Saturday, June 30, 2007

On The Beach

A mini-blogette today. Reason: Beach. More beach. Babes. Beach. Sun. Beach.

Check out the WHAT’S ON Blog for events at the La Victoria two-day celebs, starting tomorrow. Forgot to put on this that at 24:00 tomorrow is the “Rom Cremat” (Burnt rum) thing. Very odd.

Back to the beach. Today sees the first day of your entries for the ALL-TIME GREAT SUMMER AND/OR BEACH records. I shall reprise last year’s when I can be bothered. So, get nominating. Email below.

Local media watch: According to “Euro Weekly”, Arsene Wenger “will be leaving the club (Arsenal) after 2008”. That’s will be not may be. Must know something the rest of us don’t, but given all the arsen’ around at Arsenal, could be right.

Quiz: ‘The sitcom was “Soap”; the number one was R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly”, which Tone may have believed, too. Today’s title? Way too easy.


Index for June 2007

Balearic Government - 22 June 2007
Banks - 13 June 2007
Barnard Hamilton - 28 June 2007
Bars/Cafés - 3 June 2007, 9 June 2007, 22 June 2007, 26 June 2007
Beaches - 1 June 2007, 22 June 2007, 30 June 2007
Bellevue - 11 June 2007, 18 June 2007
Blogs - 24 June 2007
Blue flags - 1 June 2007
Bullfighting - 17 June 2007
Café La Sala - 22 June 2007
Caprabo - 14 June 2007
Carretera Arta - 1 June 2007, 4 June 2007
Chinese restaurants - 6 June 2007
Diablito - 19 June 2007
Eroski Syp - 14 June 2007
Es Turó - 8 June 2007
Estate agents - 19 June 2007, 28 June 2007
ETA - 11 June 2007
Festas Bar - 26 June 2007
Fiestas - 13 June 2007, 16 June 2007, 17 June 2007, 30 June 2007
Foxes Arms - 9 June 2007
Illegal selling - 7 June 2007
Indian restaurants - 6 June 2007
La Birreria - 3 June 2007
La Victoria - 30 June 2007
Mosquitoes - 8 June 2007
Muro - 16 June 2007, 17 June 2007
Noise - 1 June 2007
Paddle ball - 8 June 2007
Property market - 15 June 2007, 19 June 2007
Property prices - 3 June 2007
Puerto Pollensa beach - 22 June 2007
Restaurants - 2 June 2007, 6 June 2007, 8 June 2007, 19 June 2007
Road accidents - 1 June 2007, 2 June 2007, 4 June 2007
Roads - 26 June 2007, 28 June 2007
Sa Taverneta d’es Moll - 2 June 2007
Sant Joan Fiesta - 16 June 2007, 17 June 2007
Sant Pere Fiesta - 13 June 2007
Supermarkets - 14 June 2007
Taste of India - 6 June 2007
Terrorism - 11 June 2007
Tourism economics - 28 June 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Things Can Only Get Better

Well, hopefully. Word is things are not too great this season. There again, you hear this every year. Someone said it’s 30% down. There are complaints of lack of people and especially lack of spend. We have been here before. Last year, to be precise. That was a record year, allegedly.

All-inclusives are the devil in all this, but there are other factors. And people are being more careful with the money. Why? Debt, that’s why.

Another departure from Estate Agent Street in Puerto Pollensa. Barnard Hamilton’s office has closed. But this is a positive closure. The new one is at the start of the pinewalk. And very impressive it is, too. Very impressive.

A letter to “The Bulletin” sheds some light on the resurfacing of roads. Apparently it has to be done when the weather’s hot - for technical reasons that I don’t need to bother you with. I had kind of thought this might be a factor. Except. Why then do they surface roads when it isn’t hot? Confused? You soon will be.

Which brings me to the quiz. That last line came from a very famous sitcom. What was it? Also, in recognition of Tone’s departure and Gord’s ascent, I’ve wheeled out today’s title. No prizes for knowing D:Ream, but who was number one when Tone became PM first time round. Was it Oasis, R. Kelly or The Spice Girls?


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Is there ever a good time to resurface roads?

Probably not. But there are surely times when it makes less sense than others. Like now, for instance.

Driving into Palma or along the Via Cintura is a pain at the best of times. And now is not really the best of times. Common sense dictates that there is more traffic than in, say, January. But that doesn’t stop them resurfacing the motorway. Nor, apparently, does it stop them resurfacing the roundabout coming into Alcúdia, and roads off. Still, at least the resurfacing and remarking does appear to have eradicated the highly unsafe approach lane that went around the roundabout in the port’s direction.

