Friday, February 12, 2016

 

Mojácar's Broken Dream


Mojácar, as has been said before, could have been 'a player'. Here is an ambitious plan dating back to the early years of the 21st Century to build a bus station, offices, shops, apartments, a multi-story car park and a hotel in the street called Avenida de París which runs past the Pavana along under the three-story post office, library and police station that is (was) under the Mirador, the marble view-point from the town square which is now covered in tables and chairs from four local bars.  The same building, by the way, which has been condemned and is now to be torn down to build another town hall there.
The project came from a Lorca-based businessman and the Town Hall voted it down. It would ruin the view from the Mirador, they said.
Another disastrous mistake for Mojácar.




Tuesday, February 09, 2016

 

Sin Título

Maybe too much for Facebook... The truth is out there!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

 

Sails and Sea Horses

A nice picture from Almería. The coast to the east towards Costacabana is 'unspoiled' - as a dreamer might call it - since there is little more than a pedestrian route and a road close to a narrow pebbly beach, covered nonchalantly with garbage. On the other side of the road, instead of expensive homes or fancy restaurants, there are tumbled down plastic farms: invernaderos. Who plans these things in the Almería Town Hall (or is it the ghastly will of the Junta de Andalucía)?
Still, ignore all that - Almería is pretty and ideal for great photographs - even from a mobile phone...

Friday, January 29, 2016

 

El Palacio de los Chavarrí, 1956

A young man called Zach Allen spent a few months in 1956 staying in a palace between Garrucha and Mojácar. This was the Palacio de los Chavarrí, now repaired, rebuilt and turned into a hotel called Fergus.
In those days, when there was almost no one living in Mojácar - they talk of just 600 citizens - Zach must have stood out as being very foreign indeed. His hosts were the Garrigues-Walker family - the father was Antonio Garrigues Diaz-Cañabate, later to become Spanish ambassador to both Washington and the Holy See. This was their summer house, they lived in Madrid.
Below his lodgings, women worked the tomato plantations. No one bathed on the beach; there were no tourists, no restaurants. Nothing.
Zach had his camera and here is his picture of the place where he stayed.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

 

Some Friends


There's nothing like a barbeque with some Spanish friends, a few horses, some wine and a guitar.

Monday, January 04, 2016

 

The Almería Baths

The hammam, the Arab bath-house, is the perfect place to take your weary body - and there are a couple of them in the city of Almería. The best one is under a small hotel in the town hall square. It's called Aire de Almería. Here's their gallery.  The baths, in a high-roofed cavern, are quiet and the lights are dim. Music plays faintly. Incense wafts around healthily. I had gone with my companion to take the waters. We had remembered to bring our bathing costumes (mine is a minuscule red Speedo I've had at least thirty years) and enough money to get in upstairs (40€ each for ninety minutes splash plus a 15 minute massage). In the changing rooms, we put on slippers and an albornoz, a dressing gown. A hostess took us downstairs. I happen to be extremly shortsighted (I wear bottle-bottom contact lenses) and also, increasingly deaf. Downstairs, I could see nothing, and I could hear less. Over the distant mumble of the hostess I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of sharp marble corners.
The attractions include a large warm bath (as in the photo, only a lot darker), a (very) hot bath, a freezing cold bath (yaraarrggh, I whispered as I fell in it), a large hydro-bubble bath, a saloon to sip complementary mint tea (if you can see the tea-pot) and a very hot sandalwood-smelling steam room. All perfect, and all confusingly empty - at least I thought it was, until I sometimes bumped into a fellow bather. Disculpe!  After a while a mysterious girl in black notices a coloured band on your wrist and takes you off for an aromatic massage. Very nice.
From time to time, it's good to have a treat, and a visit to the Arab baths hits the spot. And then, just outside, why, there's a bar to re-hydrate.
In all, I haven't felt so clean since shortly after that time my granny made me an ill-advised curry when I was seven.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

 

Forget What I Just Said (No One's Listening Anyway)

(Goodness - this blog is ten years old)

I was trying to build up my Facebook page for Business over Tapas (my hard and useful news for property owners in Spain), so, seduced by that young and guileless look sported by Mr Zuckerberg in his publicity photos, I put myself down for a 25€ punch to get a few extra followers for my site.
It worked a treat - about 100 people joined up within the week, enthusiastic to hear about what's really going on in this country we call home. Only - on closer inspection, they were all Spanish. I had filled out this questionnaire, listing my main attractions as: 'News about Spain', 'Spanish Property', 'Spanish Investment', 'News Magazine' and 'Tourism'. Note: all English phrases and, in all, a pretty good spread, I think?
And a hundred enthusiastic people came back, swelling my readership considerably... only, just who exactly did Facebook approach with its advertising - British residents living in Spain? Or was it Spaniards?
Well, fair enough - who is interested in our little collective of British residents in Spain? Certainly no one who operates on a country or even a continental scale.
Take the TV people, for example. You want to watch English-language TV, then you should be based in an English speaking country. There's no accommodation for those who speak English, but don't live in the UK or Ireland. Learn the local language, conform. It'll make it easier. So, while many Britons watch Sky in Spain, they are all breaking copyright law. But, there's no legal way around it (not that any of us care).
Or the issue of the 'Brexit'. No one in the UK even considers that we émigrés should have the right to vote in a British referendum (even if it is patently going to affect us more than anyone else). We abandoned the Homeland. All two million of us (across the EU). Those in favour of staying within Europe talk pompously of 'exports' in the British press, but never of 'expats'.
The European Government doesn't recognise us either. We are over 20 million Europeans living in another European country. Do we have any representation? Of course not. Without our own politicians, spokespeople, culture, stars, writers and intellectuals, we will never have any voice; or service; or accommodation (Ask the Priors, who will celebrate their eighth year living in a garage in two weeks time).
In Spain, there's now a political party that represents animals and vegetarianism (I'm not kidding). It's called PACMA and it got about 120,000 votes in the recent General Election. People are more concerned about fur coats than they are about jobs (22% unemployment), or corruption (huge). Or the fact that over four million foreigners live in Spain, and are (with EU approval) not allowed the vote. About two-thirds of them are European. So what?
In geo-politics and in big business, there is no profit in the details.

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