Thursday, December 21, 2006

Black Thursday

I had an appointment in Palma at ten this morning. Had. Didn’t make it. I was in two minds anyway. The appalling weather was still at it - high winds and heavy rain - but I thought it might be brighter closer to Palma. It was - a bit. But then there was ... the gridlock. For the third time in the past ten days or so, much of the road system in Palma was at a stop. I should have known than to stick in a queue for half an hour before deciding to turn back (itself not that easy on the motorway here). That queue was to get onto the Via Cintura in the Andratx direction. Nothing doing. Nothing doing for a seriously long period of time.

I don’t know what the cause was. An accident almost certainly. No motorway is immune - anywhere. But there is much about the road system here that doesn’t help. Entry and exits taking the same slip road for instance; the closeness of entry slips to divisions in the road. That was the combination that was the seen of a recent accident, and you can see how easily it can happen. As you come to the end of the motorway from Inca before joining the Via Cintura, there is an entry slip, and just past it the road divides - one way to the airport and Palma centre, the other towards Andratx. If you’re not in the right-hand lane for Andratx, you have to cross, and hope to God that something’s not entering at speed from the slip.

The driving here may be manic, but the road system’s pretty lunatic, too. Result - BANG! Bang, and gridlock.

So, I thought I’d start these pieces wirh headlines instead. Hence, “Black Thursday”. Well, if the “Bulletin” can get away with its naff hyperbole so can I. There was another example today. “British Tourism Falls ....” Er yes, the number of passengers from Britain passing through the airport last month was down 8%. Big, bloody deal. And in the report that followed, there was a highly pertinent “however” that introduced the fact that the Balearics will be a popular destination over the forthcoming holiday period. Headline-grabbing. Well ok, but ...

Not that the Balearics will prove to be that popular with folk coming for Christmas if this weather doesn’t get its arse in gear. Truly dreadful.

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