And now. A big welcome to to our NEW Bar of the Week. Well, not new as such. Just new to the site. So, word up for FESTAS in Puerto Alcúdia.

Here’s the gen:

Where: C/. Olimp, Puerto Alcúdia, opposite - more or less - the Three Towers of the Club Mac.

What: Theme bar, with the emphasis on The Addams family, hence Festas (or Festers if you prefer). Home-made Festas’ shots - vodka shots with secret recipes the speciality of the house.

When: Every day 19:00 till late.

Who: Lynne and Steve, and not forgetting the inanimate assistance of “Skelly”.

Why: No-nonsense bar, but with a “chill-out” and relaxing feel with good music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. A place that gets punters returning year after year. ...

Quiz time: The link between Karl Wallinger and Peter Gabriel was Charterhouse. They both went there.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

What The Blogging Use Is A Blog?

This is a blog, in case you haven’t noticed. It is not necessarily a thing of beauty, but it serves a purpose. Moreover, it’s free. I’m all for free. One of the wonderful things about the internet is that there are very nice people who let you do things for free. Like Like

I was chatting to Trev at La Sala (see the previous entry) about all this malarkey. Trev is no computer-illiterate. He understands that websites cost money. But for a café such as his, why pay a shed-load for something that you can do for nowt. Ok, these sites are limited in what you can do, but - for many an establishment - they are sufficient. Also ok, you need to devote a bit of time. If you are as switched on as Steve at Little Britain (, you can use the facility offered by Microsoft to do a very serviceable and good website of your own. Yes, this takes more, but the result is fine.

Moreover, if you get linked via a mother site that offers good optimisation - let’s say, for sake of argument, - and you’re quids in. Well, maybe.

Try it.

Quiz: Oh dear, I will wear a hair suit. What a mistake, but honest I thought “Burn You Up, Burn You Down” by Peter Gabriel was called “Twist And Shout”. That was meant to be the link, but it wasn’t. Never said I was infallible. But ... this track by Peter Gabriel was co-written with Karl Wallinger (Waterboys, World Party). There is another connection between him and Peter Gabriel. What is it? (Think education.)


P.S: The title of this piece comes courtesy of my friend Carol. It’s ok, she doesn’t understand these things. God, what have I said?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Government Antic(h)s

The excitement could barely be less. After weeks of indifference since the elections, Jaume Matas, the now ex-leader of the Balearic Government, has resigned, thus paving the way for a socialist-nationalist coalition under Matas’s predecessor, Francesc Antich. Just contain yourselves.

Close on Puerto Pollensa’s beach being granted a blue flag - at long last - comes the news that, once more, there is a sewage problem. This is confined to the smaller beach in front of the Anglada Camarasa promenade, but it isn’t too clever, and it happened last year, too.

Not so much Bar but Café Of The Week. Prompted by the photo of Alicia that was put up on to their blog, here is a CAFÉ LA SALA rundown:

Where: Opposite the town hall in the old town of Alcúdia.

What: Coffees, teas, salads, baguettes, chili, curry and more. The favourite is the Flavours of Asia baguette or salad. And the fresh juices are nectar.

When: Every day except Saturday.

Who: Trevor and Stuart run the place, with help from Alicia.

Why: Fabulous location in the heart of the old town. Hugely popular with locals of all creeds and with visitors; English, Spanish, Mallorquín and German spoken. And I’ve now also discovered that Trev is something of a Mac expert. So, for all you Mac users ...

Can I find out more? You can indeed. Check out the Café La Sala blog, which is linked here, and see Alicia’s photo. You can also see Stuart and the star of the show, the ever-howling Nanouk.

Quiz: The title came from Deacon Blue. The origin of “schtum” is from the German “stumm” meaning silent but may also have come from prison life. And today’s question: What links Deacon Blue, The Beatles and Peter Gabriel? (Clue: it’s a song title.)


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Whatever You Say, Say Nothing

I have to keep confidences. You would be amazed what people tell me. Or maybe, you wouldn’t be amazed. But I keep schtum. Or at least I can say in general terms. Remember the piece about the property market a few days back?

There is a well-known estate agency hereabouts that is up for sale. Why? Can’t know for sure, but over-stretched, over-ambitious, negative cash flows, these could all be aspects. Or maybe it’s just can’t be bothered any longer.

If it is all the former, then it tells a story. A story about expansion that places profit before cash flow. Beware entrepreneur. Cash flow is the stuff of any good business. But also a story that may be salutary when it comes to the chasing of moolah in the property market. Shake-out time? Maybe. There are two former estate agents along Estate Agent Street in Puerto Pollensa that have “for rent” signs on increasingly decaying shops.

