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 see that senior tourism officials from Majorca have been meeting with British travel industry representatives to try and coordinate their approach to cracking down on boozed-up British tourists over the forthcoming season. Happily, it seems that both sides are happy to collaborate on a number of measures that should, if observed properly, help to reduce the incidents of unsocial behaviour that plague certain resorts across the island over the summer months. Indeed, the close monitoring of opening hours of shops selling alcohol, is a small step in the right direction and strict regulation of promotional drinks offers are both modest and sensible moves. Nevertheless, other measures seem a little counter-productive, certainly the one that suggest three drinks per meal at All Inclusive hotels. I know that I am no expert, but I think it highly unlikely that potential troublemakers actually sit down to lunch or dinner in their A I’s determined to drink the restaurant dry - in my limited experience the targets of this campaign are not usually found in All Inclusive’s, if at all - more the territory of Mr & Mrs Bloggs and 2.4 children, or Mr & Mrs “Turned-Out-Nice Again!” Anyway, I have been told that in your average AI you would have to sup vast amounts of booze even to feel slightly tipsy given the meagre alcohol content of the booze available.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Nevertheless, I think that most fair people would applaud the effort that these tourism professionals are putting in, to try to control unacceptable behaviour by….we have been told, a shrinking minority. People in the hospitality industry on the island that I know, have told me that although there is a long way to go in terms of acceptable behaviour in certain resorts at certain times of the night, the situation is far from the desperate and dangerous one of four or five years ago. Evidently, the various initiatives put into place by locally affected councils and the really good work of the private sector to improve the local environment at a number of levels has helped enormously. However, on a day to day level I think their could be improvements. I know that policing certain areas is both time consuming and needs a lot of manpower - but, at the height of the season, what else are the cops going to do?
Personally, I would go for a ‘Zero Tolerance’ ban on all drunken and anti-social behaviour. Groups of lads (or lasses) staggering along the ‘strip’ in any resort town is not a particularly pleasant sight, particularly when the inevitable fight breaks out. Why not try the ‘Cooler’ system, whereupon drunks and troublemakers are put into a designated area for the night if they are deemed socially unacceptable and released the next morning upon producing 500 euros either in cash or via a card? Illiberal? Yes, certainly. Effective? A night in a ‘cooler’ and a 500 bucks fine…what do you think?
“BLOODY FOREIGNERS” - DON’T YOU LOVE ‘EM?
Just to underline the international nature of the times we live in, it was fascinating to discover via the pages of a long forgotten British Sunday newspaper article, that there are at present almost 26,000 foreign pupils in the Balearic education system. Furthermore, this number does not account for the significant numbers of foreign students/pupils who are being educated at International or private schools. At a guess, the inclusion of these youngsters could well lift the overall total to something very adjacent to 30,000. In drilling down into the detail of this report it seems that many ‘foreign’ children are struggling to achieve verbal and written fluency in Castilian - let alone Catalan.
In an age of crude nationalism and unbridled xenophobia being socially acceptable, I still find it remarkable that the majority of Majorcans treat us foreigners with such good manners and a civilised stoicism which I am not sure that we could reciprocate back in the United Kingdom.
For the record I have managed a little research on this matter and have discovered that more than 300,000 British citizens live in Spain (that’s officially!) currently whilst 80,000 Spanish nationals are domiciled in Great Britain. Statistics reveal that 1.2 million Brits live and work within the European Union while 3.3 million live and work in Blighty from Europe (EU). Significantly, in terms of ‘worldwide’ migration, at the moment over 4.5 million British citizens live and work around the world. I know that statistics can mean something or nothing; but it is surely true to say that we live in a truly multi-national world and to ignore that fact might be very foolish indeed. Call me stupid, but why then do some of us Brits who live abroad in a European Union country, find it necessary to insult and mock our extremely patient hosts? Alas, I was the victim of an overhead conversation, whereupon those taking part seems to think that they were living on the planet Zog not a country full of “bloody foreigners.” Kind people would call it a lack of self-awareness, others would tell the appalling truth!
DON’T MENTION THE WEATHER
I am almost afraid to say too much about the wonderful weather we have been enjoying here on the island. Indeed, we have agreed that when we talk to our UK based family and friends at any time, we mustn’t bang-on about how nice the weather is and why it could be April, not February. You know, the sort of things that really get on the wick on Blighty based folk who are awaiting for another storm to hove into view a we approach the weekend. If my memory serves me correctly, they are on course for the 4th storm tossed weekend in a row and the last thing that they need is sun drenched social media pics and smug phone calls to reinforce the point that the weather in Majorca is - fab-u-lous darling!
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