News, opinion, essays and links for residents and friends of Mojácar, Almería.
This site, started in September 2002, is called The Entertainer Online to continue The Entertainer name, the name of a weekly newspaper started by me in 1985 which ran without interruption throughout southern Spain until 1999 when a three year option to buy was taken by staffers. They never concluded the deal, or paid me, but changed the name when the option expired in April 2002 instead. Que vamos a hacer.
Overview of this site (Sections at bottom of page)
*Rambeau’s Diary – a blog *Freebie-Jeebies® – Some relaxed comment on the poor quality local free-press *Fallout – quotes from other sites *National News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Local News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Essays: Various imput *Links about Spain (see top of page) about 200 useful links, including my other blog Spanish Shilling *To e-mail me - write to email@example.com. I don't always answer or open attachments.
They were going to expropriate some land in Cuevas to build a tortoise sanctuary (so cute). But then someone said, 'Hold on a minute, isn't there one in Bédar that cost 617,195 euros to build; so what's the deal, why not send our precious tortoises there?'. A fair question. but the Bédar 'Casa de las Tortugas' is, shut. It has been - baring some rumoured private jollies - since 2008 (Ideal). Bad enough, what with owning a local tortoise now considered a crime (up to two years in prison, plus a fine), but the sanctuary in El Valle, Murcia isn't in much better shape either, with a recent report of '2,642 tortoises handed in to the centre since it opened, of which only 76 have survived'. The rest, apparently, destroyed by the on-site staff. There's a third centre, where Seprona is said to bring those animals which have been handed in by a nervous public, up in the high hills of Vélez Blanco. It's called La Centro de Recuperación de Especies Amenazadas (CREA). Where they no doubt live their lives peacefully... until the winter snows arrive. Apparently, the centre has instruction from the Junta de Andalucía to send many of them to Morocco (which really helps their protection in Almería and Murcia). The others - catch a cold, tortoise flu, or freeze to death. How You Can Help. If you see a tortoise, pick him up gently and put him down somewhere in the campo. As far away from any stray ecologist as is possible.
If you are the sort of person who enjoys a little flutter now and again, you should be heading out to the lottery shop to have a crack at La Primitiva, the unlikely combination of numbers, chosen by you, which can bring untold wealth. I'm not kidding - the prize on Thursday 8th is worth 97 million euros. Ideal even tells you which are the most likely numbers, here. What on earth a normal person would want with 97 million euros is beyond my understanding. He'd certainly get lots of new friends, really fast. Which is why the lottery people ship you out on the next flight to Bermuda (which I imagine must be jumping with the most vulgar and horrible people you could wish to avoid...). Why not have 97 prizes of a million euros each - which is exciting enough for any but the most hardened promoter's blood. Jeez mama, what happens if there's a 'roll-over'. How much would the next one be worth? My favourite lottery is the Christmas one. You buy one (one!) ticket now for 20 euros, or 23 euros from a club, and you sit on it until a few days before Christmas. During those weeks and months, you can dream of your new neighbours in Bermuda, of your Lear-jet, your Mercedes and your young bomb-shell girlfriend. Ahhh... ...and then when you lose, you can reflect that, one way or another, you more than had your money's worth.
It was 'Name an Asshole' on Facebook the other day. I thought of a few people who had done me and Barbara massive damage over the years (usually meaning, they ripped us off); and then I thought, well, they probably ripped off lots of other people too, and will no doubt have to face themselves and their actions on their Deathbeds (and maybe beyond). Oddly, despite living here most of my life, none of them were Spaniards. Heh! So, let Karma take care of it, and keep your head down... Me, I forgive them. ...As for Facebook, how about a few more jokes, pretty pictures and stories: and a bit less hatred?