More positive. Opening this evening is the Diablito restaurant in what was the old Nico’s place in Puerto Pollensa. Some might recall Diablito in Puerto Alcúdia’s Alcudiamar, now Chili. Good luck to them.

Quiz: Ok, schtum leads me to today’s title. Which band recorded an album with this title? Again, they have featured here before. Also, what is the origin of “schtum”?


Six Of One, Half A Dozen Of The Other

A few days ago I picked up some poor reviews of Bellevue. In an idle moment I looked again at the website from which those reviews had come, and then looked also at a different website. This is really intriguing. Below, I set out keywords or phrases that appear in these reviews, some of them several times. In both cases, I cite from the six most recent reviews, all of them submitted by people who have been to Bellevue in the past month or so. The first set all come from one site, the second set from the other:

“would not return; dangerous; unsafe; vandalised; uncomfortable; broken down; cockroaches; mosquitoes; foul language; smelly; under-/badly cooked; diarrhoea; disgusting; poor service; feeding time at the zoo; raw sewage; unhelpful; Butlins; stay away”

“brilliant time; friendly and helpful; spacious and clean; open mind and don't believe everything you read; fab; will definitely be going back again; food was good; excellent; highly recommend; cleaned every day; very very good; well worth the money”.

Now, the thing is that all six reviews from the first site criticise heavily; all six from the second praise highly. In the case of the second set, people also didn’t seem to be affected by mosquitoes.

Remarkable that experiences can seemingly vary so markedly.

Quiz: It was of course the KLF, and John Leyton was in “The Great Escape”. No quiz today, but the latest must-hear record to add to Laura Veirs. This one is Kate Walsh, “Your Song” (not the Elton one) from her album “Tim’s House”. Simple, and simply gorgeous. Hear it at


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ancients Of Muro (Mu-Mu)

So, out of the goodness of my heart, I have listed a few events for the Muro gig on the What’s On Blog. Initially, I paid scant regard to what I had got from the town hall’s site. Yes, there was a bullfight but, on closer examination, the star turn seems to be one El Cordobés. El Cordobés!? Is this the Cordobés or Un Cordobés? He would be 71 from what I can glean of him. Bit old for having a barney with an angry bull. Or is it some impostor? Or is the Cordobés moniker a form of dynastic title, handed down through generations? Or is it some form of Cordobés tribute bullfighter? The Bootleg Cordobés, or some such.

I have been to but one bullfight. When I was 14 on holiday in Mallorca. Can’t say I much cared for it. But the bullfight, despite the obvious objections, remains an important facet of Spanish life, so much so that you get bullfight reports on TV sports shows. Pretty odd sport in my view, but hey that’s culture for you.

But this all gives me the chance to haul out today’s title. I’ve been wanting an excuse. Old bullfighter. Cows (well sort of). Play on the name Muro. They were justified and ancient. And they were damn great. Who were they? Oh, that’s today quiz, if you haven’t worked it out.

Yesterday’s answers. An evening waiting for a train at Staines station for those of you who got “Sound Of The Suburbs”. And for all who knew John Leyton sang “Johnny Remember Me”, what famous war film was he in?


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Johnny Remember Me

There’s something very odd going on here.

I live in Playa de Muro. That means I live in the municipality of Muro. Yet I know what goes on for the Sant Pere fiesta in Alcúdia. I know about Patrona in Pollensa. I know these things. What I don’t know, except by chance, is what happens in my own town.

Muro is currently celebrating the fiesta of Sant Joan (Saint John). Does anyone know about it?

I recently asked the lovely Cati at the Playa de Muro tourist office if she could mail me with information for Muro, like Pilar in Alcúdia does. Problem. Not that she won’t, just that the town hall doesn't get its act together (and that’s most certainly not her fault) and seems to have forgotten that there are people living in Playa de Muro. Living and visiting. Now, might it not just be that people here on holiday would want to go to the pueblo of Muro to enjoy the festivities? Ok, some of it is pretty obscure for non-natives, but there is, for instance, a massive disco party on the 24th (music from the 70s and 80s, starts at 23:00). There is, for instance, a bullfight (if you can stomach it) at 18:30 on the 25th. There is, for instance, a grand fireworks display, also on the 25th.

How do I know? Because I’ve looked at the town hall’s website. All in Mallorquín. Fat lot of use.

Look, I am quite happy to translate this stuff. I did so for the Sant Pere fiesta in Alcúdia. Put up the information on and on the What’s On Blog. No one pays me. I don’t care. I’m giving a service. More than some are.

