Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Discomfort of Strangers

Mallorca is like “Neighbours”. Well, up to a point. People don’t suddenly start living in a different house and generally don’t go missing for a couple of years after a visit to the seaside. But they do ... just go. Now, this is all ancient Neighbours’ history, as I haven’t seen it for years. But there was the time - for instance - when Shane just went. “Shane’s gone to Perth.” I think it was Madge who revealed this. One moment there, one moment gone. And others ... they always went to Perth, or Brisbane. In Shane’s case, we knew nothing of him until he pitched up in “The Flying Doctors” (which was probably where he really went). Sometimes there were set-piece departures, like Kylie’s, but normally ... zippo.

Mallorca makes for transience. The summer population is one thing. The all-year is another, which makes departure seem all the more perfunctory. People leave for a variety of reasons. There are those who need to make a rapid exit; I know of some. The need is often financial or illegal (or both). There are others who find it is not the paradise they hoped for. Then there are those businesspeople who find it’s not what how it was described in the brochure. I have a good friend - he has, or rather had, a restaurant. I’ve never really known why he came here. Maybe he doesn’t either. It wasn’t as the brochure had it, or rather as it was sold to him. He has gone. Just gone. One moment here, one moment gone.

He said that he could just pack up the car and head back for England. But he had his cats to worry about. They had been his companions; he couldn’t and wouldn’t just give them up. He had started to “passport” the cats, but for five of them it was quite a procedure. Chances were he would have gone to the south of the mainland, taken a bar. It wasn’t really him. He loved running his type of restaurant. He made the one here a success by insisting on quality of cuisine. He was successful in England, before his problems got in the way. I won’t say what they were.

I say “success”. The restaurant was a success - in high season. Out of high season, it struggled. He was told that there was business for nine months. It was bollocks. He trusted. Had I known him when he was taking it over, I could have told him it was bollocks.

“Ah”, you might say. “But what about the accounts?” What accounts? Yes, there are often some form of accounts. But that is not the whole story here. There are accounts, and then there is black. And then there is just bollocks. Bollocks and bullshit.

He also encountered this shit on the mainland. He placed a deposit on a place. When he returned, he was told - by the agent - that the price had gone up. Wanted his money back. Couldn’t. That’s how it is in Spain, he was told. What a scandal.

This friend. He had no real need for companionship, except for his cats. He just wanted to run a business, a business for nine months a year, a business that would occupy him, reward him. It was a nine-month pup. A three-month cash cow. He trusted. Perhaps he was a fool. That would be hard for me to say; he is a friend after all. But he wasn’t the first, he won’t be the last.

Mallorca is transient. Not just for those who come to live a dream. Also those who sell - and bullshit - that dream. Because they often just go, too.

I last heard from this friend about, when was it, two, three weeks ago. He was in Barcelona. Now I don’t know. Now I hope he’s ok. I could identify this friend. Some, well, quite a few people here will know him. Some will know the background to his travails. I’ll keep my powder dry. But ... I know. I know all there is to know.

Weather stuff: man alive, is it good. Stupidly warm sitting at 1919 in Puerto Pollensa today. Well, so what happened to winter?

Index for February 2007

Abranaxus - 5 February 2007
All-inclusives - 5 February 2007, 6 February 2007
Architecture - 15 February 2007
Blogs - 24 February 2007
British tourists - 6 February 2007
Business failure - 28 February 2007
Burglary - 24 February 2007
Café La Sala - 24 February 2007
Carretera Arta - 11 February 2007
Climate change - 11 February 2007
Crime - 24 February 2007
Conjuring - 5 February 2007
Cycling - 11 February 2007
Environment - 11 February 2007
Grupo Boulevard - 5 February 2007, 15 February 2007
Guardia Civil - 24 February 2007
La Placeta - 11 February 2007
Language - 15 February 2007
Playa de Muro - 15 February 2007
Roads - 11 February 2007
Tourist behaviour - 6 February 2007
Weather - 15 February 2007, 24 February 2007, 28 February 2007

No comments: