Traditional Xmas food ; Banana subsidy fraud ; Classic Car parade ; & other news stories

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Eiryl … Roasted chestnuts / castanhas

madeira news blog 0912 eiryl see text 3

"Have just returned from Madeira, super weather except for one very wet day. It was lovely to see the Xmas lights and displays. Sending 3 of my pics, first, fish drying on a boat at Câmara de Lobos, second, the roasted chestnuts – I can still smell them when I look at the photo, and third, sailor spotted at the top of the mast. There were so many cruise ships in this time and it was good to read on the blog about the history of the old yacht with funnels which we saw coming into harbour. We have a long wait to our return in February". Eiryl.

Apologies to Eiryl, as that was sent in nearly 3 weeks ago … you remember, when we used to have good weather? The other photos mentioned will follow in the next few days.

On the 1st of January 2010 the owners of classic cars and motorcycles will meet together at 4 pm in Praia Formosa to take part on a new year’s parade through the streets of Funchal. This is the first time this event takes place and it was named "Funchal ON". So if you will be wondering around Funchal do not miss this opportunity to admire some old beauties riding along the city. Thanks to Madeira Help for that little snippet.

What 2010 might have in store for the travel industry – TravelMole Guest Comment by Thomson and First Choice managing director Dermot Blastland. "… As for destinations, we’re expecting the top short haul destinations for summer 2010 to be the Balearics, mainland Spain, the Algarve, Italy and Madeira". LETS HOPE SO!

"In 2008, Italian and European investigators uncovered a €3 million fraud over subsidy claims for fictitious tobacco, involving at least one cooperative, putting 80 individuals under arrest and recovering the cash. Meanwhile, on the small Atlantic island of Madeira, which is part of Portugal, two banana cooperatives benefited from almost €1 million in illegal subsidies or nonpayment of duties during a decade of scamming, according to court judgments. In the harshest of a series of sanctions, the president of one of the cooperatives, Fernando Gonzalez, received a five-year prison sentence and €1,000 fine, under appeal, after being convicted of looting €316,000 in subsidies. Some of his cooperative’s claims were made in the names of farmers who died years earlier". This was published in some American newspaper WHAT CORRUPTION ON MADEIRA – WHATEVER NEXT!

Elaine (East) sent in the final article from the Christmas traditions series that was running in the Jornal da Madeira in the run up to Xmas. Many thanks.

Traditional food at Christmas. Delights to mark this season are bolos and broas de mel, liqueurs, meat in garlic and wine, chicken soup, ‘torresmos’ and pork cooked in many forms. Christmas Eve guests are offered typical seasonal sweets, like bolo de mel, broas and home-made liqueurs. Lunch on Christmas Day has a very special significance for the vast majority of local people. It is a time for the immediate family to meet and those who have departed to eternity remembered, and not to forget those who are absent in countries of emigration. The main menu integrates chicken and pork, and especially meat in wine and garlic, which is made in different ways according to the parishes. Modern families use restaurants. In the past, meat from animals raised at home had a special flavour. The fruit for dessert is traditionally pineapple, both for flavour and aroma. Pickles are made at the beginning of December, an English condiment based on an assortment of vegetables (or fruit) pickled in vinegar, whose origin refers to the time of British rule over India. Good cider vinegar is flavoured with cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg. Spring onions in sauce are often included, and the meat seasoned with wine, wine vinegar, garlic, cloves and bay leaves. Also on the table there should be pao jamon, bolo de rei, stuffed turkey and bacalhau.

Local specialities are as follows. Porto Moniz, ‘Carne Santa’ – pork and beef marinated overnight. Santana, ‘Carne da Noite’ – pork from the animal killed a week before in the ‘função do porco’, with wine, bay leaves and pumpkin accompaniment. Santo António da Serra in Machico, ‘Bucho de Porco Recheado’ – pork entrails stuffed with rice, garlic and parsley. In Santa Cruz, ‘Carne Frescal’ – meat marinated in white and red wine, Madeira wine and garlic for three days. In Funchal, ‘Sarapatel’ – pork blood and pork liver cooked with onions, tomato, parsley, pears, nuts and raisins.

Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :

The web-cam photographer has been down to Av. Arriaga again. A good photo of the camels on Sunday, CAMELS Today it’s Santa’s train.  TRAIN

Sales started yesterday. December 28 to February 28, the official dates of the winter sales. Some shops are waiting until January. There are discussions to reduce the period as two months is too long for the size of the population here, and to have a later starting date.

Communists note Funchal is less competitive. The Assembly of the Municipal of Funchal will vote this afternoon on a proposal of the CDU for an immediate formation of a working group to investigate alleged loss of competitiveness of Funchal, even in the regional context. The proposed study will take a year to report back. The Communists propose that representatives from the Municipal Assembly should form the group. The data has been collected by the National Institute of Statistics in a study called, ‘Local Purchasing Power’, which indicates that Funchal looses purchasing power compared to other municipalities in the region. Funchal Council is also discussing its budget today and plan to reduce running costs and maintain investment in priority sectors. More rigour will be applied when assessing investment projects. The accounts need to balance with a decrease from a 114 million Euros budget this year to 108 million Euros next year. They expect to save 3 million Euros in operating expenses – a large sum. 48% of the budget is retained for investment. They want to take advantage of low interest rates in the international money market and only spend 75% of the budget by the end of the year. The Socialist Party indicate they will vote against the budget as it lacks rigour in defining priorities when the Council has less money to spend. Half of the investments are in public works and bureaucracy instead of the environment, culture and social action.

