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.
'The Hotel Algarrobico is Legal' shouts the headline from Wednesday's Ideal. It seems that the building licence conceded to Azata del Sol in 2003 was legal, says the Andalucian Superior Court of Justice. Now, of course, Azata del Sol can sue the Andalucian Government for stopping work and degrading the gigantic building. Should be a nice sum of money – probably more than they would have got trying to run the hotel... or wait, are they going to try and finish it now? The Mayor of Carboneras was also in favour of legalising the hotel, and he recently said it should be finished and used as an old people's home. I know, they could give the penthouse suite to Helen and Len Prior!
The Almería - Murcia high-speed train, when completed, would be the most profitable of them all, according to the Almería business community, which is signing a claim to this end this Tuesday evening to be eventually handed in to the Minister of Progress, after he's finished his hols. Yes, the AVE will whoosh people from Almería to Murcia, and back. There may be no Almería/Granada train, nor Murcia/Alicante one, but how far do you want to go? We shall show those pesky foreigners that Almería is a modern XXI Century province. We've already built the largest tunnels to save our denuded hills from, uhh, the worries of the ecologists. Our new train, once the Government coughs up enough money, will serve for passenger and merchant business both. Impatient lumps of marble, for example, will be transported in just over an hour, at 300kph, from the one city to the other (just look at how successful our Vera to Cartagena motorway is). The Murcians will eat Almerian tomatoes, and we shall eat theirs. We may not have an ordinary rail system in the province - possibly due to lack of demand - but who in his right mind doesn't dream about whizzing from Almería to Murcia and back again?
Forget more hospitals, finishing the Vera/Garrucha road, our 38% unemployment, the issues of the foreign-owned homes, the Hotel Algarrobico, the never-completed coastal motorway to Málaga, the repairs on our historical buildings; we scream for a massively expensive train that disfigures the countryside and must be eternally subsidised by every taxpayer. (It's about spending money on useful things, rather than those that offer opportunities for huge commissions and dubious prestige for the political classes.) In the same issue of La Voz, which runs the story, there's another article, called: 'I never thought they'd close the Zurgena railway, says the last station master'. (Zurgena is an interior town in Almería's north east). The railway, which went east towards Aguilas and on to Lorca and Murcia, was closed in 1984.
Plastic is Good for the Environment (Almería Edition)
Saturday 26 July 2014 - 12:47:28
Well! There I was thinking that the invernaderos, the 28,576 hectares of farms under plastic in western Almería, were bad for the environment, destroying the water table and impoverishing the soil. Nothing, it turns out, could be further from the truth! The invernaderos are huge destroyers of CO2 and, indeed, do much to stave off the threat of Global Warming! According to the always reliable Voz de Almería, the plastic farms destroy some 280,000 tons of CO2 each and every year. Not only that - the unsightly farms are (as La Voz puts it so elegantly) 'the authentic engine of the demographic and socio-economic development of the province of Almería'.
Petter Finne, who ran The Talisman for many years, posts a poem about Mojácar on Facebook. Here's a taste: '...For Mojacar was a haven where the misfits fitted in, Not condemned for non-conformity by mindsets closed and prim. Neither judged on past achievement nor the rank of kith and kin, They were given toleration, and forgiven “social sin”...' Was it like that? Perhaps yes. First came the trailblazers, the drinkers and their women; the artists and the non-conformists: the bohemians. Then came Horizon Holidays and the trippers hotels, small apartments and greed. Along came the abolitionists, the bible-bashers, the con-men and the credulous, the middle-classes and their sense of propriety: the bourgeois. Now we have the bikers, the cyclists, the corrupted, the hordes of young kids looking to grow up fast. Ice cream bars and jellyfish. Petter's poem ends, several verses later, with: 'With Mojacar’s every hillside by apartment blocks polluted And an influx of bland “normal” folk, its character diluted. Sadly, as Mojacar grew, it lost its special niche, Becoming more like other towns beside a Spanish beach'.
Following on from the improbable but true story of the young people from Murcia fined in Mojácar for drinking water while queuing up to enter a late night beach-bar - a story which was well-covered by the national press, we now hear of another similar tale of over-zealous police in The quiet and harmonious Corner of Enchantment (where late-night music is blasted out of the Plaza Nueva during July and August to help the four bars located there). This time, a group of young 'uns were visited and fined while eating and drinking in their apartment with the music turned off. Still too loud? The kids got fined 601€ each, according to La Voz de Almería. Try a different resort next year, why don'tcha!
