Sunday, August 09, 2009

Surf's Up

Things you can't take to the beach - or shouldn't, must not: pets (goldfish presumably not, but mainly dogs); camping gear, cooking devices; boats, kites for surfing, jet-skis, super tankers, nuclear submarines - oh, and windsurf boards and sails. Or to clarify. Dogs are not irregular visitors to the beach, but no-one seems to much do anything about them; jet-skis, kitesurfs can be taken so long as they are in the "sports zones" or beaches set aside, such as - for kitesurfing - La Marina in Alcúdia and Es Comú in Playa de Muro. And also windsurfs.

On the beach in Playa de Muro three windsurfers were making their way back to shore. A lifeguard was on patrol. The whistle went and there ensued much gesticulation, discussion and talking into his two-way by the lifeguard. Plod arrived. Plod on water. Plod on a jet-ski, carefully brought into shore without the engine in full blast. More discussion.

Windsurfing, unlike jet-skis and kitesurfing is not particularly dangerous in terms of potential harm to other sea users. So long as there are not many of them and the windsurfer knows what he or she is doing. As soon as there are a load of them and those who don't know what they're doing, then there is the potential for harm. Hence, you cannot windsurf wherever takes your fancy. Them's the rules. Except for those who believe that the rules are there for others. It is not a uniquely Spanish thing, but there is a definite trait that says rules are for others - this manifests itself in various ways, one of which is bringing the windsurf board, the jet-ski or the kite to the beaches where they shouldn't be. Probably along with the dog as well.

The kitesurfing that occurs at La Marina has become something of a sightseeing spot. When the wind is blowing, as it often does there, the skies are full of colour and of Charlie Browners performing mobes. It is a spectacle. But unfortunately it is also quite dangerous. Not because of the kitesurfing per se, but because of the rubber-neckers, the Charlie Browners (kitesurfers) themselves and those drivers who just suddenly stop. The road here is a blackspot, which is why there are always floral tributes. The kitesurfers wander and run across the road to their cars; tourists pull up with little warning or poodle along too slowly. There's going to be an incident there.

Museum piece
More on museums. The Inca footwear museum controversy continues. The opposition Partido Popular at the town hall has denounced the extra costs of 800,000 euros for the museum. It says that it has been known for five years that extra funding would be needed and that the whole project has been a "botched job". Meanwhile, the projected new Pollentia museum in Alcúdia is to be funded courtesy of money from the central government. The sub-director for state museums, and there is such an individual, has promised the consortium (the town hall and agencies of the Mallorca Council and regional government) that the money will be forthcoming under budgets for 2011. So, work is unlikely to start till then. The level of funding has not been disclosed but is believed to be in the region of three million euros.

And still on local project funding. Threequarters of a million euros have been forked out to create the park by La Gola in Puerto Pollensa. This has been a colossal waste of money. It should have been reserved only to keep the water clean and free of the stagnation it has been prone to; the rest, pointless. Doubly pointless as the park is not being maintained properly. It is full of dog shit and litter and benches have graffiti. One has the impression that officialdom has washed its hands of the whole thing; there hasn't even been an official opening.

Palma bombs
Two bombs in bar-restaurants in Palma. No injuries. A third has gone off in the Plaza Mayor. There was a call purporting to come from ETA. The chief prosecutor for the Balearics believes that this indicates the likelihood of there being an ETA group on the island.

Yesterday's title - Shakira, Today's title - one of the greatest songs ever.


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