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.
Mojácar, like all Spanish towns, has two saints. The second one in our case is the Virgen del Rosario, who's day is October 7th. To celebrate it, I see on Facebook, the Town Hall has ordered a fresh round of ribbon races at the Fuente (the emotive centre of the mojaquero culture) for Sunday October 5th at 5.30pm, don't miss. We must have ten ribbon races a year. These races are, simply explained, a horse rider spears a ring attached to a ribbon and thus wins the girl wearing the same 'colours'. Indeed, there's so many ribbon races that there is no time for other fiestas, like the Anglo-Spanish Friendship fiesta recently held in Huercal Overa, or the World Tourism Day celebrated this past Saturday. There's also no place other than the village for these celebrations, paid with taxpayers' money (we remember the recent San Agustín fiesta in late August - which lasted five noisy days...). Fun fact: Over half the population of Mojácar, all of whom love living here, were nevertheless born elsewhere.
The Huercal Overa hospital was opened by President Chaves back in 1999, the previous establishment being within the town and falling down. I remember the waiting room in the first hospital, with leaking gypsies sitting on old bits of bench taken from the backs of cars. I remember Mamabel going in to see the doctor, and a glass lamp falling fortuitously from the ceiling, landing on her head. 'We'll start with this', said the medic, wiping blood off her hair... The new hospital, La Inmaculada, was the bees' knees. Clean, large, efficient and staffed with excellent doctors and nurses. Only the ladies at the 'Información' can be a bit churlish sometimes, perhaps sick of having to deal with so many Brits... Now we read that the Junta, anxious to spend all it has on high-speed trains, is cutting back on our local hospital. An entire floor has been closed with the loss of thirty beds and operations are now carried out either in the hopelessly over-populated Almeria hospital, the Torrecardénas, or the one in far off El Ejido. Meanwhile... you can always go private! Voz de Almería here and David Jackson here. *Guess which Andalucían province has the less beds per head of population?
Well, here's a race you won't want to miss - it's the prize-winning 'Stupidest Titled Activity 2014' which this year goes to the World Capital of Plastic Farming: '1st Trail Where Is Limit El Ejido'. Yes, they are all very excited, especially the chap who had the honour of finding, with just a google translator to help him navigate through the difficult Idioma de Shakespeare, the title for this magnificent event, a race across the hills behind the luscious resort.
It's curious how the Indalo has been adopted by the rest of the province of Almería, yet here in Mojácar, we must enjoy the 'drunken Indalo' instead of the more proper one. The Indalo, that upright stick-figure with a rainbow or whatever over his head (a female fertility symbol actually), was first found in that shape here in Mojácar. It was called the hombrecillo mojaquero and brought luck. It was later called 'Indalo' by some bohemian artists (los indalianos) after the first Almerian bishop - from waaay back, Saint Indalecio, now a moderately common Almerian first-name. The sign itself is apparently a variation of the sun god Mithra and there's a version (evidently unnamed) painted in a cave in Vélez Rubio. The unfortunate thing about the Indalo - who's image is these days found across the province, from lorries out of Adra to Pulpí, public parks in Almería City and roundabouts in Vera - is that Mojácar is doomed to use the hunchbacked or 'drunken' Indalo after the original was ceded to an Almerían advertising agency back in the eighties by one of our mayors. Beside the drunken version (alright, I can see where it might work), there's the odd one-legged semi-erect silver creature in a space helmet located at the foot of the hill up to the village - perhaps (and I'm thinking Eric von Däniken here) honoring the First Visitor to the area, and father of the Good People of Mojácar.
What can you do with an empty bank? That reinforced glass window and the gigantic safe in the back room slowly leaking dreams onto the non-slip floor? Why, open an ice-cream shop! Short of counting all of Mojácar's closed branches, at least two in the pueblo (a clothes shop and a nicknack shop), plus five or more on the beach (including three ice creams, a coffee shop and a real estate), the frozen lolly people have the edge. Across Almería, 200 branches have closed since 2008, leaving us with just over 500 left. The main bank for the Almerians (those who don't stash their cash under the bed) is the Cajamar.
Under a photograph of some indignant and scowling British home-owners (that's Len Prior at the forefront), La Voz de Almería (a local newspaper) says today: 'Around five hundred casas alegales ('illegalish homes') can be saved in the Albox area'. This following from the President of the Junta de Andalucía saying that she may loosen things up in the near future. The homes concerned are those raised on 'plots' (parcelas) and they may now be able to petition for water and electric (cue Goon Show's catchphrase 'Lucky lucky thing').
A bit late, but the cochineal flies killing off the chumbo, the prickly pear, in Almería (now in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata) have reached the attention of the Press (if not the authorities). El Mundo says that some experts think that the prickly pear and some other types of cactus will become extinct in Almería, Murcia and Granada within a decade. Meanwhile, the ecologists say that, since the cactus is not a 'native plant', it might as well disappear. A similar argument for the eradication of the potato and the tomato, for example, hasn't occurred to these ill-informed louts, who hold so much power over the countryside.
'During Wednesday's Parliamentary debate on the state of the autonomy of Andalucía, the President of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, announced that it is her government's intention to place a proposal before parliament to CHANGE the LOUA (the Planning Laws of Andalucía) to enable the regularization of properties that are in a legal limbo....We believe this refers to the proposals of the associations to modify article 185.2 of the LOUA with respect to parcelaciones urbanisticas or illegal land divisions' (note from AUAN, following from a report in the Diario Sur titled 'Junta propone cambiar ley urbanística para regularizar viviendas ilegales' ('Junta proposes to change the planning laws to regularise the illegal homes'). Could things really be changing for the better or is it election time again?
Later: The Andalucian Parliament, with the opposition of the IU and the abstention of the PP, approved on Thursday the proposal from the President of Andalucia, Susana Diaz, to modify the Planning Laws of Andalucia (LOUA). The initiative proposes to facilitate the regularization of buildings located on 'parcelaciones urbanisticas' – building plots created from larger pieces of land. The 'Ecologistas en Acción' say they are against the move, calling the home-owners 'delinquentes'. Susana Díaz said that the move was 'to answer a situation which affects thousands of families and that the Government could no longer ignore'. More at El Mundo. A second article, in El Confidencial, suggests that a recent meeting between Ms Díaz and the British ambassador had helped win the day. About 25,000 homes will be legalised.
To honour victims of domestic violence, the Town Hall of Fines (near Macael in the interior of Almería) has ordered the largest sculpture in a single piece of marble ever seen - a rendition of a woman (Picture here). The piece, 4.5m high, will be left at the entrance to the village. A local woman was killed by her husband three years ago.
Spain might be in a mess, with huge unemployment, massive corruption and the looming threat of a huge problem with the Catalans, but don't try and forget all this with a puff or two off of a doobie: what my dad would have called a cannabis cigarette, wacky terbacky etc. Last year, 10,400 people were fined in Almería for having small quantities of maría about their person, sometimes just a joint. New fines for this utterly evil, depraved and antisocial practice, now thumping through Parliament, will be increased with limits between 600 and 30,000 euros as part of the 'Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana' to be approved by the end of this year. Almería apparently smokes more weed than any other Andalucian province, despite its relatively small population.