Thursday, August 18, 2011
Having struggled through the highlights of the Sol Times and the Weenie, I was just preparing to leave the café when the distributor for the local Spanish freebie 'Actualidad Almanzora' showed up. Not as many pages as the other two, but at least the articles are generally interesting (and always about local issues, with no regurgitated news, waffle or tripe).
The page three opinion piece by Savaronola is always worth reading. It's a proper article rather than fifty words lifted from the Daily Mail and this issue deals with Mojácar's woeful attempt at tourism. I'm going to paraphrase his thrust below:
Mayor Jacinto started the ball rolling in the mid sixties with 'residential tourism', where people buy a house, fix it up, buy a car, kitchen goods, furniture, and then keep the local bars and shops busy the year round. This brings in continuous funds to the community and also - to stretch a point - brings in a certain amount of civic pride. The new residents want gardens, clean streets and some culture: theatre, concerts, exhibitions and so on.
But, warns Savaronola, in Mojácar, a few local people, uncultured but drowning in greed, looked for short-term profit and, having wrestled control of the town hall, they soon changed the town's direction towards apartment building (higher profits, although lower full-time occupancy), multiple 'pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap' hotels and a savage drop in the area's reputation abroad. They got their stash ok, those few - giving Mojácar the distinction of having the highest per capita wealth in the whole of Andalucía - if rather unevenly divided, but they never bothered much with improving their knowledge and culture.
Which is why we have padel-tennis competitions, a white-elephant football stadium, hotels at 32 euros with bed and three meals in the middle of August, several dying or dead hotels reduced to hulks (Moresco for example), overflowing sewage systems vented into the sea, and a reputation across Spain for botellónes and stag night parties.
Unsurprisingly, Jacinto's dream (he got us a Parador Hotel) has been betrayed by smaller men.
The editorial compares Mojácar to some other small coastal wonders, like Positano, Capri, Portofino, La Rochelle, Dubrovnik, Santorini, Rhodes and so on, all towns where there is no 'crisis' to worry about, and laments that we were herded into a crashed and ruined Mad Max film-set instead.
So, as we continue to allow our leaders to betray us, with the casco viejo of Mojácar as the next victim, we can turn away our faces from culture, civic pride and harmony, and simply try to sell-up before the whole place collapses in shame and despondency.
When those few miserable mojaqueros, the ones who ruined this area simply to stuff their mattresses with oodles of cash, come to buy our houses and businesses at 10c in the dollar, and we are all cut loose again, where on earth will we go?
Strong stuff? You should read the original!