Anyway, maybe I’ll do a full translation for the Muro gig. But only because I think people who are here should have the opportunity to know what goes on. People who don’t happen to speak Mallorquín.

In the newspaper “Part Forana”, there was a note about the fiesta. It said at the end that everyone was invited. Great. But they can’t go if no one tells them.

Quiz time. Ok, you win, or rather you don’t. It wasn’t Johnny Waitrose as some wag had it. The answer was Nicky Tesco and the band was The Members. Huge prize today. A copy of the Muro Sant Joan programme scrawled on the back of a fag packet to anyone who can name The Members’ big hit. Also... today’s title. Who sang it?


Friday, June 15, 2007

I’m Forever Bursting Bubbles

Has the property bubble in Spain finally burst?

The stock market took a dive a while back as investors sold property stocks in anticipation of an end to the boom. And now it seems as though the harsher realities of the market are about to hit home. I spent some time this morning speaking with some local estate agents. There is some “difficulty” was a comment on more than one occasion. For difficulty, read lack of sales.

Fact is that there is a glut of speculative development, a general view that property is overpriced, some concerns over legalities and also interest-rate rises.

Much of Spain’s recent economic boom has been based on the construction sector. The downturn in the market threatens, it is said, two out of five construction companies. As the boom has lasted, more and more players have come into a market - across the sector - eyeing strong returns. But no boom lasts forever.

Despite this, it is also being said that a drop in prices may not feed through for at least a year if not longer. Perhaps so, but there is one factor that may hasten this. It is not uncommon for people to buy a new house with an existing property (and mortgage) acting as a form of collateral, so to speak. While the intention may be to sell the first property, there has not always been pressure to do so, especially if the market is buoyant and interest rates are reasonable. Take these elements out of the equation, or rather replace them with instability and increased mortgages, and the pressure to sell - at a lower price - becomes a likelihood. It is also the case that consumer debt in Spain is over-leveraged (in other words, people are too stretched, even by comparison with the UK). It may sound remarkable to UK readers who will be aware of the apparently disproportionate house-price to salary ratio, but the ratio of house prices to wages is above that of the UK.

For the potential buyer, therefore, this could all be good news, though the potential volatility - at least in the short term - may mean buyers holding off. Whether this market shift also affects Mallorca as much as the mainland is another question, though - as some estate agents are suggesting - “difficulties” are already in the system.

On the other hand ... Back in 2002 I distinctly recall it being said that prices would come down within a couple of years. It was argued that prices then were inflated, largely as a result of the introduction of the euro. Well, that is no longer an issue, and it could just be that the property market, as then (when prices kept going up), turns out to be more robust than is being suggested. But the euro remains an issue in one very important respect, and this is - arguably - the nub of the whole property story. Spain entered the single currency with an exceptionally low interest rate, which the European Central Bank seems likely to increase. Interest rates have been below inflation rates, thus creating the circumstances for boom.

The Bank of Spain is saying that there will be no crash, placing faith - in part - in the level of immigration to buoy demand. The Bank’s main concern lies with the financing arrangements of the leading construction companies, which also means the lending arrangements of the banks.

Quiz. I’m not letting you off. It’s a great question, yesterday’s, so another day at least ...


N.B. Acknowledgment due to for some information in compiling today’s piece.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Supermarket Sweep

Locally there are three supermarkets that matter. Mercadona, Eroski Syp and Caprabo. Well now Eroski (I still refer to it simply as Syp, which is what it used to be here) has bought Caprabo - it has a 75% stake. The general impression, one that you get from people you talk to and which, frankly, I have no way of verifying, is that Mercadona is the best-priced, Caprabo is the most expensive.

With the market having now been reduced by 33%, the competition becomes smaller. And this is really the point I want to make. Although the UK has seen a rationalisation of the supermarket market, there is a generally higher level of competition. Here, there is less, not least from foreign chains. Carrefour had been in for Caprabo, but it missed out. Lidl, the German chain, has a supermarket in Inca and has been rumoured to be building a store on the area currently occupied by Karting Magic by Alcúdia’s Magic Roundabout. But otherwise, foreign chains are little in evidence. In other retail sectors the German Schlecker and Müller stores have a presence (Müller in Alcúdia is a cracking shop), but this part of Mallorca at any rate has been largely ignored by the free market that is meant to be the European Union.

What continues to bug me is that the local supermarkets seem immune to or unprepared to offer foreign goods. Wine is the most obvious case in point, one I have made before. Mallorcan, Spanish, Spanish, Mallorcan. French, Australian, Californian, Chilean? Forget it. Some of the tourist supermarkets are better in this regard. Colber along the Greasy Mile is a good example, but the main supermarkets? Free market? Nah!

