, parks, shopping centers, petrol stations, underground,… I have seen them even at schools and streets. Many people are opposed to this, saying that it invades our privacy. What do you think about? I am inclined to believe that, like all thinks in life, it has its positive and negative side. 

As a general rule, people behave better when we know we are being observed. In this regard, it is impossible not to assume that CCTV cameras are a good way to instill civility into society. However, wouldn’t it be better if people behaved well without the necessity of installing cameras? In  my way of thinking, it would be better for society and to the fight against crime, to educate and to teach good manners to our children and young, rather than installing CCTV cameras everywhere. I would not only it would be a long-time solution but also more economical. 

On the other hand, criminals can be deterred, caught or even identified through the information recorded by these cameras. That information helps to reduce crime and consequently make the streets safer for people. Nevertheless, whether the information is a good thing, depends on who owns it. Therefore, for instance, corrupt authorities could use information in the wrong way or twist it to victimize people.

Finally, as was previously stated, many people think these cameras affect our privacy. It is thought that we should be free to travel or move around the world without being recorded by cameras. That is a human right which could be seen as a deprived right at the moment we are being 24 hours a day observed.

To conclude, it is important to remember that nothing in this life can be the absolute truth. So, cameras can not be the solution: I think we need to work in future generation’s education, in human right maintenance and in reducing crime (not only with cameras but also with new human methods). If we all work in one direction with all our tools, we will achieve more and better goals. 

Please, If you find any mistake or you have another point of view about the information that I have posted, please leave a comment. We can all learn together! This blog feeds on your coments!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Looking For An English Teacher

Nowadays, the new information and comunication technologies give us the possibility of finding allmost everything on the Internet. It includes language teachers. In my personal experience I should say that this way of learning is as good as others: you can learn at home, on a one-on-one way and normally at a very affordable price.

There are a lot of options on the Internet. I started by browsing for teachers on this two sites:

A couple of thoughts about your search:
  1. I have found it helpful to have lessons at a fixed time, some teachers cannot offer this. 
  2. The italki list seems to change slightly nearly every day and I have no idea why. Some days, one or two teachers disappear and new ones appear. Then on occasions, the ones who disappeared come back, so it is worth checking the list every day until you find one who suits you.
  3. Some teachers have a poor or intermittent Internet connection, which makes it hard to communicate properly.

"Every student has different learning goals and learning styles. Some students may prefer more formal lessons, while other students prefer to learn in an unstructured way. Some students are under time pressure, while some students can learn in a more relaxed way."

So, it's important to take into account a couple of things in your search:
  1. Setting your expectations
  2. Make sure the teachers understand your goals
  3. Try a few different teachers.

That's for now. I hope this post may help you to find your English teacher. 

Please, If you find any mistake or you have another point of view about the information that I have posted, please leave a comment. We can all learn together! This blog feeds on your coments!!

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Time When I Overslept And Missed My Own Birthday Party

Esther, a friend of mine, was born the third of April on 1979. I was born only one day after than her, indeed only a few hours later. We met at University time, and we had a group of friends in which we used to give surprise birthday parties to everyone. It was so funny because we even made T-shirts with pictures and had a treasure hunt for the birthday person to find the presents. 

Unfortunately, our birthdays were always during the holidays. So, we had never had a surprise party. Owing to that, one year Esther and I decided to celebrate together our birthdays twice. Thereafter we celebrated one time by ourselves - going out together and giving a little surprise or present to each other - and a second time with our friends as usual.

Ten years ago, the night between the third and fourth of April, when we became 23 years old, we went to have dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant. That night was one of the most amazing nights I've ever had. It was a really especial night, but it is not our bussiness in this post, so I'll only say that I arrived home the next day at 2 pm.

I was so happy and tired... So, I went directly to bed forgetting to set the alarm clock. We was going to go out again that night. We had an appoitment at 10 pm to have dinner at another friend's house and to watch a film.

I woke up at 12 midnight. It was so late but I thought they would be still together and as I didn't want to stay at home in my birthday, I took a shower, got dressed quickly and went to my friend's house. I had a lot of missed calls in my mobile phone, but I didn't want to call back because I knew they were going to be very angry with me for the delay. Maybe they had been waiting for me to dinner!

I arrived at in my friend's house nearly at 2 am and I found all my friends dancing and drinking at my own birthday party. There was no dinner nor cinema session. It was my first surprise birthday party and I had missed it. 

To make matters worse, a neighbour had called the police because my friends had been making a lot of noise not allowing his family to sleep. So, the police came and the party finished only ten minutes after I arrived.

At least, I had a great night with Esther the day before. ;-)

Please, If you find any mistake or you have another point of view about the information that I have posted, please leave a comment. We can all learn together! This blog feeds on your coments!!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Family Holiday I Didn't Enjoy

I was born in Cádiz, like my brother. However, I only lived there for 10 years. My father is a building services Engineer, and he have had to travel so much for job. Consequently, my family moved many times with him. 

When I was sixteen, we were living in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) and I was studying at secondary school. The family's summer holidays were always the same. My brother and I spent one month in Carcabuey with our grandparents while my parents remained working in Alcalá. My parents took holidays the second month of the summer and we all went together for a couple of weeks to Cádiz.

The beaches in Cádiz were still very unspoiled and natural. They were calm, unoccupied and pleasant,... There weren't buildings closer to them neither restaurants or shopping centers. They were simply a place to relax.

That year I convinced my parents to change the beach. "Let's go to Torrevieja beach this time!" - I told them over and over. I had been trying to persuade them since September and finally my parents had given in. My friends of school went every summer to the same beach and they enjoyed the holidays all together. I wanted to join them. My parents asked me why I wanted to go there, and I gave them a lot of reasons except for the real one.

I knew I was wrong as soon as we arrived there. Torrevieja was overpopulated. There were enormeous buildings everywhere and the people who lived there were always around. The beach had so manuy people that it was difficult to lie down or even to go for a swim. We missed so much our calm and natural beach in Cádiz.

I felt so bad that I told my family why I had told to go to Torrevieja. My parents were very angry with me and they punished me with the worst of all possible punishments: I only could see my friends a couple of days during the holidays.

PS: You could find more vocabulary about holidays and other topics (and its pronuntiation) here. 

Please, If you find any mistake or you have another point of view about the information that I have posted, please leave a comment. We can all learn together! This blog feeds on your coments!!