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Fish trading feels electronic bug

THE Palma fish exchange has caught up with the times. The days of traders doing deals on the sidelines and writing their purchases down on a scrap of paper are over. The whole system is now done electronically and Palma's once rather “rustic” exchange looks like a stockbroker's dealing room. But of course there are complaints. On the first day of dealing, fish actually arrived in Palma's various municipal markets two and a half hours late. A costly delay. There are also allegations of “speculative” buying, a state of affairs more reminiscent of Wall Street or the City of London. But I am sure that these problems will be ironed out in the not too distant future. I have only visited the exchange once as it opens as 6a.m. but it was quite an experience. Myself and Humphrey Carter arrived at about 5.30a.m. and headed for the bar in front. The bar was packed and we were soon joined in conversation by a group of fishermen. We were invited to a round of “wawas” basically anis with water (not very much) and drunk from tall glasses. Well now I know how fishermen stay awake...an absolute bombshell. I wonder how all that crowd are enjoying the new electronic dealing. It certainly must be a sight!

I don't believe it!

ACCORDING to official figures the cost of living actually went down in the Balearics last month. Now, I don't like questioning government reports but I haven't noticed any change at all. In fact I would say that prices have continued to rise. There is no doubt that mainland Spain is far cheaper than the Balearics. But despite all our moans and grumbles you mustn't forget that we are living in one of the most sought after places in the Mediterranean. Perhaps it's a small price to pay.

On the hunt for markets

ONE of the attractions in Majorca I feel don't get enough publicity are all the markets. Santa Maria on a Sunday is one of my favourites although I was impressed with the car boot sale at Consell. I've heard that this event is so popular that the “car booters” actually have to start queuing at 3a.m. on Sunday morning. If you haven't been, please go, it is most enjoyable. I wonder what David Dickinson of Bargain Hunt fame would make of it? Cheap as chips no doubt. Also, opening yesterday in the trade fair complex was Antic Art, a specialised antiques fair in the Poligono de Levante.

Vibrant Santa Catalina

WHAT a vibrant part of Palma the Santa Catalina has become. It also must be one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the city. It is amazing the shops you find there ranging from a British style second hand shop to your traditional Majorcan curtain shop. If you want a restaurant you are spoilt for choice. Acting on the advice of our restaurant critic Andrew Valente I have enjoyed some great meals in this part of town.

No frills battle

THERE is going to be a real battle of the “No frills” airlines this summer in Majorca. EasyJet has moved into Germany and Air Berlin has moved into Britain. As the chairman of the German airline said “they come to Germany we go to London.” I don't doubt that in the long run we will all benefit from cheaper fares.

Off to Minorca

I must say that I envy our Rural Life columnist Dr. George Giri who is off to Minorca next week. Fittingly for Mancor's best known British resident and as a former Surgeon Captain in the “Senior Service” he is staying at the Admiral Nelson hotel. In fact George will be staying in Minorca much longer than the famous Admiral who in fact only went ashore to have lunch. Full marks to Minorca for creating a real piece of folklore out of a “Menu del Dia.” eOn a final note
DOESN'T Palma look great when the sun is shining. Looking forward to a nice relaxing sunny Sunday dodging the roller-bladers along the Paseo Maritimo. Well at least it keeps you fit!