Friday, June 08, 2018

Mojácar, an Unexpected Leader

Mojácar is a cute little town, down there at the far end of the rainbow. It’s a mess of narrow streets and white cube houses perched majestically on the final hill of a chain that marches down from the High Sierras. It is home to poets and drunken artists and, thanks to the recent efforts of the Tourist Office, hosts teeming millions of visitors attracted by the old and lost bohemia of the hippy days.
Mojácar is a little-bit second rate. It was rebuilt, practically from scratch, in the late fifties after the population had reached its lowest ebb of around 600 souls.  Before, it had been a player: a Neanderthal settlement, then it was controlled by the Phoenicians, then the Romans and later the Visigoths (whatever happened to them?), then at last it became part of the great Moorish diaspora of the eighth to the fifteenth century. The heavily fortified city surrendered to the Christian forces in 1488 (probably a bad idea, but History was against them). Repopulated with folk from Lorca, Mojácar remained a loyal Spanish city which slowly, over the centuries, became an irrelevance.
As late as 1920, there was around 6,000 people living in the town, but a drop in the water table, the rise of the Mad Generalísimo and, of all things, a surprise devastation of the orchards by a wall of locusts persuaded most of the remaining locals to sell up their homes and head off for Barcelona, France, Germany or even Argentina.
The problem was, there was no one buying. Even the Brits didn’t want a house in Mojácar in the nineteen thirties. The only thing to be done was to demolish the family abode and sell the beams, the lintels and the rejas for whatever the market would bear.
The result was that, by 1950, the town was a huge pile of rubble. Even the streets themselves were lost in some cases. A clever mayor in the early sixties fixed this by offering ruined houses to any who would take them – free of charge, but the deal was one had to rebuild them. Mojácar became a secretive bohemian capital. It was glorious.
Now, things were on the mend. We discovered that Walt Disney was really born here (despite an alarming lack of any proof whatsoever). The FBI apparently came here in 1953 and asked the priest, ‘say, you ever here of a guy called, lemme see, Walt Disney? We think he was born here, but don’t tell anyone because it’s a secret, see?’ Sadly, the church records had been destroyed during the Civil War, and there were no Disneys to be found. The legions of dismayed souvenir shop owners do what they can, but their hearts aren’t really into selling Minnie Mouse.
Anyhow, this fable kept our peckers up for a while, but now we can say that we have a real live hero living amongst us. Pedro Sánchez, the handsome new president of Spain, owns an apartment in the village. You sometimes see him wandering about with a cap pulled low on his head, followed by people with their mobile phones, earnestly attempting to take selfies.
So, all’s well that ends well. Mojácar could become a winner after all.

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