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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't always answer or open attachments.
According toNoticias de Almería, the average visitor's stay in Mojácar is a mesmerizing 4.81 nights (as against a Resident's average stay of about ten years). 177,000 tourists (apparently) chose Mojácar this year.
Ah, Culture. And what is more cultural than a trip to the museum? The Government may insist on keeping the IVA on cultura at 21%, but a visit to see the wonders of our history, preserved for ever in our fine museums, is worth an extra few shillings in tax. Does it get any better? In Madrid, El Prado, home of the finest art from Goya, Peter Paul Rubens, Veláquez, El Greco and so much more. Deservedly the greatest art museum in the world. Even more popular, the Reina Sofía museum for Picasso and Dalí, Gris, Miró, Chillida and many others. ...and the third most popular museum in Madrid, with an expected 1.2 million visitors in 2015? The Santiago Bernabéu, home of the Madrid football team 'Real Madrid'. For a price, you can see the changing rooms, the trophy room and you can even sit in the gradas... Which explains, Best Beloved, why no one these days gives a toss about culture.
Some Bullfights (and Other Fights Involving Bulls)
Monday 24 August 2015 - 10:13:49
I have the leaflet from the Ideal newspaper next to me, the one which deals with the bullfights in the Almería Fiesta. Today's is free and is a Novillada (young fellows taking their first, er, stab at bullfighting). Starts at 7.00pm. Other attractions follow during the week, including an odd acrobatic thingy on Tuesday where they jump and dodge the bulls. On Saturday, it's the Rejoneadores, the mounted bullfighters, including a Frenchwoman called Lea Vicens. The leaflet also explains the 'pases', introduces the bulls and the breeders, the bullfighters, the different jobs, activities and all you might expect. But the last page is intriguing. It warns of the pesky 'antitaurinos'. The page begins: 'Bullfighters, organisers, breeders and supporters must all make a common and determined stand against the anti-taurine offensive supported by organisations and political parties'. The leaflet calls them 'intolerant'. Locally, on Facebook, I see a lot of anti-bullfight postings from Britons who - one assumes - have never been to a bullfight but 'know what they know', throwing abuse on an old Spanish tradition which is supported by millions of Spaniards and others. A bit like sympathizers of the Westboro' Church. 'God hates Bullfighters', as the preachy Ricky Gervais would love to say...
One of the odder Spanish words that makes up the generally smaller vocabulary of the Foreign Resident, beyond 'tapa', 'caña', '¿cuanto es?' and 'coño', is that peculiar word for a beach-bar: chiringuito. The first beach bar in Spain - and still going since 1913 - is one in Sitges, and the story goes that the bar de playa was called 'El Chiringuito' after a type of coffee drank in Cuba by those who worked on the sugarcane - a beverage which was served in the Sitges establishment - coffee filtered through the sugarcane. Why did all the following beach bars use that generic term rather than something more straightforward? Cadena Ser, where I got the story, is not very forthcoming.
Mojácar's oldest resident is Herbert Finch, who turns one hundred years old on Saturday. Colonel Herbert Finch TD, known in Mojácar rather less formally as Bertie, will be celebrating his centennial birthday on August 22nd at home, surrounded by his family and friends. 'Family' of course, can mean an entire regiment by the time you have put in a hundred years, and Bertie is expecting visits from Canada, Monte Carlo, Guatemala, Holland, Tenerife, the Channel Islands and his own beloved England. His dear companion Inge will be with him and, behind the scenes, organising the Great Day. Bertie was born in Parbold, Lankashire in 1915 and was part of the D Day landing force in Normandy. He was active in Antwerp, Cuxhaven and many other areas with his small group of specialists as an 'Enemy Ammunition Disposal Group' – a terrifying job which would later be known widely as a 'Bomb Disposal Unit'. Bertie was demobilised in 1946 and later he rejoined the Territorial Army and in 1947 retired as Deputy Inspector of Ordnance Services Western Command with the rank of Colonel. He moved to Mojácar in 1980 and formed a Branch of the Royal British Legion. As Bertie opens his telegram from HM the Queen this Saturday, his many friends in Mojácar will be joined by the larger public in wishing him both a Happy Birthday and Most Sincere Congratulations.
The sea can have a powerful pull on the bather. The swimming pool can be a dangerous trap for a small child. The lake can have hidden rocks below the water-line. In all, 115 people have drowned in Spain so far in July and August.
Tourism has been good and plentiful in Mojácar (too few if you spend all day hunched over a cash register, too many if you are one of the majority of residents who doesn't run a local bôite). In fact, there appears to have been a slight slump over last year - at least, Almería Airport says that flights and passengers are down over 2014 by 15% and that a Scandinavian flyer has pulled out of the provincial airport. I was just in Alicante, whose flagship resort Benidorm had just under five million overnight stays in the first six months of the year. You see, major tour companies make their profits out of large resorts, with legions of competing hotels in a well-served city. Also key points are a large near-by airport and a modern town hall with a major budget for tourism. They ain't gonna come to Mojácar. Now, in Benidorm, a splendid all-year resort with lots to see and do, there are almost no foreign residents. They live in nearby Altea, where conversely there are no hotels. You see, although Mojácar wants it all (mainly, I suspect, to sell those plastic wrist-bands, those cheap Indalos and those grotesque tee shirts), it's just not a great destination for tourists. There's not much to do apart from ride a camel; there's just the one street to walk up and down; it's a long bus ride away from anywhere... and those who went to Benidorm are simply having more fun. Let's drop the pretense, and concentrate on residential - all-year-round - tourism. We spend more and we look after the place better.
Two items about Spain in today's Facebook page from the Olive Press. One is a bullfighter called Francisco Rivera Ordóñez who has been gored (with a prurient video of the incident, no less). Many shares and comments (you can imagine the timbre). The other, a seventeen year old Dutch girl dies bungee jumping. No comments, shares or interest whatsoever from the readers. Are we so concerned with saving the animals and so jaded about our own species? Does that make us better people? No, of course not. (Links from the web-edition)
The Mojácar Town Hall has complained to the Andalucian health service because the number of doctors and staff at the Medical Centre on the Playa has been reduced for the summer. The Town Hall has produced a press release which reads in part: Mojácar’s Councillor for Health, Ana Maria Garcia, has contacted the Directorate of the Inmaculada Hospital, who are responsible for the management of the Mojácar health centre in order to alert them to the situation it is in, but no more doctors have been allocated as yet. Mojacar Town Hall has requested an immediate and lasting solution, since the lack of staff (in this case a reduction to two doctors) creates a serious risk to both residents and holidaymakers, especially as the town is a much sought after tourist destination which has five times the population at this time of year. Of course, reducing the population by 15% back in January (as many foreigners were peremptorily culled from the padrón) naturally makes Mojácar a less important town as far as the authorities are concerned. We are 6,000 (and not the 30,000 which we apparently enjoy during the summer). While on the subject, it might be an idea to have a translator there on duty, since better than half the patients don't speak Spanish. Indeed - they could get a bi-lingual foreign resident to do the job (just kidding).
There are apparently not enough sardines to go around, says Almería's fishermen. This is because of the 'voracious appetite' of those pesky tunas. So, they have quite properly asked the European Fishing Authority to increase the quota for catching the Red Tuna. Story at La Voz de Almería. How can you help? Each time you order tuna at the restaurant, you are doing your bit to help save hundreds of sardines.