Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pin The Tail On The Tourist

Esporles. What do we know of the place? It is home to La Granja, it has a sweets fair every October and Mick of the Council was its mayor for ten years. Since ascending to the presidential throne at the Council, Mick and his cultural vice-presidential compadre Frank (Miralles) have been bigging up the island's fiestas. They are a means for tourists to get to know the real Mallorca, the authentic Mallorca. Not, therefore, the Mallorca with roads with all-summer-long jams, with every last piece of the streets of old Palma crammed with visitors, with locals ejected from their dwellings by Airbnb, with youthful tourists leaving trails of vomit between Magalluf and Playa de Palma. No, this is the authentic Mallorca with tranquil village squares cooled by Tramuntana breezes and where visitors can engage in cultural exchange with the locals and discover the limitless joys of bread with oil and tomato and of ball de bot, little-jumping folk dancers.

Esporles does have tourists. Not huge numbers but numbers nonetheless. They are swelled by cyclists overrunning the tranquil squares in springtime and excursion trips to La Granja. The right sort of place, in general though, for the Mick'n'Frank vision of touristic cultural harmony and appreciation of the rich and long history of the Island of Calm to flourish. However.

There are two bits to Esporles: the old bit and the new bit. The latter of these, Vilanova, has had its fiestas. Jolly little affairs, they will be more of an occasion for the indigenous population of the new bit than for outsiders. Which may be as well. Each year, the fiestas use a mascot for promotion. This mascot is the Boc, a goat. The poster took the word Boc and came up with "OverBOCking". How clever. Then there was a game to be played. Was this in the style of the "jocs tradicionals" that feature so heavily in village fiestas and can allow visitors to understand the traditions of jewel races and spinning tops? Well, it depends what you mean by tradition. There is a new tradition. A new craze. Everyone seems to be playing it. And so in the new bit there was "hunt the guiri".

The guiri of the poster didn't, it has to be said, look like a typical tourist. Certainly not one along Punta Ballena. He was an Inspector Poirot type of character carrying a rolled-up beach umbrella (not that you really need a beach umbrella in Esporles). Anyway, if the guiris could be hunted down, there would be a free supper for the winner. Goodness, they know how to make their own fun in the new bit.

No, it wasn't xenophobic, which had been a criticism. It was all a spot of humour with an ironic touch, said the organising committee, that took "massification" and holiday rentals as its themes. And humorous it no doubt was. Absolutely no offence was meant or indeed caused. It was all just a variation on a "joc tradicional" that isn't necessarily one here in Mallorca. Pin the tail on the donkey, with a tourist as the substitute. Mick'n'Frank, as far as one is aware, haven't commented.

No comments: