Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Majorca.
I notice that street muggings and crime is on the increase - as thieves become bolder and bolder as the coronavirus cash crisis starts to bite harder and harder. Please be careful if you are a woman alone or elderly or infirm - plus, it might be a good idea to forget the uber-expensive watch or item of jewellery when you are out-and-about as social media has been reporting a number of disturbing incidents recently. Usually these incidents increase around Christmas and the New Year, as the normal unemployment cycle kicks in - but this year that crime model has been superseded by Covid -19 and the financial problems that it has wrought in many communities across the island. In the past, dark car parks and quiet corners were always places to avoid, but not anymore it seems with front-line areas in posh resorts being targeted for obvious reasons. Stay alert. And if you’ve got ‘It’ - it might be best not to flaunt it!
Heads you win - tails you lose!
Talking about social media and the way that information (good, bad or inaccurate!) is passed around, I’ve been fascinated by the reaction to a supposed smoking ban in public places on the island. First of all, it really is worth looking at the detail of this diktat, beyond the usual knee jerk reaction employed by the opposite sides of the argument. For instance, is this limited ban a good thing or just another unwarranted imposition brought about by government - because they can? Or is a sensible policy introduced to a limited degree to protect the public? I only say this because I have noticed that increasingly Majorcan/Spanish friends have been taking to the usual outlets i.e. Facebook and Twitter to register their outrage at, what they call - yet another incursion on their freedoms.
Indeed, some of the debates have become very heated with some outrageous conspiracy theories being aired as to why these measures are being introduced. Funnily enough, unlike in the United Kingdom where the Labour left blame the Conservative government for all manner of failures and cock-ups - here in Spain, it is the right who constantly snipe at the socialist PSOE led government for their apparent uselessness. Perhaps, being in power during a pandemic, with all the unpopular decisions that have to be made to combat it - isn’t the easiest of times to be running a country.
One rule for one...!
The tourist clear-out has moved very quickly indeed it seems, with even those resorts who appeared to have some semblance of normality in terms of visitors, suddenly wondering where they have all gone. Hey, but we know where they’ve gone don’t we? Yep, they have gone home under pressure from their governments policy of a two week self-isolation period on their arrival home from any part of Spain. Indeed, over the past week the decision of the German government has been a complete game changer. Sometimes we Brits forget that more German’s visit and holiday on our demi-paradis than we do and their sudden exit, followed by an almost complete disappearance of flights has made a bad situation completely untenable. However, given the fact that ordinary British and German visitors to Spain have to endure a period of isolation on their return home; is the same protocol in place for those who travel by private flights to-and-from the island? Rumours abound, to the effect that if you are rich enough to afford to hire a private jet to Majorca and beyond, you’ve no need to worry about those silly rules that apply to the rest of us. Apparently, if you should charter a private plane you can ‘work your way back home’ via other countries that have not been embraced into the limitations imposed by some countries. Furthermore, it is said that some flights don’t even have to do that as they come and go as they please via various countries unregulated smaller airports. It would be nice to know that the rules now being vigorously applied…apply to everyone.
Blow in this will you sir?
I was stopped and breathalysed on Monday. So my friends, was this late at night, after possibly an evening’s carousing as I wove my way home unsteadily through the village? Surprisingly perhaps, it was not. No, I was ‘pulled over’ at 11am on the roundabout just by the town hall and local police station above Andratx town. The exceptionally polite, local police officers, explained that it was part of an ongoing, and regularly irregular (if you know what is meant by that!) campaign to remind drivers to be careful not to drink and drive. Happily, I passed with flying colours, but the whole exercise did seem just a little bizarre to me. On your behalf, I quizzed the officer regarding the ‘whys and the wherefores’ of what he and his colleagues were doing breathalysing random motorists at 11 o’clock on a Monday morning. It seems that the whole exercise was entirely random - as in every 5th car on the roundabout gets stopped and tested and next week at another location the same will happen again. I couldn’t resist asking one of the coppers - why would you set this ‘stop-and-test’ campaign in the late morning, as surely only a very determined boozer would be over the limit at that time of day? He answered that these operations were easier to mount during the day because of manpower and shift patterns and told me that they moved around the municipality, undertaking this task for about a week every month or so as part of an almost permanent campaign. Naturally enough, I asked if it would not be better if this ‘testing’ were done after 11o‘clock at night rather than in the morning? He then made his unarguable ‘killer’ point - this being, “If you get breathalysed at any time of day - even in the morning, it immediately makes you think - what if?” And do you know, he’s absolutely right.
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It’s fairly common in the UK to be breathalysed in the morning. A friend of mine was caught in the morning and was over the limit from the night before! He was originally stopped for speeding. Christmas time is popular for morning tests where people might have been on company parties the night before. Also during hot spells in the summer are also popular following late night bbq and pub sessions.