Didgeridoo Dreamtime

Didgeridoo

One would normally not associate Mallorca with didgeridoos, dreamtime or songlines. But imagine my surprise when I read that this weekend just gone, the IV. Encuentro Didgeridoo Mallorca took place in Palma de Mallorca. Sadly, I picked up the information too late to attend the event myself, as so often happens here in Mallorca, and I could not tell you about it in good time. We’ll just have to wait another year for the next encounter.

Surprisingly, there seems to be quite a large community of didgeridoo players, here in Mallorca. Hernán Livolsi, the Argentinian initiator of the Mallorcan Didgeridoo Encuentro, already in its fourth year, seems to be making his instruments himself, judging from his page on Myspace ( I think I’ve heard him perform in Palma once before and I must say, he plays pretty good). I’ll upload a video of a street performance of his in case you should like to listen to him playing this Australian instrument.

Some years ago, I met another guy, then living in Ca’s Concos d’es Cavaller, who made his own didgeridoos out of the trunks of the Agave cactus. He was also playing the instrument quite well, and the sound of his didge sounded pretty genuine as well. I now seem to have forgotten his name.

Encuentro_Didgeridoo

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 1st, 2008. The time was 11:52:27.

Didgeridoo Dreamtime

The End Of Summer

s’Arenal_Petit

Now that Summer appears to be nearing its end, let me offer you a photograph taken during an outing to the beach of S’Arenal Petit in Portocolom, situated on the way to the Far de Sa Punta de Ses Crestes lighthouse.

Portocolom is a rather pleasant seaside community belonging to the municipality of Felanitx, affording the largest natural harbour in Mallorca. Luckily, the place has not been spoiled by touristic overdevelopment as yet.

I did not manage to find out the name of the small islet/rock for you, shown here. Does anyone know if it has a name?

The photo was taken in Portocolom, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 14th, 2009. The time was 15:27:41.

The End Of Summer

Walnut Trees In Mallorca?

Juglans_regia

When I first came across a walnut tree (Juglans regia) in Mallorca, I couldn’t believe it. I thought that walnuts were native to the eastern Mediterranean and to the Balkans, to Persia, the Himalayas, China and so forth.

But the walnut tree seems common in Mallorca (nogal in Castellano, noguer in Catalan). I must have seen a few dozen of them by now in various parts of the island. However, I have not yet come across a Mallorcan walnut tree with nuts of a pleasant or a satisfactory taste. Perhaps the tree is grown here mainly for the wood instead of for the fruit. The wood is used for fine furniture as well as for rifle and shotgun handles.

Most walnuts sold in the Mallorcan shops seem to be imported from abroad.

The photo was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 20th, 2009. The time was 20:36:54.

Walnut Trees In Mallorca?

The Coso de Felanitx

cosos

The Festes de Sant Agustí in Felanitx are in full swing. In fact, today is the main day, the saint’s day.

People not living in Felanitx might think that the main purpose of the Felanitx festivities are the novillas (bullfights) in the Felanitx Macarena (bullring). But, far from it.

Sant Agustí is the day of the penyas in Felanitx. The original Felanitx penya is the Penya El Coso de Felanitx, going back to the Eighties of last century. I understand that this penya was originally founded as an outlet to criticise or otherwise disapprove of the authorities such as politicians and the local administration. El Coso was also set up to celebrate the art of bullfighting.

The symbol of El Coso is Sa Quica, traditionally a live domestic cock, but in recent years the cock was replaced by a plastic replica, tied to a long pole.

In 2009, the traditional bullfights were not authorised. Instead, a live rooster was used again, in defiance of the by-law, albeit a somewhat bewildered, if timid cock. Sa Quica was held in a small cage placed on a velvet cushion and handled with great care. Let’s see what else El Coso have up their sleeves today to make up for the bulls that aren’t.

sa_quica

Other penyas have sprung up in Felanitx, too, over the years. Things have changed; not everybody is in favour of the bullfights any more and not every penya wants to criticise the authorities. Some penyas just want to have some fun and be out all day partying on their day off.

Without any doubt, the biggest penya by far is still the one of the Es Coso, even today. The autoridades are still there, here in Felanitx, in Mallorca and in Madrid, politicians that need to be reminded of the citizens’ considerations and welfare. And Felanitx still feels Mallorquín first, and Spanish only much later.

The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2007. The time was 08:41:34. The photo (bottom) was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2009. The time was 07:59:23.

The Coso de Felanitx

Banana Republic

tormenta

In keeping with the annual Mallorcan weather pattern, we had some rain here yesterday in Felanitx. Hooray, at last. We had not seen any rain to speak of since last May.

