Free After 35 Years ; Traffic Signage Misleads ; Energy Certification Takes Off

(29th September). Today’s main news headline ‘Traffic Signposting / Signalling Full Of Faults – The motorist is often misled by the existing road signage or the lack of it. There are even incongruities between the vertical and horizontal signs. One realises it because there are those who enter onto the via rápida in the wrong lane’. It is also the main photo of today, of a main road with a sliproad, and I had to study it carefully for about 20 seconds before I saw the relevance … and what breathtaking incompetence, I am just not sure yet who from. The full article HERE also contains 8 other photos of such situations, but I not sure I understood all of them. Anyway, the roads signs are littered with flaws and inconsistencies, with the lack of electrical signage the most serious. Even the long established via rápida between Ribeira Brava and Caniçal still has problems in its signage, that could result in dangerous situations. Lots of examples given, so lets hope that the authorities get on the case and put them right. Any reader have a story, or even better a warning, about such situations?

‘Turned Back To The Sea 35 Years After’. An absolutely beautiful picture of a turtle swimming underwater accompanies the headline (not the one shown here). Freedom after 35 years in captivity for a green turtle, from the Municipal Aquarium of Funchal. Tomorrow technicians from Zoomarine and the Portuguese Navy will return the turtle to the sea, complete with a satellite transmitter. It has spent 5 years in a rehabilitation environment for marine species in the Algarve, learning to find its own food, but no one knows how it will react back in the sea. The turtle was found injured in fishing nets in the 1970’s, and was taken in for treatment, which was successful. The tank where it lived for 30 years was inadequate in size, and in 2004 it was decided that it should be set free, but to do so it was necessary to spend rehabilitation time at the centre in the Algarve. The turtle still has around two thirds of it’s natural life cycle remaining, and indeed could still be a parent, until it reaches the age of around 50. The green turtle is the second largest species of  sea turtle, and on average an adult will weigh around 160 kg, with the potential to grow to around 300 kg.

‘Mitchell Moves Forward With Marítimo In Silence – The predicted exit of Carvalhal was confirmed. "Disaster" is how Berado describes the actual situation’. Mitchell van der Gaag has been put in charge of Marítimo for now, after Carlos Carvalhal parted company with the club yesterday. The coach of the Marítimo ‘B’ side team, who used to play for Marítimo, is Dutch, but has also played in Scotland for Motherwell, and for other clubs. A bit of name dropping I know, but I met him once in Ribeira Brava, and he sat and had a coffee with me and we talked football for about half an hour (while Mrs. Gaag was off shopping I think). A real nice guy, and I really hope he does well, ‘cos it’s not many professional footballers that take the time to sit and talk to a stranger. I happened to be wearing an obsolete Motherwell football shirt at the time, in case you are wondering. And of course you couldn’t fail to notice that we both have the same name.

The entertainment headline : ‘Brussels Welcomes Youngster From Porto Santo’. Danilo Mendonça is the first student of the ‘Conservatory – Escola das Artes da Madeira’ (CEPAM) to  enter higher education in a piano course in the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Danilo is described as a diligent student, exemplary, very dedicated and hardworking. His teacher says he lives for the piano, and in three years his development is without comparison. He is already in Brussels, and will spend 3 years there to graduate, and then another two to become a master of his instrument. I think he is 18 years old, but it doesn’t actually say in the article. The future Cristiano Ronaldo of the ivories perhaps.

‘Death Overshadows Weekend’. In the regular weekend traffic report, the death of a 39 year old man [already reported here] in Funchal overshadowed the weekend that had 21 traffic accidents, 11 of which were in Funchal, with the one death and five people ‘slightly’ injured. Santa Cruz and Machico had 5 accidents each. 8 drink drivers were also detained, four of those were in Funchal.

‘Man chased thief and recovered a woman’s stolen handbag – The snatch occurred at the exit of a bus in Livramento’. The woman’s bag was snatched on Sunday night by a man aged between 20 and 30 years old, but the incident was spotted by a physical education teacher, who gave chase and recovered the stolen bag and returned it to the owner. It was at this point that the article said that the teacher actually gave chase in his car, which spoilt the whole story a bit, apart from the happy ending of course. Even PE teachers can be lazy these days it seems, as he actually turned the car around to give chase. What happened to those days when PE teachers would abandon their car in the middle of the road, drivers door left wide open, sprint after the thief, rugby-tackle him, and then hold him down whilst members of the public gathered around, clapping in appreciation? I miss those days.