Still, and coming back to the Basque issue, a Basque-based company - Eroski - has now expanded its interests further. Despite the foregoing, a better advert for matters Basque than ETA’s arsing around.

Quiz time: Here I quote today’s winner.

“Andrew. The answer to 'which team did J.Iglesias play football for?' I think is Real Madrid. Wasn't he a goalie? Haven't looked at your blog for a few weeks, but thought I'd better catch up on the goss as I'm coming over on 23rd June. Thanks for keeping us 'Alcudia exiles' up to date! Jan.”

Thanks a lot, Jan. And you’re right. It was only the junior team, but Real it was, and the Julioster was indeed a goalie.

Ok. Here is a monster question. On the supermarket theme. Name the lead singer of which punkish band from the late 70s whose “surname” was that of a well-known UK supermarket chain. (I have mentioned this band quite recently.)


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Party, Party!

A report today reckons that standards of service at UK banks are lower than other European countries, including Spain. Hmm. Maybe, maybe not.

I have had cause to question the service at Credito Balear in Puerto Alcúdia, mainly because of the lack of people to give you service. But I now also have an account with Solbank, also in Puerto Alcúdia. Can’t be faulted. I should do a Bank of the Week thing, but I think that’s going a bit far.

Yes folks, we’re coming up to that time again. FIESTA time. Yippee! Great traditional events and piss-ups. First up of the fiesta season locally is Saint Peter, or San Pedro, or Sant Pere, depending on what language you prefer. More of a gig in Puerto Alcúdia than Puerto Pollensa, the fiesta is actually a nine-day series of events. The first day (22 June) features, for instance, folk dance and music down on the Paseo Marítimo. The real big day is the 29th, which finishes off with a grand fireworks display. Ominously, prior to all the pyrotechnics, there is entertainment courtesy of one Natalia. Who she? Apparently she is a one-time contestant on “Operación Triunfo”. Now if you thought the likes of “X Factor” were a big deal, they pale into a Simon Cowell scowl compared with Triunfo. Doesn’t make it any better though. Normally, all the girls are wannabe Jennifer Lopezes, the boys wannabe Enrique Iglesiases. Sounds cool eh? So Natalia, whoever she is, will be larging it for the masses. Bet you can’t wait. I can.

Anyway, enough of this cynicism. Go and enjoy the events; they’ll be loads of fun. The programme is listed on the WHAT’S ON BLOG which is linked here.

Quiz time: Yea, well, I knew it was tough. No-one has tendered any suggestion in favour of Carla Lane. Rather suspected this would be the case. Anyway, back to Pop Quiz. Enrique Iglesias is the son of Julio. But for which football team did Julio play?


N.B. According to Wikipedia, Natalia is/has been quite big in the UK and is/was a sort of Spanish Britney Spears. So, presumably she’s in rehab and has shaved her hair. There again, you can’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia. By the way, I have got a great Wikipedia thing up my sleeve. Not saying, but it is Mallorca-related. Maybe I should start this as a quiz.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Holiday Hell

You have to be careful. The internet is full of reviews of all manner of things. Some while ago I mentioned the fact that action could be taken against, for example, restaurant owners who post their own glowing reports. That’s one thing. Then there are also the reviews, quite genuine, that slag somewhere off. I don’t doubt the sincerity of many of these. The only thing is that what is awful for one person is good for another. It is amazing how much views can diverge.

I raise this because elsewhere I have read some really scathing reviews of Bellevue from people who have been there this season. They pull no punches. I wonder if anyone at Bellevue takes any notice of this sort of thing. They should.

But you can also find people who are satisfied. Each to their own, I guess.

ETA has called off its truce, placing the Spanish security services on maximum alert. While there are worries about targets such as the America’s Cup in Valencia, a return to terrorist activity could yet cause problems for tourism.

Why this breakdown in the truce?

There is a view that it was simply a ploy to rearm and gear up for a return to activity. Maybe. There is also a political dimension. The Zapatero Government has placed much store in its rapprochement. The national elections are now less than a year away. There had been hope of a Northern Ireland-style end to the conflict.

Not now there isn’t.

Quiz time: Well done to all who got the right answers to our Guest Quiz Inquisitor’s posers. Answers were Blackadder and Jimi Hendrix.
The foxy title? Manfred Mann.
And Alastair puts this very difficult sitcom question. "Can you name any TV series by Carla Lane that was any good?". Phor, that’s a toughy.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Like A Fox On The Run

Now, the deal is, if you take the time to send me stuff, and if I like you, then you can blag your way into being Bar Of The Week. NO MONEY CHANGES HANDS! Yet.

