Friday, May 08, 2009
Trust us on Geography (at least)
There we are just setting out on Km0 on the road - apparently - from Tabernas to Garrucha. Nice day for a drive. That's Mojácar in the distance.
Only thing, this Junta de Andalucía managed road doesn't go from Tabernas (the place where they used to make all those Spaghetti Westerns) to the delightful fishing port of Garrucha. It goes from Los Gallardos. Tabernas is forty kilometres away.
Now the thing that worries us natives about the Junta de Andalucía, based as it is in Seville, over five hours of hard driving from here, and clearly not much good on basic geography - even on the bits that they own and control - is that it has some huge plans for our quiet area.
First of all, there will be a high-speed train whizzing through just in front of where we are standing with the photographer, having a smoke. This is the AVE, which will unite Almería with Murcia (despite the apparent low demand from the burghers of those two cities to have anything to do with each other). Jolly modern though, hugely expensive and, if Spain wasn't a supremely honest country when it came to commissions, very remunerative for a few jokers down there in our regional capital.
Then, to cheer us up, and supposing they can find us on the map, the Junta fellows are going to build a special AVE train station (for those of us who want to go to Murcia or Almería - not, of course some pueblo ten minutes up the line) in a creek somewhere over there to the left towards Vera.
It takes a long time for a high speed train to slow down and stop... have a fellow in a zippy uniform shout 'aaaall aboaaard', wave a flag and then speed up and awaaaay, the municipal band tootling, so you obviously need a few more passengers than just the one stereotyped old girl dressed in black clutching a chicken. So the Junta chappies have decided to build a town - well, a city really - over there on the left. On 55 million hectares, or 55 square kilometres of scrub. 35,000 houses, fifty hotels, golf courses coming out of the kazoo, parks, roads and all the usual things. Here - why not a few more of those public heated indoor swimming pools none of our local towns can afford to run? A convention centre maybe. How about an interplanetary flying saucer landing-port.
The 35,000 houses, 50 hotels etc will generate 130,000 jobs. Which is great since there are only around 40,000 of us within half an hour's drive (not including those who live in Tabernas) so we shall all have three jobs each.
The Junta geniuses meanwhile will have to find the people who want to live in those 35,000 houses (perhaps this is why they are making all the English-owned homes in the province illegal). The hotels, too, may prove a problem since they won't be on the beach and, believe you me, you can only spend so much time watching a high-speed train as it zooooms past.