Meet the President

The lady in this picture, talking to the press, is the new President of the Consell Insular de Mallorca (Island Council). Her name is Francina Armengol Socías. The lady represents the PSIB-PSOE party in Mallorca; she is a native of Inca, I believe. She took office in July, 2007.

And, no, I am not one of the press pack. I just happened to pass by.

Years ago, I bumped into that other lady who was previously at the helm of the Consell. Then, it was Maria Antònia Munar, and I am glad that she is gone now. She held the post for her UM party for a total of 12 long years. A lot of nepotism was going on then, believe me. Mind you, Señora Munar is now the President of the Parliament of the Balearic Islands. 

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 23rd, 2008. The time was 11:10:26.

Meet the President

Four Times, Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal may not be Number One in the Tennis world, but he managed to claim a fourth successive Masters title yesterday, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, the first man to complete the feat in the Open era.

The King of the Claycourt is from Mallorca, needless to say, and not far from where I live. In fact, although it is constantly stated that he lives in Manacor, it would be more precise to say that Porto Cristo is his home. Rumours have it that Rafa has recently bought a country estate dating back to the 16th Century, near Santanyí, Mallorca, but I would be gossiping if I went into more details, here. 

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 27th, 2008. The time was 16:57:33.

Four Times, Rafa Nadal

Russian Orthodox Easter in Mallorca

Easter in Russia is the major religious celebration of the year. There, Easter is even more important than Christmas. Faithful and atheists, kids and adults, city people and country folk go to church to attend the Easter Mass. Easter in  Russia is a lot more than a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Unlike Easter in Spain, or Britain for that matter, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter today, April 27th.

There is a sizeable Russian community here in Mallorca, I am told, and supposedly quite a few of our Russian friends in Mallorca will attend church service today at Santa Caterina de Sena, in Carrer Sant Miquel, in Palma de Mallorca, the official Russian Orthodox church in Mallorca.

The photos were taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The dates: April 23rd, 2008, and April 15th, 2008. The time was 15:02:22, and 13:33:41, respectively.

Russian Orthodox Easter in Mallorca

Of Fish and Fishermen

When I first came to live in Mallorca, I was overwhelmed by the sumptuous presentation of fish and seafood in shops and supermarkets. I had found paradise, or so I thought.

Twenty plus years on, the fish display is still glorious in the fish halls of Mercat de l’Olivar or Mercat de Santa Catalina. But it is not a pleasant story any longer, I am afraid. Most fish and seafood on sale in Mallorca is now either imported or originates from fish farms.

A Marine biologist of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) made a point recently in saying that the Mediterranean Sea is threatened by overfishing, pollution and overdevelopment.

The scientist warned that in a few years time the Mediterranean Sea will pass from a habitat of species such as tuna and swordfish into a great pool predominantly inhabited by bacteria and jellyfish.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 12h, 2008. The time was 14:51:57.

Of Fish and Fishermen

Arab Poets in the Balearic Islands

When I went to Palma de Mallorca on the occasion of Sant Jordi, the World Book Day, there were two finds that excited me. The first find was a book, published in Catalan, with the title “Els poetes àrabs de les Illes Balears“.

Here is one of the poems, written in Arabic by Idris al-Yamani some 900 years ago and quoted in Catalan. The Balearics, and most of Spain, were under the rule of the Caliphate of Córdoba at that time. The period of al-Andaluz was a prosperous time for Spain.

Un bes que va ser sorprenent,
perquè es va endur la set que jo tenia;
Ella té tal dignitat, que
si la perdés, no viuria;
Vingué a mi de nit quan les tenebres
vestien la pell de la serp;
Com si les estrelles en aparèixer
fossin monedes en una mà tremolosa.

This pleasing book is published bilingual in Arabic and Catalan, by Institut d’Estudis Balearics.

I will post some snippets about the second find of that day, some time soon.

The photos were taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The dates: April 2nd, 2008. The time was 15:02:22, and April 23rd, 2008, at 13:33:41, respectively.

Arab Poets in the Balearic Islands

Portrait of a Virgin

The virgin in question here is Sainte Bernadette, born Maria Bernada Sobirós, from Lourdes, in the Occitanian part of the French Pyrenees, barely 50 km from the Spanish borders. The young Demoiselle is said to have had an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the Grotte de Massabielle, back in 1858, at age 14. She was canonized for her visions in 1934.

I took the photo of this devotional artefact at the Oratori de Santa Margalida de Crestatx, Sa Pobla, which dates back to the 13th Century. Quite obviously, a devoted Mallorcan worshiper had been visiting the miraculous well in Lourdes in 1938. One has to know that the Catholic faith is the prevalent religion in Spain. Spanish devotees make up quite a sizeable portion of the 5,000,000 pilgrims who visit Lourdes every year, with quite a few of them from Mallorca, it seems.

Sainte Bernadette, priez pour nous.

The photo was taken near Pollença, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 19h, 2008. The time was 16:09:29.

Portrait of a Virgin