8,000 to see the fireworks. 8,000 tourists and 3,300 crew will take the opportunity to see the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. The increased port traffic starts tomorrow, December 30, with the cruise ships Queen Victoria (2,000 tourists, 900 crew) and AIDAluna (2,250 tourists, 634 crew) due at 7.15 and 12.00 hours, respectively. The Cunard ship will stay moored until the early morning of December 31 and then has to go out to sea at 6.00 am to make room for another ship. The lifeboats will be used to ferry tourists ashore, weather permitting. She finally sails at 1 am on January 1 2010. The AIDAluna normally calls on Sundays but the timetable has been altered for the fireworks spectacular and will also leave at 1.00 am on January 1 2010. On December 31, the Oriana  (1700, 760) will occupy the position vacated by the Queen Vic., arriving at 07.00 and the Boudicca  (793, 363) will be alongside until 2 am the following day. At 22.00 on the 31 December, the Amadea (600, 244) will moor behind the AIDAluna and remain until 18.00 hours the following day. The sixth and final ship to arrive to watch the display is the Saga Ruby (650, 379) which approaches at 23.00 on December 31 and stays offshore until 7am on January 1 2010.  The Lobo Marinho ferry will join other boats at sea at 23.00, for spectators to obtain a sea view. — Hopefully, the Oriana will not miss out this time.

Porto Santo may have ‘anopheles’.  Continuation of yesterday’s report about malaria in the region. Anopheles is the mosquito which can transmit malaria, if infected with the Plasmodium parasites. A detailed study about climate change in the region since 2006, discusses the possibility that the mosquito is present on the island of Porto Santo, although it is not found on the island of Madeira. It is thought the risk of contracting malaria is very low as the the local population of mosquitoes on Porto Santo are not infected with the parasite. Climate change will make it more favourable for the development of the parasites in the region but they need to be introduced by infected vectors, and all cases of malaria between 1996 and 2004 have been contracted abroad. The Department of Social Affairs ensures there is no cause for alarm as there are no vectors present in Madeira and malaria cannot be transmitted from person to person. The labs here can test for malaria. The relatives of the man in intensive care are upset about the way he was ‘shuttled around’ for four days before admittance. The hospital originally sent him to Santo Antonio Health Centre for a test and immunization against influenza A, then on feeling worse the following day, he went to Machico Health Centre and sent home. He was finally admitted on Christmas Eve and is showing signs of organ failure. The other two infected men are responding well to treatment and should be released soon. — No mention of the number of malaria cases that have been brought here over the years. The symptoms of malaria – fever, headaches and malaise – are typical flu symptoms, especially prominent at the present time. Why didn’t the men take precautions against malaria if they were working in a highly infectious region (Equatorial Guinea)?

Tickets and passes increases – confusion! Someone cannot do their sums or the information is too vague. Bus tickets and fares will increase next year, as usual on January 1. According to the Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Transport, the average increases will be 1.85% for interurban buses and 1.19% for urban transport. An average increase of 5 cents per ticket. A 1.55 Euros ticket will cost 1.57 Euros, according to the Diário but a 1.55 Euros ticket in Funchal will increase to 1.60 Euros (3.2% ?), according to the J. Madeira. A 35.50 Euros social pass will increase to 40 Euros (12.7% ?). More detailed information will be published later this week. Better news is that milk and bread will not increase until at least March. CTT has published details of new prices for the postal service. PT will reduce fixed line prices by about 10.5% and offer unlimited calls within their network at weekends, from January 1. It is thought that mobile phones will have the same tariffs.

Vandalism puts gas tank at risk. The gas tank that supplies a block of flats situated near the Pico dos Barcelos viewpoint in Santo Antonio, was yesterday at risk of exploding. Two rubbish bins were destroyed by fire and damage to the infrastructure meant a temporary interruption in  ZON and Portugal Telecom cable television and Internet in the area. Immediately behind the rubbish collection containers is a gas tank, which could have easily caught fire. Vandals set fire to the area at 1.30 when there was poor visibility in the high zone. The Funchal bombeiros extinguished the flames but the charred remains are an eyesore for visitors to the viewpoint. There have been similar acts of arson at ecopoints recently, all at night, in the area of Courelas and near this viewpoint.

Urbanization Plan for Santa Cruz to be released on January 7. The plan is for the Portinho area. There will be installation of new equipment, transfer of public facilities and the creation of several recreational areas and green spaces. A new kindergarten and a new school are planned. Changes also planned for Vargem; some areas of the centre of Caniço will be closed to traffic with new litter bins and seats to make the area pleasanter for pedestrians, with new roads and areas of health and leisure. The cemetery, which is being repositioned, will become a garden.

