Irish language

If only Ireland had the weather ...

The view from Alcazaba, the Moorish castle above Málaga
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh and a big buenos días to the Bluffer's Guide to Irish.

The Bluffer is in Málaga as he writes this and after the spéartha gorma - blue skies and an ghrian ag taitneamh - the sun shining giving temperatures of 26 and 27 degrees for the past three weeks, it's now wet and windy - but still 20 degrees. That's fiche céim Celsius - 20 degrees Celsius so even the rain is warm here.

The Bluffer is staying in an árasán - an apartment in a high-rise complex about a 20 minute walk to and from lár na cathrach - the city centre. The area is made up of lot of these high-rise apartment buildings but this is so different to anything back home.

For instance, there seems to be a bar on every corner and every little square seems to have one. The difference is that people here aren't standing at the counter, knocking back pints or vodka and coke.

They are sitting taobh amuigh - outside and eating. The purpose of going to the pub is to eat while having a few glasses of beer or wine. You'd see tables made up of old and not-so- old men or at other times, the table would have everyone from granny and granda to babies.

While apartment blocks at home might seem threatening there is a real sense of pobal - community here. The Bluffer hasn't seen a single case of meisce - drunkenness in the three weeks he has been here.

There is a spórtlann - a gym, three or four bialanna - restaurants and the Bluffer is delighted to say he had his first bearradh gruaige - haircut where he wirelessed away in (basic) Spanish to his Málagueño barber about the merits of Real Madrid vs Barça and Ronaldo vs Messi as well as an aimsir - the weather.

Andalucians eat out all the name not because they are rich but because of the weather and it's cheap to do so. You would never think the region is one of the Spanish areas most badly hit by el crisis - an ghéarchéim.

There is a very instructive map in the weekly newspaper Ahora which shows the rates of people at risk of falling into bochtaineacht - poverty. There is a marked trend going from the poorer south to the richer north.

Here in Andalucía, the risk of poverty stands at 33.3% while next door in Murcia, the rate is even higher at 37.2%. Compare that to Madrid which has a rate of 14.7% but farther north in the Basque Country the risk of poverty stands at 10.2%.

Catalunya is advancing towards independence and there the risk of poverty stands at 15.8%.

Spain, like most countries in the developed world, is very míchothrom - unequal. 1% of the population own 27.8 of the country's wealth while its young people are getting steadily poorer.

A friend of mine said that while the countries of southern Europe don't have strong economies, they do have flourishing cultures and strong social and family ties.

Take your pick.

spéartha gorma (sperha gorima) - blue skies an ghrian ag taitneamh (un yreean eg tatnoo) - the sun shining

fiche céim Celsius (feeha caym celsius) - 20 degrees Celsius

árasán (aarasaan) - an apartment

lár na cathrach (laar ne cahrakh) - the city centre

taobh amuigh (teev amwee) - outside

pobal (pubble - community

meisce (meshka) - drunkenness

spórtlann (sportlaan) - a gym

bialanna (beealana) - restaurants

bearradh gruaige (baroo grooeega) - haircut

an aimsir (un iymshir) - the weather

an ghéarchéim (un yayrcaym) - the crisis

bochtaineacht (bokhtinyakht) - poverty

míchothrom (mee-khohrom) - unequal

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