30 September, 2011

The Basque

It is late on my third day here.  We have been running from pillar to post meeting people, buying things I need. I left one pair of my pants in Vienna. I only have two, so it is kind of a catastrophe, but today I found a pair that fit perfectly. Very expensive, but beautifully made. I can't complain. 

I was here five years ago and was surprised to see how much improvement there has been. New turnpikes, new apartment buildings, new airports. There was a building spree all right. And now there is about 20% unemployment, and the building has pretty much ceased.  Most of the money I'm sure was borrowed from Germany, or the Scandinavian countries and Spain, like Greece is in the pits. I know less about Spain than Greece, because there has been little said in the newspapers and television.  But in trouble they are. 
Basque has wanted to break away from Spain and France forever. Neither will let them go. They teach Basque in the schools and all the buildings have Basque names. Yes, everyone speaks Spanish. And though it is good to keep the culture going, it is problematic as well. Only Basque people speak Basque and it ends up alongside English.  Oh well, their problem.

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