My nieces visit us here in Spain and they’re amazed at the amount of dog-mess there is on the streets. (N.B. Spaniards use the word caca, pronounced like the first two syllables in the word Macarena.) We find the amount of caca on the street quite interesting. When I was their age, younger even, dog-mess (that will be caca de perro) on the street (in London, my hometown) was an everyday obstacle. The idea that anyone should pick it up and put it in a bag was simply unheard-of. Madness.
I remember seeing an item on the news one night about a town in the U.S.A. (I think it was in California) where a law had been passed forcing dog-owners to do just that. Well, how we laughed! Those crazy Americans! There were a few other crazy ideas around at the time, I remember. Like forcing everybody to wear a seat-belt! Or not allowing them to smoke in pubs and restaurants. What lunacy.
I can’t quite work out why we laughed. I mean, I didn’t exactly like carrying mounds of caca de perro into our house and spreading it all over the carpets. (My mum wasn’t too keen on it either.) But laugh we did, and then, of course, everything changed.
When we came to Spain it was like we’d travelled back thirty or forty years. Heaps of caca de perro and not a scooper in sight. Until quite recently when signs and posters began to appear, like this one in Burriana. Things are changing in Spain. You see more and more people scooping it up. (You also have to wear a seat-belt and can’t smoke in bars and restaurants.)
And in case you think this is just a joke, note that in the UK nearly 100 children are partially blinded every year by Toxicariasis, the disease spread by the larvae of the Toxocara canis worm that lives in a dog’s intestine. I haven’t been able to find comparable figures for Spain, but common sense would suggest the figure would be higher.
So, while I do love living in Spain, there are still some things about life in the UK which are clearly better.
N.B., this post originally appeared on my Zen Kyu Maestro blog in an extended format.
I'll wish you all a happy summer now as school here has just broken up for the holidays. I'm heading for the north of Spain where I'll have my eyes peeled for some more wierd and wonderful things to entertain you next term.
Hasta pronto. JD.