Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Drunken Meltdown Of Tourism

While millions of tourists were last week enjoying themselves in saturating every available last piece of beach, pool area and road, tourism itself was undergoing a form of meltdown. The vast majority of these massifying millions were in blissful ignorance of the fact that their apartments - some say the source of saturation - would no longer be there when they returned: they had been airbrushed into legalistic oblivion. This was probably due to most of them being drunk. Those who had some awareness were forming the queues of refugee hordes being processed for repatriation, more normally referred to as getting the flight home after the jollies.

Passport control collapsed (as it has been collapsing for some weeks) and tourists themselves collapsed as a consequence of 24/7 binges at all-inclusives. Nothing was said about beaches and roads collapsing as such, but we have by now come to accept that their collapses are givens: the politicians and the environmentalists keep telling us so.

Drunken tourism was at its most drunken inside Palma town hall. Drunk on his newly acquired powers, Noggin the Més Nog was wielding the mayoral wand in hot and determined pursuit of tourist miscreants. Can we expect him to join police patrols and slap a few Germans on their calves with his wand? Maybe, but given the size of some German tourists, the wand might come off second best.

Drinking was firmly on the agenda as he summonsed all manner of officialdom for a Noggy-style dressing-down. Hoteliers came and went, the national government's delegate was invited in for a chat, and they were preceded by the German consul, closely followed by the British vice-consul. Quite why Lucy was there was a bit of a mystery. It isn't unknown for Brits to avail themselves of the occasional alcoholic beverage in Playa de Palma, but let's be honest, when it comes to Palma drunken tourism the Germans are European champions - and by some considerable distance. It is they, rather than the Brits, who form vast Panzer divisions of Germanic youth armed to the teeth with colossal buckets of Jägermeister mixed with Rushkinoff as they re-introduce lebensraum, only this time at the Ballermann.

Maria Salom was Noguera''s final guest for the week (the tour operators are in for their wanding this coming week, which should be fun). As national government delegate, she's hardly the sort to be cowed by an upstart, new-to-the-post mayor.

So Maria was not about to be browbeaten by the wand. Instead, she somewhat surprisingly confessed that there is a security issue in Playa de Palma, i.e. it's overrun by drunken tourists. But, she was able to announce, this lack of security is being tackled by her having requested (and received) a month's extension to the National Police summer reinforcements. Which is all well and good, but Noguera was probably hoping to hear that there would be significantly greater numbers arriving - like now - in order to stop drunken tourists vomiting into Arenal residents' letterboxes.

Meanwhile, the meltdown - aided and abetted by tropical temperatures - was taking place in the air-conditioned debating hall of the Balearic parliament. Such was the drama of the occasion that some chose to dress for the occasion. Salvador Aguilera of Podemos, normally attired in an array of agitprop t-shirts, wore a tie (either borrowed or acquired from the charity shop). Prior to the meltdown debate, Salvi had tweeted that the government's holiday rentals' legislation was set to be blasted into the far blue yonder of the Mediterranean. Podemos were not for voting.

And once they didn't vote for a crucial article in the bill, no one, especially the government, had a clue what was going on. It was only when the lawyers pointed out that the government would be unable to collect the millions in fines' revenues from Airbnb and others that there was the shattering realisation of what had been done. Apart from apartments having been consigned to a Kafka-esque non-existence of neither authorisation nor prohibition, the revenue from the fines to have been earmarked for establishing illegal street sellers' cooperatives would evaporate. Complete meltdown. There was really only one thing to do: go and get drunk.

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