Saturday, September 22, 2007

So When You Hear This Autumn Song

And so autumn - otoño, tardor. Autumn has less significance than it does in, say, Britain; it is less a state of mind here and less an immediately natural shift. In the same way, primavera (spring) impacts less on the local mindset. Whilst calendars may dictate the start of the seasons, their physical manifestations are far less clear, compared to Britain (or at least to seasons in Britain as we knew them). Some blossoms emerge in January here; the fall, such as it is, is later and far less apparent given the fact that evergreens boss the tree world. And now, the grass grows prodigiously, replenishing itself after the weeks of baking sun. Only harvests tend to compare.

Autumn, for most people, does not really exist. Summer, in the sense of the tourist season, lasts till the end of October, whereupon it is winter until the end of April. The summer can, and often does, stretch to the end of October. Last year it did. It was still 27 degrees at the end of the month. So the heat does not necessarily get turned down, but right at the moment, the sun is largely obscured by cloud. Warm, it is not really summer. So maybe it is autumn. For the tourist, still hankering after a tan, a pool and a beach, this is twilight summer. Neither one thing nor the other. Caught between. The microcosmic tourist state of Playa de Muro reflects the tourist dilemma, confronted by this seasonal dusk. With ample sun, it seems quiet. Turn the sun down, or obscure it with cloud, it seems busy. People walk up and down the side road parallel to the carretera in search of ...? Very little in all truth. It is the often unanswerable question for somewhere conceived with one thing in mind - sun, and hot sun at that.

Perhaps some will find an answer in the fascination of Albufera, but for most the answer is sought in a bar perhaps, football perhaps, turning round and going back perhaps, then going out on the same walk again perhaps. Endlessly, people look for something. You can tell also that twilight summer is here by the fact that the “Muro Express”, the land-going train, is full on its first runs after the siesta. In real summer, daylight summer if you like, it is empty. More looking for something.

This dilemma is to be found replicated elsewhere, though here it seems more acute, given the remoteness of Alcúdia Pins. It makes one realise, again, that for all the fine thoughts that may underpin future tourism plans, such as Plan Turismo 2020, there is one thing above all that determines satisfaction - the one thing governments and their conferences cannot control.

Last time - Blackbird. Today’s title?


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