Anyway, Jamie at Foxes in Puerto Alcúdia has become something of a media icon in his home town of Leicester. And just to prove it, here is something from the “Leicester Mercury”, which shows Jamie doing his morning aerobics outside Foxes near the Magic Roundabout.

But let’s do a proper Bar Of The Week run down on FOXES:

Where: Carretera Arta 46, Puerto Alcúdia, close by the Delfin Azul and opposite the Jofre tabacos.

What: All manner of good pub grub food. Top breakfasts. And the curries are popular. All your favourite beers and spirits.

When: Every day from nine in the morning.

Who: James and Karen are the owners. Tracy, Leighton (“Tiny” - he’s massive!) and Al also.

Why: Seriously unpretentious and down-to-earth nice bar-café. Lovely people. Economic and good fare. Loads of Leicester City memorabilia.

Can I find out more? Yep, there is a spaces thingy, now linked here. And if you want a full copy of the article from the Mercury, daresay an email to Jamie will bring a positive response.

The success of the Pop/Sitcom Quiz knows no limits. We now have Guest Quizmasters. Or should that be, in good Michael Miles terms, Guest Quiz Inquisitors?
Alastair, who rightly got “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, sets his own posers. First up, a Patrick Allen follow-up. In the first series of which comedy series was Patrick Allen the narrator? And. Which dyslexic American rock star choked to death on his own “vimto” in London in 1970?
No doubles of marmite to give out; the holidays album was Fairport Convention.
And also ... Today’s foxy title. Which group recorded it?


Friday, June 08, 2007

Wot We ‘Ate Abaht Our ‘Olidays

I think Alcúdia should be worried. Elsewhere on the internet, people are moanin’ and a-groanin’ about mosquitoes. “Ooh, I got terrible lumps.” “Scratched ‘em that bad.” “They woz bleedin’.”

Apparently there are those who, somewhat unedifyingly, wolf down jars of marmite in an attempt to ward the blighters off. Don’t know if that works. I reckon I’d puke up before I found out.

But there is a serious side to this. You get people issuing warnings about mosquitoes akin to an imminent nuclear attack. Perhaps the authorities should issue “Protect and Survive” propaganda. Patrick Allen: “Smear yourselves with marmite and then hide under a table.”

Yea ok, the mosquitoes can be bad, they can affect some people worse than others, but Alcúdia is not the only place in Mallorca that suffers. But get enough bad publicity and it makes people think twice about coming.

Now, I live here. But if I were on holiday, in addition to the mosquitoes, there would be other things that hack me off.

So, here is the first in another irregular series.

What I Hate About My Holidays. Any of you with suggestions, they will be gladly received (to the email address below). But here is the first.

PADDLE BALL. “Dock. Dock. Dock. Dock.” You know how it goes. You find a nice quietish speck on the beach, stretch out for some serious burning, and along come a couple of dorks with their paddle ball. Right next to you. The regular sound. “Dock. Dock. Dock. Dock.”

Just piss off and go and play with the jellyfish, won’t you.

A couple of weeks back, 20 May to be precise, I mentioned ES TURÓ restaurant near Santa Margalida. I said it was an impressive place. Now I can also report that it has some seriously impressive prices. Expensive? Not a bit of it. Very well-priced indeed. Try this. A tumbet starter and a chicken main course for a bit over a tenner. Damn good value. Given that Can Picafort is largely bereft of decent restaurants, for the price of a taxi (it’s only 6 kilometres from Can Pic), it is a really good bet. Stunning place. Great atmosphere. Nice food. Go there.

By the way, the mosquitoes seem to have largely cleared off for the time being.

Sitcom/Pop Quiz: Loads of you got it. The spoof band was “Bad News”. And going back firmly to Pop Quiz. With today’s title in mind, who recorded the album “What We Did On Our Holidays”. I reckon this is pretty tough, so double helpings of marmite to anyone who can get it. And a bonus question. Patrick Allen and “Protect and Survive”. In which record did a sample of this feature and by which group?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Lovely Pair Of Melons

No, not what you think.

News comes that the local plod in Calvia are cracking down on beach fruit-sellers (melons predominantly).

Beach sellers are a pain. Not only do they rarely if ever have a licence to do this, what they sell is not always as well looked after as it might be. That’s the ones selling fruit. Then there are the guys selling shades, watches, jewellery etc. The ones who also come into bars and restaurants.

Now some people seem to like buying fake trash from these guys. Good luck to you. If you want to hand over good money for rubbish, that’s your affair.