The prestigious Entertainer Foreigner of the Year award for 2015 goes to Bédar councillor Marian May Simpson. Marian, a keen and well-known local artist and writer, was elected as part of the PSOE ticket for Bédar this past May. She is in charge of Turísmo and Atención Ciudadana, but evidently is also active in Cultura for the village and has brought about much change through her energy and enthusiasm. Bédar's Moors and Christians will never again be a lacklustre affair. Marian has also encouraged an energetic Fiesta Andalusí for Bédar during August, with massive foreign participation. Above all, Marian has helped enormously to integrate the British into Bédar life. (We wish we had such a councillor in the Mojácar Government)
Macael marble, famous for its versatility and design, may not necessarily be marble mined in Macael (Almería, up by Albox, where the 'illegal houses' rather stopped a second industry for the region). Indeed, a cargo of 400 tons of Turkish marble (from Izmir) has just been offloaded in Almería harbour, to be carved and shaped by Macael artisans.
The two ill-matched independence parties JXCI (the main coalition led by Artur Mas) and the CUP, an 'anti-system' left-wing party, have enough seats between them (62 and 10 respectively) to form a government for Catalonia, if both parties remember to keep their eyes on the plot... (Later: CUP says it wont support Artur Mas, so now everything is in the air...). Meanwhile, as everybody won / everybody lost in the Catalonian elections; an interesting sub-plot arose, with the Partido Popular dropping away (11, down from 19) and its nemesis, Ciudadanos, gaining a number of deputies (25, up from 9), not only making it the leader of the Catalonian Opposition (whatever that’s worth), but also a strong contender for the leadership of the Centre Right in Spain. Albert Rivera is young, attractive and evidently suitably patriotic without being seen as an old-fashioned crocodile (‘un caimán’), as Rajoy and his group are increasingly being labeled. Furthermore, the Ciudadanos don’t have to defend themselves against charges of corruption.
In a debate on Wednesday night TV, between Foreign Minister Margallo and upstart Catalonian politician Oriol Junqueras, Margallo said that Catalonia, if it became independent, would immediately lose jobs and investment. Unemployment would rise to 37% and that pensions would fall by almost half (44%). But, what would happen to Spain? If Catalonia were to leave Spain, then the numbers used by Government agencies would immediately change. For example, Spanish tourism would fall by 25%, unemployment would rise by 1%, Spain's GOP would fall by around 20%, population would fall by 7.5 million, land mass by 16.2% and - Heh! - Real Madrid would win all the Liga games... And a Gibraltarian friend says: '...and we would have queues 3 hours long to get into Cataluna like we do in Gibraltar'.
A couple of people were wounded last night in a shooting in a brothel in Roquetas de Mar. They are now in hospital (they obviously weren't wearing protection) and the evildoers are being hunted by the combined forces of Almería's Finest...
Tourism is based on that obvious commodity: tourists. But what if they don't come? Mojácar's hotels have a summer season, and, sometimes, a winter season. Some like our underrated Parador are open all year long, others like the Pueblo Indalo close for the winter... and many others are open, or closed, subject to bookings. Now it seems that the old people's holidays, the Imserso, are in doubt. In 2014, the Imserso filled 60,000 beds across Almería during the 'low season' and provided for around 4,000 jobs. This year, the contract has not yet been signed by the Government, and nationally, some 300 tourist hotels are affected, including many in Almería. OK, the old boys don't spend much, but they keep things ticking over... The fuss comes down to a rival for Mundosenior (who until now has exclusively run the Government-sponsored plan), called Mundiplan (a partnership of Iberia, Alsa and others) which has its eye on the succulent gig. The contract is worth 1,200 million euros. More here.
While our resort town of Mojácar makes sterling efforts to attract tourists (to help the mortgages of the town's one hundred brightly painted nick-nack shops), the reality is not so cheerful. The swing is finally returning towards full-time residents over three-day-trippers. House-sales are up, according to the agencies, but while flights into Almería are indeed slightly up, visitor numbers are decidedly down, with August figures (88,000 passengers) a harsh 10% drop over last year's score. Other Andalucía airports say their figures are up, Málaga and Seville, Granada and Jeréz... Just almería seems to be in difficulties. But then again, most Almería passengers are Roquetas bound. See calculation here. Murcia, our other 'local' airport, is reporting a 4% drop in passengers for August, year on year. If AENA were to close down a few loss-making airports, Almería could be one of them...