It was a strange Summer this year in Mallorca. Instead of the usual dog days heat in August, we had four spells of extreme and sultry heat this year, starting as early as May, paired with an unusual degree of stifling humidity. I don’t think I have suffered from as much sweat as I have done this year, ever since we moved here twenty-two years ago. Even though the weather forcast promises us temperatures above 30° C from next Saturday, I would dare predict that within a week or ten days’ time we will have Autumn storms and heavy rains, even a gota fría, bringing with them an end to the Summer. Mark my words.

Yesterday’s tormenta (tempest) brought with it some 18,000 lightning bolts over the Balearic Islands, mostly out over the Mediterranean Sea, but quite a few of them also in the Tramuntana mountain range and a few hundred in the island centre, including over Felanitx.

The storm of thunder and lightning caused the electricity to go off, yet again. Power cuts are quite common in Mallorca. This time the power cuts were of a short duration, but here in Felanitx we had at least one dozen short spells of no light yesterday, all within an hour’s interval.

Somehow Spain is still a Third World country as far as infrastructure is concerned, or so it seems. You might even say, Spain is still a kind of a Banana Republic. Certainly here in Mallorca the availability of electricity, water, gas, sewage, postal services, telephone, TV and Internet is rather irregular and often very unreliable.

But one seems to get used to the island’s shortcomings after a while. I suppose that’s what makes a paradise just that.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 26th, 2009. The time was 15:18:07.

Banana Republic

Raixa Gardens Still Closed

Raixa

When the Consell de Mallorca bought the Mallorcan possessió of Raixa in 2002 for the sum of 8,200,000 € with quite some substantial help from the Spanish government and the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente in Madrid, the general public was promised that the famous estate, its historic buildings and the splendid gardens would be restored to their former glory as soon as possible. One should perhaps bear in mind that the central government minister in charge in Madrid at the time was Jaume Matas, a Mallorcan who later turned into the President of the Govern de les Illes Balears (1996-1999 and 2003-2007).

Alas, nothing much has happened since the purchase was done. Perhaps money ran out. Perhaps what funds were left in Mallorca had to be spent on the Palma Arena (another folly, also closely related to Señor Matas).

In 2007, we were promised that at least the Raixa gardens would be cleaned up and re-opened for the public. But, you can still not access the gardens should you ever want to go there.

Now we hear that at least parts of the garden will be opened before the end of 2009, any time soon so to speak. But I very much doubt it if I may say so.

Raixa_2

If one can believe what is published in the Mallorcan press and in particular, in the Diario de Mallorca, nothing much has happened to the Raixa gardens so far. The gardens still seem to be in a state of neglect. Essential repair work to caminos, walls, stairs and columns have not been carried out yet, not to speak of the plants, the trees and the pond. The gardens would seem in a state of total abandonment. In short, a disaster.

The media reports that the unbelievable sum of 32,000,000 € has been spent so far for the purchase of Raixa and works carried out since 2002. If you would care to see that figure expressed in the old Pesetes money, here we go: 5,324,352,000 Pts., a staggering amount of money in any currency. May I remind you that these funds have been paid for with tax payers’ money that you and I have contributed through IVA and other direct and indirect taxes.

I think that someone independent should take a closer look. Perhaps Raixa is yet another example of embezzlement, briberies, corruption and illegal party political funding being committed out of public money. The Palma Arena is already under juridical investigation. A number of politicians have already been arrested.

The photos were borrowed from the Internet. Thanks are due to diariodemallorca.es.

Muchas gracias.

Post Script:

The Consell de Mallorca pronounced these days that at the occasion of the Diada de Mallorca (September 3rd to 20th), guided tour visits will be offered at Raixa on Saturday, September 5th (11h00). The Mallorcan press seems to believe that similar tours will be offered weekly from now until the end of this year.

Raixa Gardens Still Closed

The Palma Breadline

breadline

In case you are hungry and don’t have the means to feed yourself, do not despair. The good people of the Convent dels Caputxins in Palma de Mallorca, frares (monks) in fact, will feed the hungry, the desolate, the homeless and the destitute, every morning from Monday to Saturday (09h00 to 10h30). The convent has a door in Carrer Bastió d’en Sanoguera where the Pa de Sant Antoni (a bocadillo and a bit of Ensaïmada) will be handed out for free without any questions asked bar your name.

Should you be hungry on a Sunday, however, heaven help.

It is my guess that a good one hundred souls solicit this charitable service every weekday. In case you wondered, the convent is situated halfway between the Mercat de l’Olivar and the Plaça d’Espanya.

pa_sant_antoni

In the pursuit of investigative journalism, I joined the ranks of the food seekers one day last week. I applaud the kind gesture and I appreciated the sustenance. Whilst the free offer was not a bocadillo for the discerning palate, I certainly felt nourished for a good couple of hours. Moltes gràcies.

The photos were taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The dates: August 21st, 2009 (top) and July 10th, 2009 (bottom). The time was 10:01:11 and 15:15:23, respectively.

The Palma Breadline