But there is a bit more to all this. Where does all this stuff come from? Who’s providing it? Not the fruit, the goods. Then there is the sometimes aggressive selling. Pursuing people down a street, haranguing them.

Traders along the Greasy Mile produced leaflets warning folk against buying stuff from these chaps. Vested interest maybe, but these traders have their rents to pay, their staff to pay, their stock to buy.

So I’ll echo what these traders say. Just say no, and walk away. And that goes for the ladies who do the hair braiding as well. They can be a damn nuisance, too.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Orient Excess

How many Chinese restaurants does a place need? I have oft pondered this conundrum whilst moving about Puerto Alcúdia. Unlike Puerto Pollensa, which is admittedly smaller in any event and has a mere five (one of which, Pascalino, is not the full-blown deal), Puerto Alcúdia and Playa de Muro combined boast at least 15 plus a couple that are Pascalino-esque. (Chances are there are more, but I haven’t done a thorough survey, though it certainly was more but two have bitten the dust.) Given the competition that such a number creates, the ones around the Greasy Mile have all started to offer “Buffet Libre”. Presumably one started, and the others followed suit, thus eliminating any form of differentiation that the first mover might have wished for. Thing is there are these huge signs saying “BUFFET LIBRE”. Now, if I didn’t know, I’d reckon this meant that the buffet was free. Of course it doesn’t mean that. But why not, bearing in mind the invasion of Brits, put up signs saying “PIG OUT AND HAVE AS MUCH AS YOU WANT FOR UNDER A TENNER”. Or something like that.

The tourist has an insatiable appetite for chow mein and sweet and sour, or so it would seem. Overwhelmingly, restaurants offer the mere familiar, certainly for British tastes. Along the Greasy Mile and on roads off, the choice is predominantly grill, pizza, grill, Chinese, grill, pizza. There are notable exceptions, and I am not having a go; Luna Grill, for instance, is one of the most regularly commended restaurants.

I shouldn’t find it odd, I suppose. However, for all the internationalisation of cuisine in Britain, the average-Joe Brit tourist and his family still crave a lump of meat and a side-serving of chips. As also does your average-Hans German tourist. But we Brits are also seemingly addicted to our fried rice and our chicken tikka masala.

Unlike Chinese restaurants, Indians are relatively thin on the ground. Three in Puerto Pollensa. Three in Puerto Alcúdia. One in Playa de Muro, and one in Can Picafort. Anyway, this is all a bit of roundabout way of introducing today’s Restaurant of the Day (which may appear strange, given the foregoing), but it is TASTE OF INDIA for which there is now also a little blog site, linked here.

Where: C/. Astoria, Local 1, near to Bells Disco, and so just off the Greasy Mile.

What: Indian food. What do you think?

When: Every day.

Who: Siraj is head honcho.

Why: Totally transformed. It used to be Agra which, though its reputation for food was good, needed a serious makeover. And so it has had one. And word is that the food is top notch.

Sitcom Quiz: Well, “Bottom” wasn’t too difficult, but the other two were more so. Nigel Planer was in the pretty dire “Roll Over Beethoven”, and it was Peter Richardson who was originally down to play Mike.
Combining Sitcom and Pop quizzes, what was the name of the spoof rock band that comprised Richardson, Mayall, Planer and Edmondson?


Monday, June 04, 2007

Crash Bang

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Look. If you want me to stop banging on about the road system on the Carretera Atra in Puerto Alcúdia I will. But I think it’s worth banging on about.

This morning there was another accident. This one was on the islands between the Palma roundabout and the islands by the Campsa garage. It looked as though either the black 4x4 was trying to overtake or the other car had exited the side road and was driven into by the black one. Either way, they had managed to park themselves onto the island. At least neither had simply ploughed straight through it like with the accident up by the Greasy Mile the other day.

You are just left wondering, was it only local people who saw this all going to happen? I’m by no means alone in being totally mystified as to the logic of this road system.

Sitcom Quiz: This blog’s old chum Geoff reckoned it was The Young Ones minus Rik Mayall. In fact it was The Young Ones minus Chris Ryan. Respectively, Nigel Planer, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson were Filthy, Rich and Catflap.
And leading on from this ... Ade Edmondson more or less reprised his role in what later sitcom? Nigel Planer took the lead in what sitcom with a rock theme? And who was originally down to play Mike in The Young Ones rather than Chris Ryan?


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Filthy Rich and Catflap

I overlooked something. Last week’s “Sunday Times” (well, I am only a week out) had this thing about Mallorcan property. Not just any old property, but ones such as the Cielo de Bonaire in these northern parts, which is on the market for 34 million quid.

