Jeff Bezos with his girlfriend on board Koru while sailing in Mallorca. | JOAN LLADO
Un beso for Bezos
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, arrived in Mallorca last Monday. Accompanied by his girlfriend, American media personality Lauren Sánchez, they were said to have been mostly sporting black - which we were all keen to know - and to have been "affectionate". Which you might have expected. And so there was at least one 'beso' for Bezos, a kiss for Jeff, who may or may not have ever been to a Beso Beach. On balance, he probably hasn't been, because Beso has a habit of Instagramming celebrities to have visited its beach clubs in Formentera and Ibiza (there are a couple of others). Jeff doesn't feature among the Lionel Messis, Kate Mosses and Leonardo DiCaprios.
If he can hang around until the start of July, Jeff could get the crew of his 500 million dollar Koru to anchor off Palmanova (hopefully not on posidonia seagrass) and then be airlifted by helicopter so that he can pop in to the Beso Beach. This new one is part of the offer of the Rafa Nadal-Meliá Hotels International Zel Hotel, which will open in Palmanova on the first of July. The co-founder of Beso Beach, Rafa Viar, knows our Rafa. Yes, they've been on Instagram together; when Rafa met Rafa.
Otherwise, Koru has been drifting around off Mallorca, attempting to avoid rough seas and the odd hailstorm and being mistakenly described as the world's largest sailboat in the world. The tallest in terms of its masts, but not the biggest. Alas for Jeff, a Russian fertiliser magnate has the biggest, not that he can enjoy it as the Italian authorities seized it in Trieste in March last year. So, Koru is the largest active sailboat. Good for Jeff.
Tourism of excesses - the law or not
We can be rather more certain that Jeff will never have visited the Stereo Temple club in Magalluf. And even if he and Lauren had wished to, they would have been out of luck; Calvia town hall had sealed it off for breach of the tourism of excesses legislation. Dancers had been dancing outside and in full view of a scandalised public on account of these dancers (female) having been objectified and hyper-sexualised. The lawyer acting for the club has said that the legislation penalises behaviour "depending on the street where it is carried out". The law is therefore detrimental to clubs situated in the "zone of excesses" as determined by the government.
Tourism of excesses law or not, there are certain behaviours in Magalluf (or anywhere else for that matter) that are likely to invite the interest of the police. These include throwing bottles on a beach, playing music at loud volume, ignoring lifeguards' requests to pick the bottles up and generally being a damn nuisance and annoying everyone else on the beach. So it was with a group of ten British laddos in Magalluf, two of whom could really have done with not drawing attention to themselves. When Calvia plod turned up, they were searched and found to have been in possession of, respectively, eight and three grams of cocaine. They were fined and paid up.
Arrested when trying to flee Mallorca
More seriously in Magalluf, a 45-year-old British tourist was arrested at the airport when trying to make a getaway from the island. He had been accused of rape by a 20-year-old British woman. She had an early flight back to the UK and so had checked out of her room and arranged to spend the night in the room of the 45-year-old's son. He, the son, went out for the night. She went to sleep. However, there was a connecting door to the father's room. He allegedly forced her to have sex. She reported the matter to the Guardia Civil, who discovered that the man had left the hotel. Officers went to the airport and located him at a boarding gate. A court ordered him to be remanded in custody.
Coming back to the Bezos Koru or indeed to any other billionaire superyacht/sailboat, one trusts that the onboard music is kept at low volume. The issue of party boats assumed great prominence early last week after nineteen boats anchored off Colonia Sant Jordi and had a thirteen-hour overnight disco. On the back of this, residents of Son Armadans in Palma were wondering what difference there was between the Colonia nineteen and one boat that is moored by the Paseo Marítimo. (Eighteen?) The 'samba boat' has apparently been causing the residents to suffer "for years" because of the volume of the music that blares from it.
But if the residents were to use a phone app to measure the decibels, they might not get very far with the town hall. Residents by the city's bullring were complaining about a German Schlagermusik festival. Using an app, they took decibel readings which measured above the permitted level. However, the town hall explained that these can only ever be "indicative values". Police measurements are the ones that matter, and the police have precision meters costing some ten grand each. Readings had been taken and they were, as they would say in Germany, "in Ordnung".
Preparing for the Spanish students
In neighbouring Llucmajor - Arenal specifically - efforts are to be made to "shield" the resort from the worst excesses of Spanish students. The first loads of them for what are sometimes laughingly referred to as study trips will be arriving in around three weeks' time. Measures adopted by the town hall and police will include fencing off the beach from nine in the evening. This will be to avoid any drinking parties on the beach and vandalism and to try and improve the coexistence with residents (or rather the lack thereof). Arenal residents have been enduring three to four weeks of hell for years.
Always on strike
While mere mortals taking a cruise on a ship based in Palma will arrive by a normal flight at the airport, owners of 500 million dollar sailboats skip the inconvenience of having to slum it with the masses and take a private jet instead. Moreover, it's pretty unlikely that they'll have to endure disruption because the pilot has decided to go on strike.
Anyone flying with a Spanish airline this summer could well face such disruption, the Sepla union of pilots in Spain having proposed stoppages at all airlines because of apparent abuses by Spain's transport ministry in respect of minimum services provided by Air Europa and Air Nostrum, both of which currently have disputes. As Sepla represents pilots with foreign airlines, the likes of Ryanair and easyJet could also be affected.
Michael O'Leary is a prominent voice with A4E, Airlines for Europe, who are calling on the European Commission to adopt "firm and effective" measures to prevent strikes by air-traffic controllers. While they're at it, they might want to ask Brussels to do something about pilots, cabin crews, handling staff, airport security personnel and any other collective who creates a situation whereby there always seems to be a strike in the air transport sector.
Blocking the airport plan
Ryanair have meanwhile been affected by a Palma town hall planning decision - one not to grant initial approval to the Aena airports authority's 'special plan' for the airport. The town hall, which has recently been stressing that it has nothing much to do with the airport when it comes to policing - as with the nonsense on the access road to arrivals parking - pays far greater attention when it comes to planning. It has therefore blocked all new building and activity licences for third parties. Ryanair is one of these third parties. The airline wants a new hangar; the town hall says no, or at least until approval is given to the Aena plan.
The airports authority is emphasising that this plan doesn't involve consumption of land that is already available - within the airport grounds therefore - while there is a general criticism of the town hall for preventing the creation of new jobs.
There is also a touch of irony about this. The town hall is of course committed to the development of the tram service. But the Aena plan also includes the terminal for the tram. It would seem, therefore, that unless the town hall gives approval, the terminal might prove to be somewhat problematic.
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