Chapuza – A Spanish word for those little DIY jobs around the house (that rarely get done in this one!), and for DIY or building type work that tends to have been done rather badly.
Take the situation in the communal hallway outside our front door, as seen in the photo above. The wires on the right are feeding electricity out of a neighbours house (who has not lived there for years), into the communal passageway lights (err, isn’t that techinically theft?) They have been like this for some time, and as you can see, the haphazard way they are hanging from the ceiling indicates a chapuza total – a hack job done quickly to save time. Still, seeing as the electricians in charge come back looking completely drunk after lunch every day, this is probably a fairly impressive piece of work – it’s a wonder they haven’t electrocuted themselves by now!
Anyway, learning to live with chapuzas on a national level is one of the joys of living in Spain, and it’s my duty as a long term resident to try to fit in. At least that’s what I tell Marina when she comes home from work and declares my latest plumbing/carpentry/painting job not quite up to industry standard. Oh but is, I tell her, just take a look outside our front door 😉
(Got a photo of a great Spanish chapuza? Send it in!)