‘English Tourists Still Enchanted With Madeira’. "Madeira has developed greatly over the past 30 years, but remains a popular destination, beautiful, pleasant and safe to visit." This statement was made by the British commander William Kent, during the inaugural and final visit of the cruse ship ‘Tahitian Princess’, which took place last Saturday at the port of Funchal. "The first time I arrived at this port was in March 1976, and I was amazed at the beauty of the island", he added. He also emphasized the quality of Madeiran cuisine: "Whenever I’m here I have lunch with some of the crew members. Today, we decided to have lunch in the ‘Montanha’. In addition to superb views of Funchal, the service is very good. I suggested the black scabbard fish, known as espada to the Madeirans. At the end a fine glass of Madeira wine" he explained. The next passage of the cruise ship here will be on the 29th of May next year, with the oddity that it will then be sporting a new name: ‘Ocean Princess’. I certainly hope he wasn’t ‘taking the wheel’ afterwards.

A report from "European Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker" has revealed that mobile phone sales in Portugal have hit record lows. In the second quarter this year, sales fell 9% compared to the same quarter in 2008, but increased by 36% compared to the first quarter.

‘More than 2200 buildings ‘energy certified – This will be one of the topics discussed at the ‘FIC 2009’. In just a few months, there is strong take up’. The energy certification of residences and buildings is going at a fair pace now, with a very slow take up initially, with just 36 inspections until the end of January this year. Funchal has more that 1,000 residences certified, with over half of those in São Martinho, followed by Santo António, the two most populated areas there, and with the highest concentrations of new buildings. The ‘National System of Energy Certification and Air Quality in Buildings (SCE), was adapted on Madeira in January 2008. The scale of assessment ranges from A+ (best) to G (worst) and involve the services of a trained assessor, of which there are 45. The certificate is compulsory to obtain permits for construction and habitation for new properties, and for sales and rental of existing properties. MORE HERE (only in Portuguese of course).

9 thoughts on “Free After 35 Years ; Traffic Signage Misleads ; Energy Certification Takes Off”

  1. What a lovely story in respect of the turtle being returned to the sea for its remaining life – fantastic!

    Horrific amount of road accidents though – such a huge amount of deaths for so small an island.

  2. Agree about the turtle. When we first started to visit Madeira, I can remember going into the museum and seeing this wonderful creature in a tiny tank. It was so upsetting.Let’s hope that after this period of rehabilitation it copes as well in the ocean as other turtles.

  3. Wow, what news about Leonardo the turtle! I followed the story from the begiining with the newspaper. A freind who I won’t name but is English, saw him in the museum in a really tiny tank and contacted a few organisations. As a result he (but we later found out that he is a she – so the name is not fitting)! was moved to a HUGE tank in the Lido and eventually packeged up and sent to the Algarve to see out the rest of his natural life in an aquarium more befitting to his size! If anyone is interested in the story, I can dig out the articles. Contact Der and I’ll send him the files!

  4. Road Signs: Airport. If driving your car away from the departures level and heading towards Machico (on the Rapida) and also for returning your hire car after dropping family bags etc (after entering the Airport area FROM Funchal) you have to cut across the dual lane road road leading from Arrivals to the Rapida and Funchal (often full with first time visitors in a strange car etc) by first using the “fast” lane signed to Funchal and often slowing to a halt! As a newcomer leaving the arrivals area en route to Funchal it must be pretty scary having cars and buses cut across you, again with no warning signs! As per Der’s photo page courtesey of the diario – dodgey indeed! There IS a sign to Machico BUT it’s on the FAR far left of the road marking the exit lane only……

    Heading towards Machico from Santa Cruz, passing under the Runway on the Rapida en route to Agua da Pena and Modelos is also full of fun…..take the exit for the new sports park but head straight ahead to Agua and (eventually) Modelos – – – he he! A real teaser and LOADSA new road, complicated markings, contra flows and dodgey signs to test you – it’s as if someone rolled out a kiddies play road carpet and then trimmed it to (not) fit! I won’t even mention the “six inch” long slip road on a blind bend to rejoin the rapida towards funchal!! Will try and get some photos……..

    Gaula: Vote JPP (Jon Parsons Party)?!?

  5. Well done re LeonardA, we only became aware of her once she was in the “lido” tank, nice one Sam. Thanks for the vote, not many more to go now, should at least annoy Bertie at any rate!

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