Saturday, May 31, 2014

Homage to the Foreign-Born Mojaqueros

Mojácar was just another crumbling Andalucian village until the beginning of the sixties, when the mayor, Jacinto Alarcon, had the idea of giving away scrub-land or houses in ruins to those who would improve them. The town had drifted from 6000 inhabitants before the Civil War to nearer 600, and the advent of enthusiastic forasteros become the beginning of a new chapter in Mojácar's history.
The new vecinos brought their new ways, their culture, their tastes and, above all, their money with them. The town thrived.
While few local people have ever acknowledged the impact on their lives of the 'foreigners', whether they came from Madrid, Munich, Manhattan or Manchester, and the Town Hall still merrily refuses to do so, local historian (and ex-municipal cop) Francisco Haro, son of the old boy who ran the Hotel Indalo in the Plaza Nueva, has written a book about those fascinating and peculiar people who descended on the pueblo in the sixties. Here you will meet Sammy, the gay New York mafioso on the run from his family; Fritz the eccentric painter who could down a bottle of anis at a sitting; Charlie Braun, the large German womaniser who skied for James Bond, Tony Hawker who built hovercraft in his spare time, my parents Bill and Heather, My parents-in-law Jim and Mary, and so on. Bars, shops, ateliers were opened; intrigue, stories and the occasional feud followed. The local talisman, the Indalo, the little stick-man with the bow over his head, became as well-known in London as a bottle of Terry brandy.
The town eventually allowed itself to be seduced by a large tour-operator who set about ruining (once again) the attraction which had, for a brief decade, made Mojácar the bohemian capital of southern Spain. Local greed brought poor choices for the village, demolitions of historical buildings, unimaginative architecture and a plethora of small rarely-used apartments squeezed into an inadequate infrastructure.
The book is called 'Mojaqueros de Hecho' and will be presented in August.

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