Market nights, Xmas subsidies unpaid, Illegal fireworks, Flight price comparisons, & other snippets

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:

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 : Tel 964 487595 He speaks English very well, and is reliable and honest.

Aside from your valued blog responses (you can reply direct using the form at the bottom of each blog comments page), please send any unreported Madeira news, topical photos, events information, or snippets for the madeira4u blog to – anyone can join in! Thank you!

12 thoughts on “Market nights, Xmas subsidies unpaid, Illegal fireworks, Flight price comparisons, & other snippets”

  1. Part of today's blog went missing for some reason, but if you are looking at the flight price comparison website, it is available in English, well here an there. You will need to clickon 'aqui' on the top of the home page to find the price search.

    If anyone is interested 'Marginal', 'Vespas', 'Golden Gate', Teatro Café all have special events on today or tonight (26th).

    There 250 visits to the blog yesterday, much more than I expected. A bit of web surfing must be part of the modern Christmas celebrations these days?

  2. You could place the glass with your teeth in into the freezer and see what happens.
    I know that we can all be grumpy old men and women sometimes so how about a list of things we like/love about Madeira between now and New Years day. I think my favorite is the first view of Funchal on the via/rapid, when coming from the airport. That means I am home.


  3. There needs to be a halt of all development in Madeira until all current developments have been sold. If it is necessary to keep people in the construction industry employed, they could always demolish the ugly skyscraper developments west of Funchal and start again in traditional mode! How about publishing some pictures of how Madeira looked 15 years ago!

  4. What a washout Christmas in Madeira has been this year. We normally spend a few hours walking the dogs on the beach and then sitting in the sun at a beach front bar enjoying a few beers before going home to eat our previously cooked Christmas dinner, but not so this year. In fact, other than trips to the bin we haven't ventured out since getting home after the Funchal market party! Not at all how I envisaged spending Christmas since moving to Madeira but I guess just another example of how global warming is affecting the whole world. Guess I had better light the fire and open another bottle of wine to console myself.

  5. for me it's the sun and nice temperatures Alan, but as Elaine says not much of that this week (although I am not sure global warming is responsible).

    A few technical probs with the blog today … sorry, but I am on the case!

  6. Coming out of the airport and breathing in the warm madeiran air, bombing it down to canico to see what else has been built, getting take away from Sa and taking in the view from Garajau

  7. What's memorable about Madeira? We first came by accident about seven years ago and stayed at Reids (on business). We both were really struck by the natural beauty of the island. Since then we have moved in our stays further and further out west. The new roads show a new and spectacular area of Madeira. Yes, it's fun to see each time we come that yet another hotel, house has been built but alongside all that is the worry that Madeira will follow in the path of the Canary Islands and over build. I for one am glad that they are having a rethink of the building immediately to the west of Funchal. They are building all those flats at a price that Madeirans can't afford and with the global financial crisis who is going to buy them? My estate agent friend tells me that there is a potential for 20 thousand empty flats – with a population in Funchal of 200,000. There are 90 estate agents operating in Funchal. This does not make financial sense. Lots of these speculative ventures in UK are now failing but at least eventually they will be lived in because despite the housing drop there still remains a need for housing – more people than houses for them to live in comfortably. Not the case in Madeira now and I think the authorites should assess whether they need to give permission for all this building work and spoil the landscape unnecessarily. Weather beautiful but cold in London.

  8. I would have to list the generosity of my neighbours. We arrive at the house and a bag of potatoes invariably appears from one , bananas from another and Maria,my favourite, a sprightly 88 ,is a bit of an unknown might be eggs, avocados, warm homemade bread or once, a couple of years ago, a live chicken for our dinner!

  9. i love stepping out of the terrifying taxi ride from the airport and walking into my little place and having that feeling of being home.

  10. Good number of hits for xmas day Der, but its not surprising looking at the news and seeing how many millions were spent online chrismas day, and amazon announcing their best christmas ever, you can see that online shopping is the way forward.

    I love the views out to the Desertas every morning, always different, and watching the cruise ships , and fishing boats passing by.


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