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.
A posting on Facebook by Chicho Burgo, an expert on the local fauna, under a photograph of a tortoise: This is likely to be the last Tortuga you will see thanks to the ecologists and the Junta de Andalucía. With the new decree (where possession of a tortoise becomes a crime), the fate of this animal is decided. The proliferation of wild boar in these mountains is killing them, destroying nests and eating their young. On the other hand, the wise Andalucian experts have built two centers, one in María and another in Vélez Rubio, the only problem being is that there has never been tortoises in either zone because they will not survive neither the cold nor the damp !!! Most examples handed in to these centers have quickly died of respiratory diseases. On the other hand there are people of goodwill who selflessly have been breeding them with much success, leaving examples in the wild when they are big enough thus allowing them to survive, but now they will be arrested for performing a job that the most wise Junta de Andalucía has failed to do, albeit at the expense of public money. So, say goodbye to the Tortuga Mora. It won't survive stupidity.
Phew, the Entertainer weather dingus says it's going to be even hotter! And, if you are not in the shade (like seated in my car, with no air at all unless I open the window), it'll be hotter still. Is this Global Warming or just two weeks of hell? Depends who you ask, I guess.
Talking of which, I see that 36 Nobel Prize Winners (presumably not too many of them for Literature) have signed a declaration calling for Governments to act against Climate Change... (El País here and Quartz here).
According to La Voz de Almería, unemployment in Almería City is a whopping 38.4% - three points higher than Afghanistan (Wiki here). Anyone who watches the Spanish weather forecast always comments on how the meteorologist always stands in front of Almería on the map, whether its the national one or the one from Canal Sur. This is because no one either in Madrid or in Seville ever thinks about our unfortunate province...
An old article from the Sur in English lists some of the towns which have a 'foreigners department' on the Costa del Sol. These useful departments, run by multi-lingual foreigners employed by the town hall, help residents who don't speak Spanish to obtain the municipal paperwork or services they need. These include Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Estepona, Marbella, San Pedro, Las Chapas, Nueva Andalucía, Torremolinos, Coín, Nerja, Benahavís and Manilva. But, we live in Mojácar. Despite a sixty per cent or better foreign population - of which at least half speaks no discernible Spanish at all - there has never been any particular interest in the foreigners here. Get a translator. In the past, one of the two hundred odd people working in the Town Hall was British. Leslie was employed by Juan García back in the mid nineties. Later mayors moved her sideways into first the Medical Centre (which also needs translators) and later into the 'municipal art gallery' thingy at the Fuente. Leslie is currently 'de baja'. Then, they had a woman from Barcelona who spoke English who was, apparently, let go after the elections, but before the taking of office (and who did you vote for?) Luckily, a foreign department, or at least 'a department for 'relaciones extranjeras', has been opened, run by Mariluisa Pérez, who speaks English and is available by phone. Not quite up there with the Costa del Sol.
It's very hot this week: too hot to go outside. I'm listening to The Doors (here) and remembering Mojácar's first discos, the Pimiento in the village (Marvin Holmes: Ride that Mule) run by Philippe, and the magnificent Congo on the beach. This place was built by American ex-pat André del Amo and friends and was a number of giant round stone thatched huts erected on a sandy piece of the playa. There was a large bar, a dance floor, a disk-jockey's room (with two record players), a couple of huts with seating. All open to the outside and in all, a magic place for a young 'un like me. Soul had just arrived in Spain, and there's no better music to dance to. These days, we have any number of discos. Perhaps the kids can tell me what they're like.
The tiny fly that swarms in its trillions in Almería comes from the blight on the chumbos, the prickly pear. This is the cochineal fly, which has infected over 60% of the province's chumbos (and 80% in the Almanzora area). We have been ordered by the Delegación Territorial de Agricultura to be 'ever vigilant, to detect and act quickly'. (How much do we pay these people?). Apparently, you can brush your cactus and wash it with soapy water, or cut it down and bury it. In extended areas, you can poison the plants. Useful info from Almería Hoy here. What with the infection just reaching the Cabo de Gata - where they have enormous plantations of prickly pear ('an invasive plant from Mexico', says the Medio Ambiente without much interest) - together with our newest beach sensation, the man-eating plankton on Cuevas beach (see below), it's best to just stay home and watch movies about zombies...
