TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Wil … another great underwater shot from one of Wil’s diving trips off Madeira’s coast. Looks like a platypus, but what would I know?
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 26/6/2008
TAP have refused a request by the Regional Government of Madeira to put a ‘ceiling’ on the prices they charge residents of Madeira to travel to and from mainland Portugal. With the liberalisation of that particular route, and the residents subsidy of €30 per journey, why would they do it? With SATA covering the same route, and Easyjet later this year, and the option of the new ferry, the competition is there, so why should they bow to government interference? Those who read this blog regularly know that TAP gets a lot of bad press, but for once I am sticking up for them.
The other 3 front page stories are football, the continuing saga of unlicensed sand extraction (as covered at the weekend), and something that was too uninteresting and technically challenging for a translation by a man of my limited skills.
Other News :
The Ilhas Selvagens, which form part of the Madeira Archipelago despite being nearer to the Canary Islands have been included in a project to identify the ‘Seven Wonders of Nature’ in the world. The islands are a restricted nature reserve, with several many rare species as residents. In total there are 277 candidates on the list which you can see at www.new7wonders.com . I have just visited that site, and would have to say that the whole logic of the thing is flawed. 99.99999% of the worlds population has never seen the Ilhas Selvagens because they are so remote and access is by permit only, so how can you vote on the basis of the one aerial photograph on the website?
In an unusual style robbery of a tobacconist in Funchal, the thief found his way in through the roof of the building by removing roof tiles and entering through the attic. The thief stole money and cigarettes from the shop, and the immigrant owner owner said ” I left Venezuela to flee the robberies and the insecurity …”. The Diário have named the robber the ‘Trapezista’.
In a few days the company that operates the ferry service Madeira / Portimão / Canary Islands, ‘Naviera Armas’, is to open a shop in the port of Funchal to sell tickets and advise travellers. Up until now you had to ring their call centre or use the website to obtain information.
Taxi fares are to rise by between 5 and 5.5% later this year, after an agreement was reached between the government department responsible and the two taxi associations. The rise will help to cover the increase in fuel costs.
You may have noticed that I am scratching round for interesting news, and finding little, so I hope for better luck tomorrow.
My trip to Modelo yesterday was interesting as always. I like Hyper Sã, but everything there is neat and tidy and it all goes very smoothly … never any fun or surprises, and Pingo Doce is generally more expensive. But Modelo is the shopping equivalent of our fine government. The regular faults will always be there (no prices, wrong prices, can’t find stuff, out of stock, gangways blocked with pallets, big checkout queues etc.), but yesterday I discovered something new. And that wasn’t the new range of pretty average greetings cards they have on display at a whopping €2.29 each (I presume someone must have told them that foreigners from certain countries are stupid enough to pay that sort of sum, but I don’t think it will catch on with the locals).
I usually make a point of passing the table that has the reduced price items that are near their sell by date (In Rib. Bra they put a purple bar-coded label on them), and yesterday it was laden with bottles of Sagres Beer … judged to be the finest beer in Portugal, and with a new purple price label of €0.24 each. Now its not like I had a choice in the matter, so in the trolley they went with a few other items nearing the pongy date. 21 in all.
At the checkout I put all the 21 items at the back, so I could watch them go through at hopefully the correct price at the end, but little did I know that the bar-codes do not work on their tills, and every code on every item had to be entered by hand. Bless the cashier who worked so hard to read and input the tiny 26 digit bar-code numbers, but she got it wrong 9 times that I noticed and had to do it again. 21+9=30, x 26 digits = 780 digits to input. It took around 20 minutes, and you can just imagine the grumblings in the growing queue behind me.
Preparations are nearly complete for the Festival of São Pedro this weekend in Ribeira Brava. The thousands of lights were switched on last night, and the town is a mass of flowery decorations and flags. Building the barbecues and bars on the beach and other patches of wasteland is well underway, but these are not self-assembly kits, these are made from wooden pallets, planks and sticks, and sometimes with a fresh foliage roof. I have not managed to find a programme of events, but asking around town, it seems that the entertainment starts tomorrow at noon, with the 600 strong parade starting at around 10.30pm, followed by the firework display. Everything is open all night long, so I am told. Then Sunday (the actual day of Saint Peter), there is another programme of entertainment. Starting at 6pm in the evening there is a series of performances, including ‘The Dance of the Espadas’, groups from South Africa and Northern Portugal, and according to local radio where I have heard them mentioned several times already this morning, the star event is a dance group from England (Manchester) of international renown. I am not going to name them and spoil the surprise, but on Monday I will reveal all for those who weren’t able to attend.
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