Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Observations on a Cultural Distinction, or, get off my bloody car!

Okay, that's a tar and feather the little git.......

I have been known to moan occasionally, as I’m sure Miki will testify. If pushed, she would even go so far as to say that it is catching, and that she herself has inadvertently slipped into moaning mode once or twice since we met. We both make herculean efforts to rein in this unfortunate behaviour, with varying degrees of success.

I try not to moan too much about the Spanish. After all, we are guests in their country. I fail miserably, and quite often, it must be said.  I know it’s payback for the way the tourist hordes treated them over the last forty years, and I know we have cultural differences. But I believe that there should be a basic kindness at the core of human nature that transcends culture, Spitting Image’s parody “I’ve never met a nice South African” notwithstanding.

Many years ago, when holidaying here in Mojacar on a regular basis, I would often observe Spanish children blatantly stealing my kids toys from around the swimming pool and brazenly playing with them. Not a word from the parents. Totally not bothered, their little Franco’s were free to requisition whatever was at hand to fulfil their hearts desire, at no risk of reprimand from their doting parents.

Needless to say, yours truly would demonstrably stride over to the little gits, rip it out of their hands , accompanied by an Anglo-Saxon word or two, loud enough to try and drum into their paremts thick heads that they were doing their children no favours at all. But am I wrong?  Were they simply teaching the little Francos to be top dog in the me, me, me society of the 21st.century?  Without a doubt, I see examples of those children become adult fulfilling those criteria today.

It hasn’t stopped either. This morning, I was lying in bed and heard Miki calling out from the balcony in Spanish to a guy. I got up to see what was going on. Unsupervised, his son (around 5 years old) had gone across the road and began pulling at the door handles of our Roadster. He couldn’t open them , so tried to pry open the fuel cap.  It was only Miki’s intervention that caused the ‘parent’ -I use the word loosely- to even acknowledge the action. His answer was simply, “Oh we saw the Smart, it’s beautiful”. Listen Jose, or whatever your name is, you’re MISSING THE POINT! Teach your child to RESPECT.OTHER.PEOPLE’S PROPERTY.   They just don’t get it. the more PC-Wooly-thinking amongst you may hide behind the facade of cultural differences. But I for one, am not taken in by ‘the Emperor’s new clothes”. It is a lack of respect, a lack of manners, pure and simple.

It is the reason why, when we were involved in a dispute at our local Vodaphone shop, having to queue for hours because of the sweeping restrictions on our civil liberties, we were treated with utter cvontempt and disdain. You see, when a culture like this prevails, it is the ones who stand up and say ‘Enough’ that are branded the wrongdoers.

When exactly was it that I turned around and missed the world going ass-backwards?

Kev Moore


May 22, 2010 - Posted by | Art, children, culture, education, humor, life, Parents and Children, writing | , ,


  1. I keep repeating to Kevin that too much moaning is not sexy, having found out that this is the only way to keep him a little bit quiet with his complains 🙂

    Unfortunately I must admit that I agree with him… the only difference between us is that when I get upset, I go first into silence mode, until one day the cup is full and I explode. while Kevin explodes at once every time.
    And one day soon, this is for sure, I will explode against the Spaniards… this morning for example, I acted very much against my normal behaviour. And I hadn’t even noticed that the father was not far away! It’s really difficult to understand how parents can allow their children to do these things.. we have seen already so much worse… children even starting to damage a foreign car with their parents standing nearby and not trying to stop them… oh god, I better stop here, I feel how I get angry 🙂

    Comment by Miki | May 22, 2010

  2. […] on a Cultural Distinction, or, stay ON my bloody car! Reading Kevin’s new post about cultural distinctions, I was suddenly reminded of some photos I took earlier this year. I was […]

    Pingback by Observations on a Cultural Distinction, or, stay ON my bloody car! « Café Crem | May 22, 2010

  3. Hello Miki and Kevin !

    I would make a comment.

    My family-in-law is spanish, living in France but one of my sisters-in-law is married with a spanish guy and lives in Spain. Since the 80’s, I often go to Spain and I am always surprised by the children’s attitude.

    Saying they are “free” is not enough. They do what they want, when and where they want. And without parents’ reaction.

    In the little vilage my sister-in-law is living, people were always astonished to see my little nephews saying “magic words” as hello, thank you, good morning and goodbye… These words are unknowed by native children, except “hola” which is not said, but yelled !

    But it’s not surprising : when I order a beer, I say “por favor” ; adults often answer “si, pero aqui, sin favor” !

    Yes Miki, Spanish people are welcoming, generous and very kind and I appreciate them but, obviously, there is a big difference between our ways of living.

    An exemple ? Have you seen the floor in a bar serving tapas ? No comment !

    Comment by Joël | May 22, 2010

  4. And I was thinking that some of the Canadian children are spoiled brats!

    Comment by iondanu | May 22, 2010

  5. Hello Joel mi amigo!

    Funny that you commented this post, I was wondering what is YOUR experience with Spanish people, knowing that you family-in-law is Spanish… a reason too why I never feel very comfortable writing all these terrible things about Spanish people! 🙂
    Yes, Spanish children are kings. It has been like that since I went to Spain for the very first time, more than 50 years ago.

    You made me laugh a lot with your “sin favor”… great!

    And yes, I saw the Tapas bars floors… quite disgusting! I find anyway that Spaniards have a very strange way to deal with garbage… in the meanwhile there are really garbage bins everywhere in the town, park, etc, but people continue throwing everything to the ground. Even when the bin is only 1 meter away, they don’t do the effort… It is really amazing…

    Comment by Miki | May 23, 2010

  6. Miki, one more thing…

    I am always surprised by the difference between “home-inside” and “home-outside” : all homes I know are very clean, with nice furniture… I have some difficulties to understand how spaniards could be so different outside !

    But, anyway, despite of our differences, they are so kind with me in the village I go (less than 300 unhabitants !) that I love them ! 🙂

    Comment by Joël | May 23, 2010

  7. Hi Joel,

    That is the dichotomy I think, the mix within them. I shall endeavour to focus on their plus points, in the interest of international relations!

    Comment by kevmoore | May 23, 2010

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