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December autobombo extravaganza!

organic

This month features my written work in three different places: first, in the totally free monthly English-language magazine InMadrid, where I have a piece about getting your hands on organic fruit and veg in Madrid on page 18 (pdf); second, in the not free (and somewhat difficult to find) Inside Spain, where I describe Spanish eating and drinking traditions at Christmas (pdf here); and, third, in December’s Condé Nast Traveler, where I have a very short piece about president-elect Barack Obama’s celebrity supporters (this one is in Spanish).

You can pick up a copy of InMadrid at any guiri-friendly establishment in this fine city; there’s also a list here. Your best bet for finding Inside Spain is to go to one of the places on this list. And Condé Nast Traveler can be found at most kiosks and all VIPS (this last location is recommended because you can pick the mag up and read as much as you want without buying it).

Lisboa in Condé Nast Traveler

Another piece of mine appears in this month’s Condé Nast Traveler. June’s issue features Lisboa on the cover and my write-up of some not-to-miss spots in the city at about the halfway mark. You’ll find the piece among the folds of a Canon ad, to the left of a map of the city.

Summer ends

Well, not quite, but just about. How can I tell summer’s ending? First of all, I’m back to my old habits. Excuse my absence on the blog, but I had a virtually internet-less summer (which, I can tell you, is a healthy break–try it some time). But now I’m back and slowly but surely I should be updating things around this place. Second of all, last night I baked. Oh glorious ovens, where have you been all summer? I made these and it was like flour and sugar and I had never been apart. A very simple recipe and highly recommended. Baked goods like these just don’t exist in the cafeteria of a monastery or on the hornillo at your campsite.

Comunión

comuniónI shot this photo on Sunday, May 27th on the beach at Sabinillas (map). The girl came walking very decidedly across the beach and stopped at the water’s edge. She was alone. We could only assume it was the day of her communion, though she looked a bit like a bride.

Road safety

April 23 through 29 is United Nations Global Road Safety Week. I discovered this when passing my local government offices in Moncloa and seeing the above life-size model outside. People stopped to check it out, and I’m sure it made all of them think, just a little bit. I hope you do too.

Semana Santa on the highway

For the past several years the Spanish government has mounted a huge traffic safety campaign for the Easter holidays. Between Miércoles y Jueves Santo (the Wednesday and Thursday before Easter Sunday) there are more cars on the road than at any other time of the year in Spain, which produces, as you can imagine, a good number of accidents.

I remember being completely shocked a year ago when, just starting a week-long road trip, my boyfriend and I were greeted on the highway by computerized signs reading, “Más de 100 personas morirán en la carretera durante esta Semana Santa (More than 100 people will die on the highway during this year’s Holy Week).” Chills ran up my spine. Holy crap, I thought aloud, that’s really morbid. My boyfriend shrugged. “That’s the point,” he said.

Basically, the Dirección General de Tráfico is looking to scare people into being careful on Spanish highways. This year’s campaign theme was “Hay muchas razones para no matarte en Semana Santa. Elige la tuya y hazlo (There are many reasons not to kill yourself in Holy Week. Choose yours and do it).” The reasons in the ads range from “Because you dig a girl at work” to “For your mom’s croquetas” and “To not break your head open on the asphalt.” The signs we saw on the highway this year included “110 people dead in Semana Santa 2006,” “Lo importante es volver (The important thing is to return),” “¿Tienes prisa? (In a hurry?).”

Vamos, enough to make you think a little.

But is it working? The DGT’s press releases show that for the past ten years, the number of deaths caused by accidents on the highway have exceeded 100. The hope was that for this year the number would be less than 100, in part because of the implementation last summer of the carné por puntos or driver’s license points. Every driver with a Spanish license is allotted 12 points, which he or she loses by committing traffic infractions. If you lose them all, you lose your license.

This year there were 106 deaths, just four less than last year.

What does this mean? That Spaniards are just dangerous drivers? I don’t know. But this year, the victims came closer to home: two were the parents of a good friend. The figures may look just like numbers, but when you think that every one of those was a life, the numbers start to look a little different.


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