MY schedule for giving visiting friends or relatives their first Three Kings experience used to be planned with military precision. First Arenal for 6.30 pm when the Tres Reyes would arrive by boat at the Yacht Club. By 7 this would be over and we'd pile back into the car and head for Palma.
By 8 we'd be parked in Plaza Bicep Beranger and well placed in Calle Olmos to await the procession.
This would appear about 8.30, take an hour to pass then we'd retire back to the square to finish off a memorable evening with a memorable dinner in Cellar Sa Premsa. Like your restaurant Guru Andrew Valente this is one of my favourite eating places great atmosphere, great food, great price.
No more! Probably the Elf and Safety lobby has been responsible for shortening the route cutting out the picturesque narrow old town streets of San Miguel and Olmos. This just leaves the wider boulevards and as a result speeded up the procession.
This year I got to the Ramblas at 7.30 and the whole thing was over. If I have to get into town for 6.30 I won't bother at all as eating around 7.30 in a typical Majorcan Bodega has no ambiance unless you like dining alone apart from the waiters having their meal before setting up their restaurant for the rush from 10.00 onwards.
With time to kill my daughter and I decided to look for her birthday present boots. There has been much correspondence in the Daily B over Rip-Off Majorca.
Editor Jason Moore has suggested setting maximum prices. Blogger Andrew Ede says this hasn't happened since the time of Franco and is probably illegal now we're in the EU.
In the past the Central Government would simply devalue the peseta and overnight everything became cheaper. Again the euro blocks this solution but there is one that can be activated by our Local Government and is alive and thriving in Calle Syndicatos competition! At least half the shoe shops are now run by Chinese at prices a quarter that of the Spanish establishment next door we bought two pairs.
I will not be at all surprised if I go back next year and find them all Chinese run if lessons are not learned. Instead of blocking them as happened to the Emporium in Coll d'en Rabassa the Ayuntamiento should encourage them to set up in notorious Rip-Off areas and in Rip-Off business activities (cafeterias, restaurants, car hire etc).
Finally we made it to newly smokeless Cellar Sa Premsa. In fun I asked for the smokers' area and our waiter complained violently about the change and on the Government's continually interfering in people's lives.
At the end of our meal my daughter lit up a smokeless cigarette (nicotine substitute) to the great concern of all and sundry. Surprise and shock seemed the most common reactions.
The waiters were initially confused about how to react but soon saw the funny side of things and joined in the joke surrounding our table as we passed around some of these look alike fags. As usual a memorable evening but for different reasons!
Playa de Palma