34 million quid!?

Quoting Matthias Kühn, a partner in this development and head of the ubiquitous Kühn & Partner (why is it that estate agent ubiquity in Mallorca appears to be Germanic, what with Kühn and Engel & Völkers?), he can “smell the indication that more (very rich people) are coming.” Coming to Mallorca, that is.

Chances are that if you’ve got 34 million quid to lavish on a Mallorcan pile, you’ve probably also got sufficient stashed away not to be too bothered if the whole place goes belly-up. With all the dire predictions of the effects of climate change on Mallorca, I can’t help feeling that I’d rather put my 34 million quid into a place in Estonia. But maybe for the super-rich, the long-term doesn’t exist. Not sure I’d be confident that in 40 years’ time 34 thousand quid, let alone 34 million, could be recouped from a property investment here.

Knew it wouldn’t last. Restaurant of the week thing, that is. Here’s the first of Bar Of The Week. A real cracker, too.

Where: C/. Colón 3, Pollensa, just off the Plaça Major by Bar Espanyol but with a terrace in the square.

What: Over 50 types of beer. Plus snacks like pinchos (snacks on bread), pa amb olis (which are also snacks on bread to be honest).

When: Every day.

Who: Pep is your main man.

Why: Delightful stone-walled interiors, very relaxing atmosphere, music, nice terrace in the main square. Oh, and all those beers. From all over the place, and some stonkers from Belgium. 12%, my friends. 12%. Be careful!!

Short weather word: It is still rather unsettled. Rain again this morning. Not what the boys want.

And so, briefly returning to Sitcom Quiz, today’s title. Who starred in it?


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Restaurant Of The Week

Another bad accident. The highly dangerous junction in Puerto Alcúdia where the bypass joins onto the road between the horse roundabout and the roundabout as one comes into Alcúdia. Even for experienced local road users, this junction is bad news. This lunchtime it claimed more victims. Fact is it isn’t necessarily down to bad driving. The system is at fault, in my opinion. It’s confusing for those who don’t know, traffic comes along at high speed. It is an accident waiting to happen. Well not waiting. Actually happening. Again. Personally I would suggest they put in another roundabout instead, but what do I know.

New feature time for the blog. Restaurant Of The Week. Or maybe it will be Restaurant Of The Day. Depends how I’m feeling. Whatever. Could be Bar Of The Week, Shop Of The Week... you get the drift.

Any road up. Here’s the first one. Utterly at random.

Restaurant Of The Week: Number One in a series - SA TAVERNETA D’ES MOLL

Where: Avda. Gabriel Roca 11, Puerto Alcúdia. Keep going along the Paseo Marítimo towards Alcanada, and it is next to Fujiyama Japanese restaurant.

What: Tapas, Galician food, Good wines.

When: Every day but Mondays.

Who: Davíd the chef and Manu, who some might also know for his DJ-ing at, for instance, what was The Room.

Why: Cool and intimate tapas bar, lovingly converted from what was once a pokey bar. Stone-wall features and table-bars above barrels. Neat thing - Manu brings you the menu on a big blackboard. Everything’s freshly done, and is very keenly priced. Great range of tapas. Manu does English, German, Mallorquin and Castellano (that’s Spanish).

Any impartial recommendation?: You betcha. “Best tapas in Mallorca”. See the comment for Sa Taverneta in the Eat Alcúdia section on


Friday, June 01, 2007

Fly The Flag

Word on blue flags awarded locally. All pretty heartening stuff. According to “The Bulletin’s” useful map, most of the local beaches have fared well. The main centres - Puerto Alcúdia and Puerto Pollensa - have their flags, as do Can Picafort and the Cala San Vicente beaches at Barques and Molins. Oddly enough, Playa de Muro doesn’t appear to get one, which - given its location sandwiched between Alcúdia and Can Picafort - seems strange.

Looks like someone decided that all those islands along the Carretera Artà were indeed unnecessary. Just down from the Greasy Mile roundabout going towards Playa de Muro, there is twisted metal, empty islands. Dunno, but my guess is someone went for an overtake, didn’t register the island, and hammered straight into it (in fact them, as they took out two). Bravo.

Could have seen it coming.

What’s with this noise pollution? What’s with this anxiety as one drives? A hooting of a horn. Regular. What’s wrong?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong. It’s the Cheers Jeep, cruising the roads, peeping its horn. Sorry, but it happened twice this evening. Just driving along, and someone’s hitting the horn. I think - what’s going on. Then I look in the mirror, and there’s this “mascot” waving its green, limp arms, and the driver peeping the horn. Stop it, will you. Just, stop it.