Several weeks ago I commented how Renfe had staffed the train stations with informational personnel, only to see them disappear the following week. I guess I have to take back my criticism because the very next week the staffing reappeared and I have seen them daily for the last four weeks. The only difference is that instead of sporting a bright red sport coat, they now wear a more subdued tempranillo-colored sweater.
A scant 15 meters (50 feet) from my building a new farmacia (pharmacy) opened last week. The interesting thing here is that OTC items like aspirin or antihistamines are not available in supermarkets like they are in the US. Instead, you have to go to a farmacia. I am lucky that I have convenience store, bakery, and now pharmacy all within 50 meters of where I live. The convenience store is very convenient since it is even open on Sunday morning, which is a rarity here.
A new role
Last week we had our annual meeting of the propietarios de la comunidad (communal property owners) for my building. There are 3 units or pisos and I represent one of them. This year is my “turn” to be president of the association. What it really means is that I “get to” sign checks once a month.
I thought that it was interesting that they didn’t mind that I was an extranjero (foreigner). For my part, I explained at the meeting that I had been president of home owner’s associations in the US several times in the past.
The biggest single regular expenditure for the association is the elevator service contract. That is followed by cleaning of the communal areas.
I received a flier from the ICV-EUiA, one of three political parties that make up the local government. This party is often referred to as the Verds or Greens and they call themselves “ecosocialists”. The ICV-EUia forms part of the tripartite coalition (along with the Catalan Socialist Party - PSC and the ERC, a left-wing Catalan Nationalist Party). The coalition has governed El Masnou since the spring of 2003. The previous 30 years (since Franco’s death) the town was controlled by the conservative CiU party. Local elections are held every 4 years and the next one will be this May.
The flier seemed more of a positive tone listing the coalition's accomplishments and their future agenda. I was more used to seeing “hit pieces” when I lived in California. That isn’t to say that there is no negative campaigning here, just less.