Hospital chips, Market night, New Year fireworks, Fantasia comes to Madeira, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Carlos … the long awaited photo of his presépio … nice job Mrs. Carlos!

Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 23/12/2008

The body responsible for managing the health service of Madeira is to introduce electronic ‘chips’ to control patients and visitors through computerisation, to improve security, and to link to medical records. The chips will be introduced next year, and will also be put in the ID bracelets of new born babies with an alarm trigger incorporated, should the baby suffer a health complication. The chip will also be linked to a colour coded priority system. Although the implementation will not start until next year, the computerised systems are not expected to be completed until 2012.

In a preview of last nights ‘market night’ in Funchal, the Diário recalls how over the year the event has changed from a essential shopping event to a social and entertainment event. More and more people go every year, and whilst the pockets of street traders suffer more, the ‘tascas’ and bars gain more and more. In fact many visitors go and and buy their fruit and vegetables before the event gets going, or on Xmas eve itself, so they are ‘hands free’ on the night itself. This year, for the first time, red commemorative t-shirts were available with ‘Noite do Mercado’ as the motif. In a separate but related article, CMF (Funchal Council) are noted as giving the 53 stallholders a bit of a bargain in terms of the charges for placing the stalls. It is expected to work out at just €21 per stall, not bad for around 10 hours heavy trading.

More info on the new year firework display. Macedo (who are putting it all together) promise 8 minutes with “a lot of colour”. Altogether there will 44,000 fireworks and 71,000 ‘shots’ (only 67,000 in 2008). All the launch posts are now built, and they will start to be put in place on the 29th December. In total around 400 people are involved in this years project. The boss of Macedo promises a few surprises this year, but with no hints of what they might be.

A 60 year old natural of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, now living in Caracas in Venezuela, was kidnapped and held for ransom before being released. The ransom was paid by the woman’s family, and the rest of the article reads like a film script, as the money was delivered and the victim was released. Almost a daily event now in Venezuela.

Tourist numbers are definitely down this festive period, after it was predicted there would be a lot of late bookings (which could still happen of course). By this time last year Funchal was ‘sold out’, but this year there are few hotels that can claim that, with 5 star units getting a particular mention. Prices are much the same as last year taking into account the inflation rate for the year. The average length of stay for December is also dropping (6.2 nights in 2005 – 4.9 in 2007), and this year is expected to be as low as 4 nights.

There are 600 Funchal families waiting to be moved into ‘council accommodation’ currently living in unsuitable conditions, but the Funchal waiting list is full until 2011. Many of these people have severe social issues, such as broken families, and staying in their current situations only worsens these problems.

Of course the big front page photo of yesterday was from  Nacional’s drawn game at Benfica.

Other News :

A 41 year old man lost an eye after the traditional firework launching at the ‘Missa’ do Porto’ in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos.

The police raided the market at Santo da Serra again on Sunday, and obviously lessons had not been learned from last month. 992 pirate DVD’s and 95 items of fake designer clothing were seized.

Madeira is to have a new visitor next month, the new cruise ship ‘Fantasia’ belonging to the Italian operator MSC Cruise. It arrives on the 9th of January, having been inaugurated last week in the company of Sofia Loren. It weighs 133,550 tons, is 333 metres long, and will carry up to 3,959 passengers and 1,325 crew. It has 99 luxury VIP suites with butler service, a 1,700 seater theatre, and a 4D interactive cinema, to name but a few of it’s many features.

During the year up until Sunday, the airlines that serve Madeira had journeyed with 889,000 empty seats, giving a worrying occupancy rate of just 71.8%. The average of 55 daily flights brought in total 2.3 million travellers during that period. I find the average daily flights figure a bit hard to swallow, so I reckon that must be in and out.

The New Democrat Party €30 giveaway went down very well on Monday, with queues stretching down the street. It was only supposed to amount to €5,000 in total, but  in the end the man known as ‘Rabbit’ put his hand deeper into his furry pocket and found another €2,500, in the end making 250 pensioners very happy. €7,500 for 250 votes in 2009? Not good value, as I reckon he will need another €3 million to buy-off a majority of Madeira’s voters … but every little helps.

The Bloco de Esquerda Party (‘Left Block’) are to start a campaign against the cable car at Rabaçal. It will start in the new year with the launching of a new petition. Obviously they feel they can better the 5,900 votes achieved for the on-line petition, and if they can go on the streets and get tourist support, then I would agree that a much better showing is possible.

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For anyone travelling over Xmas, you might find it useful to know that the 26th of December is an official holiday for Madeira this year, whereas normally it is not. That will affect public transport and other services. The 2nd of January is not a public holiday, but you might find services a bit slow and undermanned.

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16 thoughts on “Hospital chips, Market night, New Year fireworks, Fantasia comes to Madeira, & other snippets”

  1. anyone at the market night yesterday? If the weather was anything like here in Ribeira Brava it must have become a wash-out as the night went on! Forecast for tomorrow … much of the same.

    I don't know what will be on tomorrow's blog yet, but I will set a page up when I get up, for anyone who wants to say hello or whatever. There might be one or two celebrities checking in also … we will see what happens

    –Der

    Reply
  2. Fab night last night Der, although very wet , but people were out in their thousands.

    weather not looking good , with the carnival, flower festival, and now the market night all spoiled by the weather, everyones looking at New Years Eve, with the provisional Forecast of a wet christmas , then sum sun , then bad weather for the New Year. Locals say it happens every 5 years, so i guess we will wait and see.
    –Tobi

    Reply
  3. All the forecasts agree Tobi – and we are due to fly to the UK on Tuesday. Do you reckon we'll go? Yes, I know it is unconventional to go from Madeira for New Year. At least it is cheap to go on 30th!

    Christmas morning service at Holy Trinity, the English Church, at 11am, for those who are brave enough.
    –Andrew

    Reply
  4. thanks Alan & Andrew, same for you. It will be strange to see the church here full, and the square outside too for midnight mass, whilst all the nightspots will be almost empty … until the service has finished that is
    –Der

    Reply
  5. We went to the last of the Missas do Parto yesterday at Ponto da Pargo with our Portuguese teacher. There were over 100 people there, and the poncha and liquers came out afterwards. I think they deserved it after 9 very early mornings! It was very interesting, although hard to follow as there were no service sheets. You were just expected to know it!
    Lousy weather for the midnight mass tonight (which starts at 9.30 in Loreto – goodness knows what time it finishes!).
    –Andrew

    Reply
  6. We had an excellent night at the market last night despite the bad weather> As Tobi said people were out in their thousands. There was lots of drinking, singing and dancing etc and as far as we could tell no trouble.

    Merry Christmas
    –Elaine

    Reply
  7. thanks Karen, Don and Jon. Despite the cold and a bit of rain, loads of people out last night over my way after the church service. Not seen it so busy since São Pedro festa last June
    –Der

    Reply

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