Cultural Essays - People of Andalucia

The traditional Andalucian Patio, put simply, Andalucia is a good place to live.
The traditional Andalucian Patio, put simply, Andalucia is a good place to live.

The typical Andaluz

There is no typical Andaluz, although there are typical characteristics. Most live in harmony with the foreign population, although many foreigners (colloquially dubbed guiris, from the word ghirigay meaning gibberish!) live separate lives and, unfortunately, make little effort to integrate. The Andaluz don't consider the Costa del Sol to really be part of Spain and when they come into contact with foreigners and it concerns official business, it can result in a profusion of confrontations and misunderstandings (few foreigners can fathom the Spanish psyche) and does little to cement relations. Spain overall has the most stifling (and over-staffed) bureaucracy in Western Europe and any encounter with officialdom is a test of patience. Official offices often open for only a few hours on certain days of the week and you should take along a copy of War and Peace, as you may be waiting in a queue for a long time.

The mañana syndrome is similar and is where everything is possible (no problema) tomorrow, which can mean later, much later, sometime, the day after tomorrow, next week, maybe next week, per-chance next month, possibly next year or never - but never tomorrow! The Andaluz in particular among the Spanish have no sense of urgency, treating appointments, dates, opening times, timetables and deadlines with disdain. If you really need something done by a certain date, never tell an Andaluz your real deadline.

Many people believe that the soul of traditional Spain is more materialistic than his forebears and he has taken to the art of making a fast buck as quick as any North American immigrant ever did. Progress has, however, been purchased at a high cost and has led to a sharp increase in the cost of living.

Despite the inherent problems that go hand in hand with progress, the Andaluz people enjoy one of the best lifestyles and qualities of life of any European country, or indeed, any country in the world. The foundation of Andaluz society is the family and community, and the Spanish are noted for their close family ties, their love of children and care for the elderly (who are rarely dumped in nursing homes)., Andalucia has infinitely more to offer than its wonderful climate and rugged beauty and is celebrated for its arts and crafts, architecture, health care and technical excellence in many fields. For sheer energy and vitality, it has few equals and whatever it can be accused of Andalucia is never plain or boring. Few other places in the world offer such a wealth of intoxicating experiences for the mind, body and spirit (and not all out of a bottle!). The Spanish way of life is addictive and while foreigners may occasionally complain, most wouldn't dream of leaving and infinitely prefer life in Spain to their home countries. Put simply, Andalucia is a good place to live.

However, the real glory of the province lies in the outsize heart and soul of its people, who are among the most convivial, generous and hospitable in the world.

If you're willing to learn Spanish (or at least try) and embrace Spain's traditions and way of life, you'll invariably be warmly received by the locals, most of whom will go out of their way to welcome and help you.

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