Sunday, August 15, 2010

Of Rumanians

In the last few years a lot of Rumanians have come to live in Spain, because of the expansion of the EU and because you can live a lot better here than there. Basically they come in two type, about equally represented, as far as I can see- gypsies and workers. The gypsies we could, frankly, do without, as, although some of them add interest and colour and music to a wander about the city, most of them are just another lot of beggars and petty crooks, and we already have plenty of those.

The non-gypsies, though, are recognised as being hard-working, intelligent and honest. They will turn their hand to anything, work very hard, learn very quickly and are open and cheerful. In the city they work as waiters, or bar staff, or shop assistants, or delivery drivers or any one of a number of jobs just above the level of menial. In the country they tend to work as tractor drivers or mechanica and so on, again just above the menial. The truly menial tends to be doen by S Americans, perhaps because they don't tend to have that mental agility which gets the Rumanians ahead.

(These are very general observations, of course, but I wonder if there is some difference in the education of S Americans and Eastern Europeans which might account for this. Although it is perhaps more likely to be a result of what impels people to emigrate from the different regions- in S America the poorest and most desperate try to escape, and in Eastern Europe it is the skilled working class who seek the adventure of a better life and the chance to become someone.)

One thing that strikes me about the Rumanians is tha they seem to love the water. The banks of the single body of water we have where I live always seem to be filled with Rumanians fishing, bathing and picnicing. Likewise here at my summer quarters, where there is much more water, you can find, at any place that gives access, Rumanians fishing. And at the more popular bathing spots, families with tables and chairs and awnings.

So much so, indeed, that the first two people drowned at the lakes this year (doubtless the first of many, if precedent is anything to go by, given the numbers of people who congregate there, and the habit some of them have of jumping into deep water after having lunched rather well, even those who can't swim when they're sober) were Rumanians, including a two-year-old girl whose parents' car rolled into the water with her inside it. Very sad. Integration comes in many forms.

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