BY Aleksandar Krstic “FOR two long years we had endured the unpredictable weather, political upheavals and spiralling crime figures that are England, knowing that very soon we would return to the Utopia of sand, sea and sangria that is Majorca. As the days counted down on the reverse clock that I had programmed into my computer (yes, I am the worst sort of anorak) our minds were filled with thoughts of our little house in Santa Ponsa, late evening strolls with our dogs and the wondrous array of Spanish flavours that would soon please our palates as we soaked up the sunshine. Our enthusiasm wasn't even mildly blunted by the mountain of paperwork needed to get our “doggy passports” or the 90 euro fine we received at a ticket booth on a French toll road because Annie had removed her seat belt to reach across and get the ticket (yes, we were stationary at the time) or the massive fare that Trasmediterránea charged simply because they could, none of it mattered as our beloved Majorca was in sight. Our little house was just as we had left it and with a lump in my throat I helped Annie unpack and we went for a walk with the dogs and found a colony of parrots living by the beach, Oh bliss, this is what life is all about. Not really unexpected was the fact that everywhere was shut, after all it was nearly Christmas, or that it was slightly overcast, after all it was December. However the intolerance of the new breed of driver that seemed to infest the roads did come as somewhat of a surprise. We concluded that they must all be from the mainland, after all Majorcan drivers had always behaved with such consideration to us stupid tourists.
As soon as we could we went to Alcampo so that we could indulge in a mild shopping spree and I could partake of a ham hock in the little German restaurant. This led to our first real shock since we arrived. The Majorcan economy had suffered that quantum leap which had affected the UK economy during the change over to decimalisation; yes, anything that used to be 1'000 pesetas had overnight become 10 euros. How had that been allowed to happen? Hadn't anybody noticed? Perhaps the new breed of drivers was ecstatic shopkeepers rushing to the bank and as such had little time for politeness.
Not too worry, the piggy bank was filled to overflowing, all we needed was to ask the youthful checkout girl where to find a cash point. This led to our second big shock in as many minutes, nobody below the age of twenty seemed to speak English. Despite the motorway from Palma to Santa Ponsa looking like a scene from a Mad Max movie in places, with mangled wrecks littering the embankments, the journey was as usual very pleasant, with only the odd shout of ‘Ole' as a speeding driver passed us in the fast lane or slow lane or the hard shoulder or indeed anywhere where there was space. But once we were back in Santa Ponsa everything was fine in the world again. One of the most endearing qualities of Majorca has always been the seeming lack of serious crime, it was always reassuring to note that anything really nasty was still rare enough to make the front page of the paper. Of course if people were stupid enough to leave their wallets on the beach while they went snorkelling they deserved all they got, or lost, as the case may be. However we are totally gob smacked to learn that a mini crime wave has hit Santa Ponsa, with at least four shops and bars in the main street being broken into in less than a week and further rumours of a pair of muggings. This is unacceptable and must be addressed ASAP. People will accept prices that are now for the most part higher than in the UK, they will accept the need for Majorcans to preserve their roots, and they will accept the resentment of the locals due to the invasion of all the foreigners. They will not accept feeling unsafe while going out at nights, after all this is what most of us have come to Majorca to get away from.
Don't for a minute think that we are just another pair of Victor Meldrews moaning about how nostalgia isn't what it used to be and how we seem to be the only people about that bother to pick up and dispose of our doggy doos. We have been here for a month now and have loved every second of our stay, after all it's minus five in the UK and we are enjoying 21 degrees (it's a filthy job, but somebody has to do it) and minor inconveniences are just brushed aside in the rush to experience all that this great island has to offer. So if you spot a pair of really contented mature students, their pockets bulging with pooh bags and three of the cutest dogs you've ever seen, walking around Santa Ponsa, wave or blow your horn, the chances are it will be us.”


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