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 - *Now ten years old (Dec 2015). *To e-mail me - write to firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't always answer or open attachments.
Mojácar back in 1960 was a pile of rubble. Few people lived here - maybe not more than 600, a far cry from the 8,000 of the 'twenties. The Civil War was one cause for Mojácar's collapse, people left (hurriedly) as Mojácar was Republican (communist) during the terrible struggle that assailed Spain. Some 'fascists' were murdered - the priest, the bank manager and so on, and others left for the Nationalist lines. After the war, the Francoists had their revenge. More people left - often heading for South America. They would demolish their homes, to sell the roof-beams, the lintels, the doors and the rejas... any money they could raise. They had no plans to return. In the fifties, the impoverished village - Franco didn't like Almeria - survived as best it could, eating poorly, including flour sent by the Civil Governor - flour for animal use. The water table had fallen, and the subsistence agriculture had all but disappeared. In 1960, Jacinto Alarcon was the mayor. He had some ideas. Most or all paperwork, escrituras and so on was lost, if they had ever existed. Jacinto began the idea of giving homes - ruins - to anyone who would repair them. Many took him up and maintained a home in the village - there were even a few ambassadors among the new and enthusiastic strangers to the town. Clearing away rubble, it was sometimes impossible to even know where the streets ran. The town was re-invented. A few Mojaqueros who lost what they considered to be their properties, were consoled to find they could build on other bits of land they owned. There was no Junta de Andalucía to interfere. (See The Entertainer Online for daily news updates) One Mojáquero family, in the early sixties, was persuaded to sell land to the State, as Jacinto had talked the Minister for Tourism in Madrid into giving Mojácar a chance. The land, with sea views, was sold for one real per metre to what would eventually become The Parador Hotel, built in 1964. In modern terms - the land cost 666 square metres per one euro. Three euros for 2000 metres. Man, Mojácar was cheap in those days!
La Voz de Almeríareports that the ozone levels measured in Almería City (El Boticario), in Bédar and in Rodalquilar are all above safety levels as recommended by the World Health Organisation. In the station in Bédar, emissions from the various heavy industries in Carboneras and Villaricos - 'particularly in the spring and summer' says La Voz, adding sententiously, '...also affecting an indeterminate number of tourists who visit our province...'. (a new measuring station, in Mojácar, appears to be showing high levels as well), are over the acceptable limits for an average of 55 days per year. The limit being 120 micrograms of ozone per cubic metre of air (μg/m3) for not more than 25 days per year. High ozone levels also attack agriculture, with 'noticeable effects on crops' with production losses in the Levante of '...39% in watermelons, 31% for beans and 26% for tomatoes'. The estimate is that 100 people die from premature deaths thanks to ozone effects in Almería.
For once, the Junta de Andalucía has listened to reason. The plan to build a cafetería and nick-nack shop on the unspoiled beach at Mónsul, in the Cabo de Gata, has now been annulled by the people at the Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio in Seville following the huge outcry from the public. The next war with these 'planners' is the project to uproot all the agave cactus outside Almería City leaving scrub. This would have European funds behind it, so unadulterated enthusiasm from the smellysocks.
By now, as the fate of the Hotel Algarrobico in Carboneras hangs on the decision of the Supreme Galactic Court on Aldebaran, the 409 inferior courts having ruled it legal over the past five years, we begin to wonder what on earth the oddly-named plaintiff, 'Salvemos Mojácar' could be getting at. It certainly hasn't done any 'saving' of Mojácar that we know of. Currently, the group is considering its latest defeat with the consideration that - if the hotel is finally (finally?) proven to be on urbanisable land, then the builders, Azata del Sol, could get an extra seventy million euros in compensation for the politically-inspired interruption, besides continuing work on the surrounding bits of land, which are not subject to litigation. The story is at Europa Press.
Later: another piece of rubbish from the Salvemos Mojácar, this time quoted in the El Almería: 'A favourable sentence from the Supreme Court would bring awful consequences for the entire Spanish State'.
Thursday's editorial for Business over Tapas, my weekly news report: Tourism is our greatest industry, and it is growing each year. No doubt, unrest elsewhere helps fuel Spain’s growth in this field. It seems that everyone chooses a holiday here – it’s close to home, relatively cheap, warm and easy beaches (and the Mediterranean without a tidal pull). The food is good, the drink is easily available and there’s nothing much here that bites, stings or poisons (although the British are very worried about the Pine Processionary caterpillars). Rather than bless their good fortune however, the larger hotel companies and apartment agencies – as have many sectors in Spain before them – are now talking of ‘unfair competition’ from small-scale operators – those who try to make a small living from the crumbs that fall from the table. There’ll be no crumbs, say the main players, and the legislators once again listen.
The Chinese chemical giant ChemChina has bought the GM seed company (and main competitor to Monsanto) Syngenta for a satisfyingly large amount of dosh. Syngenta has a presence in Almería, with three centres in Vicar, La Mojonera and Santa María del Aguila with 80 jobs locally and around 500 across Spain.
A letter to the right-wing British press (Well, The Spectator actually, following a silly anti-EU article): There are a couple of million of us Brits living in Europe and we have a few worries about this referendum of yours (naturally, we aren't allowed to vote). Firstly of course, should we all be coming home again after twenty or thirty years or so to put 'shoulder to the wheel'? Where will we stay - on Salisbury Plain perhaps in Quonset huts erected by your Polish labour-force, or maybe just in your guest bedrooms? I'm told the pound will drop about 20% if you leave the EU, so should we change our euros now, or wait until we get 'home'? What are the winters like, should we bring our floaties and swimming things? Can you buy decent bread there now? Is it true a pint of beer costs over five pounds? This thing about driving on the wrong side of the road is worrying, we are all getting on a bit over here and could easily have a momentary lapse. Perhaps you could put up some signs. Is the NHS still going strong, we may need it rather a lot. By the way, for our own piece of mind - is there anyone in authority who can tell us what to expect... beyond a destroyer parked in our local harbour and instruction to bring 'one small suitcase, no pets and no foreign companions'?
Where would you find a train robber, an English freebie and me all in the same sentence - the same Spanish sentence that is? The cyber newspaper El Español sent down a reporter to find out about Gordon Goody's life in Mojácar, bumped into some likely looking types in Angie's bar and wrote a very good article.
That irritating stretch of road between the Garrucha Las Buganvillas roundabout and the noble City of Vera is to be fixed. Yes, they did a bit of it nine years ago in 2006, a kind of trunk road thing, for a couple of kilometres and then ran out of juice. There are some trees growing on the land they cleared next to the old road. Now, we are told that work on this the road will be started later this year. 18,000 vehicles (apparently) use it every day!
Lijar is a tiny and evidently somewhat truculent pueblo in the interior of Almería. It is best known for having declared war on France, the whole of France, in 1883 and reluctantly signing a peace treaty with the Gallic Nation a century later in 1983. Wiki has the story.