Ilivetolearn's Blog

November 18, 2005

road signs

Filed under: on the road,Spain — ilivetolearn @ 9:50 am

Our favorite road sign here in Pozuelo is a triangle warning drivers that there is a “Club de Jubilados” nearby. First of all, I love that they call retired people jubilators. Secondly, the figure of the retiree is one of those stylized folks with no actual hands or feet, with a stooped posture and leaning on a cane. Some talented aspiring graphic artist has made the cane into a scooter with the addition of wheels and a line under the feet, or where the feet should be…and also added some wavy dread-like locks to the old guy’s head. It makes us smile every time we drive by.

Other road signs are more baffling than amusing…what does a blue circle with a red ring around it, bisected by a diagonal red line (sometimes with white arrows pointing right or left) mean? This is not exactly intuitive. Bill found out the hard way that it’s not one-way…it’s no parking. 150 euros later, we are careful to notice which way the arrows are pointing. And if this sign has the word “Grua” somewhere around it, don’t even think of parking there…it’s a tow zone. This simplicity, once we figured it out, is a relief after trying to decipher parking-rules signs in New York City. During one of our many futile trips to the Consulate to attempt visa collection, I actually gave up and left what I think was a legal spot because I couldn’t figure out the signage.

All the signs informing you that you are entering or leaving a Spanish municipality are similarly terse. No “Welcome to Hamilton, home of the 1996 Little League World Champions” for Spaniards…they only get the name of their city or town in black on a white rectangle. And the exit is not the folksy “You are leaving Small Town, Thanks and come back soon!” but rather the same name in the same rectangle, with a huge red slash through it. I have taken to saying, “Lerma is forbidden! You must no longer think of Lerma!” as we drive away from town.

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