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The PP Bar v The PSOE Bar

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 27th Oct 2011

I live in the campo, about equally distant from a small village of about 500 residents, and a larger village of about 2000 residents.

Although I wouldn't call myself a social butterfly, it stands to reason that due to there being the school, post office, parks, bars & restaurants in the larger Village, we tend to spend the most of our time there as opposed to the smaller one.

For reasons that I can't quite remember, I had to meet a Spanish acquaintance in the smaller village, who like me tended to spend the majority of his time in the nearby larger one. Even though he was born, brought up and went to school in the smaller village he was frowned upon as being an 'outsider' for choosing to do his socialising in another village.

I met him in the main square and instinctively headed towards to bar where I usually drank whenever I was in that neck of the woods : Nice comfy chairs, facing the sun, in the shade, overlooking the plaza etc.... but it seemed that my friend had other ideas and steered me towards the grotty workman bar in the corner, where you either had to drink inside or lean against the wall in the plaza.

I tried to tactfully ask around the issue of his preference for this particular bar, choosing not to ask him outright why were drinking in such a dump incase it was his uncle's bar or something, until he eventually told me the story :

As with the political parties in the town, there were also a similar number of bars : Two.

Both bars had adopted similar colours : Red and Blue (See if you guess which one had which political affiliation)

He could tell from the look on my face that I was neither particularly impressed, or understanding of the situation : 'So you support the local PP' then I responded.

He leaned forward in his chair and told me that no, he didn't really have any political preference and saw all politicians as being load of crooks, but it was the party of his father, and his father before him etc...

I have always tried to steer well clear of discussing local and national politics with a Spaniard, not really my place as a Guiri to have an opinion, etc... buy I felt compelled to ask why he didn't feel the need to judge each political party on their local policies and what they had or had not achieved etc... rather than simply on a name.

Why also the need for one group of supporters to drink in one bar and one in the other ? - ridiculous, surely in a village so small - how can you draw a line under this thing when there is only one bread shop, one butcher and so on ?

Did the Mayor, or the leader of the opposition actually own one of the bars ?

No, he told me, they didn't. However, it seems that there were a number of other reasons for his alleigence :

For one, if he drank in the other bar it would cause such a scandal that would bring disrespect on both him and his family (I didn't ask - must be 'a spanish thing')

For two, the great uncle of the guy who owns the 'other' bar apparently shot at my Friend's grandfather during the civil war, being on opposing sides, and as such the family shifted not only the bar that they drank in, but political allegiance because of this.

I was halfway through nodding my agreements and shaking my head in consolation with him, when in walked his grandfather.

It seems that 'shot' and 'shot at' can have different implications, and I swear, next time I go into the village it won't surprise me if the owner of the other bar isn't sat having a caña with his great-uncle.

Comment on this Blog

As far as Politics is concerned, the village I live in has problems with legality of more than 50% of the houses, so political decision tend to centre around very local as opposed to national issues. In the May local election the choice was to vote for either Incompetence or Corruption and I, like a further 223 of the 743 votes, chose to abstain.
Mr Grumpy - Sat, 5th Nov 2011
So what side are you on, Mr. Darling Grumpy? Or do you not take sides? I´ve found that when I ask people about politics they´re very cagey. I agree with Alcalaína that the Civil War divide is still very active.
Mo - Sat, 5th Nov 2011
It is these idiosyncrasies that make Spain such an interesting place to live though... who would have thought that there could be so many 'faux pas' that a Guiri could make... ?
Mr Grumpy - Fri, 4th Nov 2011
People in Spanish villages have long memories and it could well be that these divisions go back to the Civil War. The PSOE (socialist party ) represents the Republicans and the PP the right-wing Nationalists. We have families in our village who don't speak to each other because they were on opposite sides 70 years ago - you have to tread carefully!
Alcalaina - Fri, 4th Nov 2011
Not at all Mo, my Parole Officer and Anger-Management Councillor will all vouch for what a darling I can be.
Mr Grumpy - Fri, 4th Nov 2011
I´m very glad not to have some funny catalanny thing in the mix (all the nationalists will be after me now). We do have quite a lot of Romanian but we can ignore that. So you´re Not Sweet. If I ever run into you I´ll greet you with a perfect US Marine type salute!
Mo - Fri, 4th Nov 2011
The language is generally Valencispanglish - you don't know how lucky you are up in your neck of the woods having just the two languages to think about - my 4 year old speaks to me in a language I don't understand half of the time. As for sweet, said daughter insists on greeting me with a firm handshake whenever I collect her from school...
Mr Grumpy - Thu, 3rd Nov 2011
Brilliant, it´s all collective madness! You´ve shown up the "Two Spains" perfectly. And if I may, well I´m going to, ask if you had such conversaciones in Spanish. If you did, you´re doing really great with the old lingo. I like your humour Mr. Grumpy. Could it be you´re actually quite sweet?
Mo - Thu, 3rd Nov 2011

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