Those four pesky magistrates who said that the ghastly Hotel Algarrobico outside Carboneras, perched between a national park and the deep blue sea, was built on urbanizable land, were accused in the Supreme Court by Salvemos Mojacar of pettifoggery. Now the ruling has been handed down by that august body. The hotel was erected on legal land, as and when - or if not (says the Supreme Court slyly), then it wasn't for lack of trying.
They say there are 2.2 million Brits living on the Continent in the various countries of the EU. Most of them in Spain. I doubt that the authorities in the UK particularly know where we are and I am sure that the Spanish don't have much idea, despite the very exact numbers furnished on occasion by the INE. The concern is about the stay-at-home British dislike of the EU. I think that it comes down to a balance of ignorance, racism and the Daily Mail. If there were a referendum on the UK leaving the EU (and becoming a small and anecdotal country), most of us 'ex-pats' wouldn't even be able to vote in this spurious plebiscite, whose foregone result would affect us much more than any home-staying Briton. We would lose many of our European-given rights here and - while probably being able to stay - would be classed as non-Europeans with all what that entails. I wonder if attempting to claim a Scottish passport would be the way to go (since Scotland may leave the UK and re-join a grateful Europe). Perhaps the Spanish would allow us to take out fast-track nationality, or perhaps again, the EU would create a kind of Nansen passport for us. I certainly won't go back to the UK, but if 2 million of us did, where on earth would they put us?
The PSOE had a rare public vote for card-carriers (militantes) on Sunday to choose their new interim leader after Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba handed in his badge. While the natural leader (apparently) was Susana Díaz, the President of the Junta de Andalucía (placed there last year by the outgoing and disgraced Griñán): a candidate supported by the ex-King (!) amongst others of the Great and the Good, in the end, three other candidates duked it out, with an eventual win for the Susana-supported Pedro Sánchez who will be the probable candidate to lead the party forward following their primaries planned for November. He's young and handsome: just 42, a university prof and a party member from Madrid (Wiki).
The best hotel in Almería (living in Mojácar, I have to say I really don't like using 'Best' and Hotel' in the same sentence) is the old Gran Hotel de Almería, down near the water. It used to be a place with good food, a very good bar and a number of scruffy actors with I've-seen-him-somewhere faces wandering through the lobby and out towards Tabernas for another day of filming Spaghetti Westerns. That was before the 'sindicato' put the prices up so high that all the film makers moved to Yugoslavia, ending, as the Andalucians often do, any chance of wealth for the region (ask the Priors about this). It was a proper hotel, never phased by its clientele: an outpost of civilization in the dusty and unloved City. Now forty years later, it's become an anachronism. These days, we want modern. The old hotel, we hear, is now in the early stages of bankruptcy with a debt of 54 million euros. Now, that's a hell of a bar bill.
Competition doesn't work in Spain as well as it might. Tricks, influence, strikes, the protectionism of a 'colegio profesional', the handy application of a spurious law – all are useful methods of tackling what injured parties like to call 'la competición desleal'. But why stop in the commercial world? President Mariano Rajoy is looking for a law to grant the largest party voted the automatic right to the mayorship in local elections. This would weed out those meddlesome small 'hinge' parties that sometimes steal the town by allying themselves to the second party. Who likes the sound of that? The PP, the PSOE, and in the Regions, the CiU and the PNV are certainly prepared to support the obvious. Does this mean the end of the political tiddlers (the IU and of course the thorn in the flesh Podemos included)? Carmen Crespo, the Government representative in Andalucía, says pointedly: 'Government by the most voted list is a measure of democratic regeneration "that all citizens are demanding"...'. Indeed, why stop there: Andalucía is run by a coalition of the PSOE and the IU, while the most voted party was the PP. Of course, a minority president or mayor might not get much done without a few interesting side-deals with the opposition. I wonder what they'd offer. Editorial from today's Business over Tapas. Special offer: Free for the remainder of 2014 to The Entertainer Online readers. (firstname.lastname@example.org)