TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … Xmas flower display – that’s it for Christmassy stuff, and thanks for everyone for taking the trouble of sending their photos in.
Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 24/12/2008
A small piece on the famous farmers market in Funchal on Tuesday night, saying that the sellers were not concerned by the poor weather forecast. I guess that was written before the event, but the main story headlines “Rain interferes on the night of the market. The unstable weather certainly did not help, but even so many Madeirans were equipped with umbrellas, and fulfilled the tradition of the ‘Noite do Mercado’ “. Not as many people turned up as were expected, but that was probably as the rain had already started at the end of the evening. A few turned up to do their shopping, but the majority were there to enjoy the occasion, with a ‘vinho e alhos’ sandwich, a ‘quarto de litro’ (wine?), a beer or a poncha, and maybe a dance and singsong. The rest of the article is taken up with interviews with revellers, shoppers and traders. There are some photos here, but you may need to be logged in to get access: www.dnoticias.pt/Default.aspx?file_id=dn04010212241208
Trade Unions representing workers in construction, commerce, hotels and other sectors are angry that many workers did not receive their Xmas subsidy in time. They say that the excuse of the ‘financial crisis’ is not acceptable. The subsidy is payable to salaried workers at Christmas, almost as an extra payday. Lots of examples are given, but the unions believe there are many more cases yet to come to light. That is really sad, as I know so many people rely on this payment to fund their Xmas presents and celebrations. It certainly won’t be much of a festive season for many without it, and I doubt whether these people will be returning to work with a high degree of motivation afterwards.
The children’s playground in Ribeira Brava (near the church) is normally well used, but there are those who see it as a ‘step back in time’. The equipment is made of iron, and the floor area is not of an adequate standard to protect children, contrary to current legislation. The article points out the amount of money the council has spent on new facilities and upgrading throughout the town, but although the councillor interviewed agrees that the playground needs to be upgraded, he says that “the times are difficult” and funding is not available. Funny that as it was only a few days ago that I read about the €27 million budget allocation for the town. This is a backward thinking PSD run council for sure. This week I witnessed again the cleaning of the sea front swimming pool … great, but it will not be in use for many more months. They are planning to upgrade street lights to make the town safer, but there is no one out at night to mug, and it is a safe town already and the street lights are fine, and I hate to think what is spent every year on dressing up the town for various celebrations and festas (always nice, but well OTT).
The front page sports story is an interview with the Marítmo defender ‘Marcos’, who says he dreams about playing in the English league. The other story is the continuing political row over the ‘jackpot’ budget, which by now must be a familiar word in the Portuguese language, and I expect to see it appear in new editions of Portuguese dictionaries.
Other News :
‘Much party, but little shopping’ that is the headline for the story about the Market Night in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. One trader said after 14 hours on his stall he had sold half of that he had sold in 2007, another said “people only want to eat and drink”. Financial crisis … I don’t know, but it seems to me people will always buy the same amount of fruit and vegetables, whilst other purchases suffer. Is this not a case that these pre-Xmas markets are turning into social events, and people don’t want to be lugging heavy bags around with them? If that is true, this phenomenon is destined for disaster, as if the traders can’t sell their produce then there is no point in a market … and no party.
A heartwarming story about a lady called Guida Pinto who was going blind as she needed a cornea transplant, and until 5 months ago she couldn’t get one or afford to pay for one. However the Diário came to the rescue and as well as publishing the story, also opened a bank account for donations, paying for her to go to Lisbon for the operation.
Back on the subject of illegal fireworks, the Diário reports that illegal ‘bombs’ are being smuggled in from the continent. The reason being that they are more powerful and louder than the the ones legally on sale here, and that’s what people want … despite the extra danger they create.
The plans for a massive urbanisation for the area west of Funchal, called Amparo, are in the courts at present awaiting a judicial ruling. Opponents of the development are optimistic that the judgement will recognise a number of illegalities in the plans and stop the project before it starts.
A new partnership between two travel companies has resulted in a new price comparison website for Portuguese travellers, where bookings can be made online. The new site searches many airlines servicing Portugal (and Madeira of course) and gives an instant price comparison. TAP and SATA came up on my attempt, but they say that Easyjet and members of the ‘Star Alliance’ will also be searched where the route services Portugal. They didn’t give a website address, but I managed to track it down :
I know you can buy Colgate toothpaste here in all the supermarkets, so I thought it was worth mentioning that ‘fake Colgate’ toothpaste has been found on sale in both America and Europe, and although it presents no health risk it may contain an extra ingredient found in anti-freeze. I suppose I can understand how people are tempted to make fake designer clothing etc., as they are expensive and can be easily copied and sold much cheaper, but toothpaste! Having just brought 3 tubes in Modelo when it was half-price a few week ago, I am highly suspicious that they may indeed be fakes, the trouble is how will I know? As I don’t live in a cold country, there is not much point putting it in a car radiator to see if prevents ice forming, so perhaps I need to clean my teeth and then put my head in the deep freezer for half an hour to see if my teeth remain ice free? If I do find it to be forged, can I then take it back to Modelo and demand a refund, and how will I be able to prove my case to them? Perhaps I can resell them on Ebay? Too many difficult questions for a festive period … it’s all making my head spin!
I mentioned before about this, but he has now gone to taxiing full time : Nelson’s Taxi – now working around the clock everyday. Covering pick ups between Calheta and Ribeira Brava, along with special airport pick up / drop off prices … just mention madeira4u. email : firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 964 487595 He speaks English very well, and is reliable and honest.
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