Later: There's a suggestion that the plankton is merely a cover-up for an industrial spill by the reclusive Deretil company, which is located on the beach beyond Villaricos. See David Jackson (who also claims 65 people have so far sought medical help) here.
Later: The list of bathers and walkers with respiratory problems has now risen to seventy, says Almería Hoy on Friday, and the story of a possible involvement by the chemical company Deretil is explored (a spill, an employee's death...) here.
Later: By Friday 3rd July, only one beach in Palomares was still closed to the public (according to a headline in Ideal here).
Helen and Len Prior, British retirees whose property in Vera, Almería was demolished without compensation in 2008 on the orders of the Administrative Court when planning permission for their property was revoked and, consequently, have been living in their former garage for over seven years whilst seeking compensation for the loss of their home, lent their support to a group of associations from across Spain, including AMA from Cantabria, AUAN from Almería and SOHA from Málaga, who together represent thousands of homeowners who spent their life savings on their homes only to find themselves facing the prospect of demolition as a result of planning disputes not of their making. The associations had asked for a change to Spanish Administrative Law to guarantee prior compensation to purchasers in good faith if their home must be demolished. The change, to be approved by the Senate on 25th June, is in line with recent changes to the Criminal Code which was amended in March of this year after a long campaign by homeowners groups. (updated from AUAN press release). A telephone call from the Priors yesterday told of their success in helping push the changes through after an audience on Wednesday morning in the Senate. Later: La Voz de Almería confirms the story here.
Tourism may be Spain's biggest money-maker, but it is a fickle business. A few bombs or a really good plague and the next... Did somebody say 'plague'? A local radio posts an item from La Voz de Almería using 'Google Translate': 'A plague forces the councils to prohibit bathing on the beaches of Vera and Cuevas. Since yesterday is prohibited bathing in three kilometers of beaches of Vera and Cuevas del Almanzora...'. The cause of the panic comes from a kind of plankton called dinoflagelates which can have bathers running for the bathroom (those that are considerate enough to not just stay where they are...). In the scheme of things, it's a small hazard which, like our occasional jellyfish scares, will no doubt dissipate in a day or two. Otherwise, the tourists would vote with their feet (or flippers) and go somewhere else.
The radio later suggested 'infestation' as being a better word.
Another thirty homes have been demolished this morning without warning or previous notice. The sixty or so foreign residents concerned were not able to reach their dwellings scattered among the plastic farms of El Ejido, but since they are merely agricultural workers from the Third World, we don't expect any scandal in the Media.
The new Town Hall of Mojácar was constituted today, with only one surprise - the two councillors of the second party Union Mojaquera 10 failed to show (Gas Station Diego and Gabriel). Apparently, they've both thrown in the towel and the numbers three and four will take their places on the Opposition bench. That's politics - fun (and highly rewarding) if you win, four years of tedium in the Opposition (unless you can execute a successful 'moción de censura') if you don't. Or you can quit, and let someone else take over. Again, like Ciudadanos, who did you vote for? In other news (as seen on Facebook, and not yet confirmed), the translator Francesca has been either let go or sidelined. So do remember to bring your phrase book when you finally stagger through the door of the ayuntamiento.
Later: On Thursday 18th at 9:30 am the two councillors from UM10 will be sworn in as they did not attend the event on Saturday. The two councillors will be Lucas John Mayo and María Ascensión Morales Ramos. They are the candidates 3 and 4, seems that Diego Garcia and Gabriel Flores are not assuming their position on the opposition.
At least... there will be two Britons in the Town Hall again (if both in the Opposition).