Regional Government announces support to agriculture ranging from 85% to 100%.  At last, a statement from the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources announces financial support for storm damage which can cover between 85% and 100% of eligible expenses. The office of Manuel Antonio Correia said the Executive would use EU funds and the Regional Budget. The support will cover the costs of restoring agricultural land and infrastructure, eg crops, walls, buildings, irrigation systems and equipment. To cut bureaucracy, call centres have been set up from today and claims are a priority for processing. The CDU want the Government to  immediately use the Insurance Fund created in 1983.

Socialist lodges a complaint against the Regional Director of Forestry, Tamega and Coito Pita. The Socialist Party leader Joao Gouveia wants prosecutions against the Regional Director of Forestry (Rocha da Silva), the construction firm Tamega, as well as the Social Democrat Coito Pita, for storm damage. The construction firm is accused of illegal activity in the area of Ribeira Grande. The Director of the Forestry Department has direct responsibility for the construction of the road between Rosario and Encumeada. The Director of Forestry permitted Tamega to put stones in unsuitable areas as illegal landfill. Coito Pita owns the land situated below the Chao-dos-Louros, contiguous to Rocha da Silva’s property. Coito Pita blocked access to farmland via his road and after negotiations with Rocha da Silva, an alternative road was constructed. This involved removal of trees which were carried down the slopes in the storm.

Hectic day at the airport. Yesterday, due to strong gusts of wind, several hundreds of passengers had long waits to fly from Madeira. 17 cancelled flights (departures/arrivals), and delays in all flights scheduled to land on Monday morning. Some passengers had to wait more than eight hours and criticized the lack of information. Reporters could not find a satisfactory answer to the fact that charter flights from the U.K., Helsinki and Copenhagen were landing but not those of TAP and SATA. Ground Force could not explain why and the TAP headquarters in Lisbon could not be contacted.

Storm leaves families poorer. In Ribeira do Porco in Boaventura, the storm leaves stones deposited on the highway. Downstream, there is major damage. Five cars in Lombo do Urzal were damaged and walls and agricultural land have been destroyed. In Falca, machinery and a warehouse belonging to a construction firm have water damage. Heavy rain still falls in Ribeira Grande and Rosario, where there are more landslides and swollen rivers. The Councils have not yet drawn risk maps, which would take political courage, due to land becoming devalued and many present buildings disallowed.

Bad weather stories round-up. In Vasco Gil, the electrical cables were ripped down by a storm-felled eucalyptus tree. In Funchal, various roads closed, especially the Estrada Luso-brasileira, due to landslides. Officials had to use chainsaws to remove buganvilia (bougainvillea) from the Ribeira de Santa Luzia, after heavy rain caused it to fall into the water and block the water course.This plant also caused problems and had to be cut back on the Rua 5 de Outubro in Funchal. The only access to Curral das Freiras, the Estrada da Eira do Serrado, was cut off by falling eucalyptus trees, destroying power lines. Rubbish discarded thoughtlessly has washed down to the coastline, especially in Serra de Agua and Ribeira Brava. Falling trees destroyed the roof of a residence in Camacha (photo). Three eucalyptus and two pine trees fell onto the roof of the unoccupied Villa Viera Cardosa in Rochao. The owners live in South Africa. Neighbours had asked the family to cut the trees two years ago, as they recognized the potential danger. The family displaced at Monte yesterday will be temporarily housed in lodgings by Funchal Council. A landslide near the electricity station at Serra de Agua left about a dozen families isolated at Achada dos Aparicios. The only access road to the power station and their houses was blocked by the landslide. The Council unblocked the road by the end of the morning. The sea invaded at least one bar on the esplanade at Praia Formosa. The bar Barra Azul was affected last night and the bar is half destroyed. In front of the Atlantic Gardens, the footpath has been closed due to waves threatening the beach area. According to the IM, the coast of Madeira will be hit by strong waves until the end of the year. Two large ships are sheltering from the weather off the north coast and are being monitored by the Harbour of Funchal to ensure they do not come too close to shore. One is a large container ship, en route to Rotterdam, the other is a tanker.

—– The Bishop of Funchal reassures parishioners that the Church is still here for them during this terrible time. The Government has other matters on its mind; Jardim has put his ex-journalist skills to work by writing another preface to a book – this time about tax systems in the Region. New Year’s ‘Sexy Party’ at the Farmers’ Market will be safeguarded against the weather, already 500 tickets sold, mainly to the VIP area. The prices are 10 and 15 Euros whereas the Wine Institute’s Hollywood party tickets are 20 Euros.

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

The sea makes difficult the unloading of fuel – The tanker-ship ‘Madeiro’ has been waiting 5 days for suitable sea conditions to unload 18 thousand tons of fuel. The time is uncertain, but there are stocks to last at least a week. The three fuel terminals located at Caniçal, Socorridos and Porto Santo have been inaccessible due to weather / sea conditions, and supplies are running low for products like diesel and other fuels. The tanker-ship arrived here on Christmas day, and when conditions allow will unload firstly in Caniçal, and then Socorridos, before heading off to Porto Santo. At least that is the plan, but the reality is likely to be quite different as only safe unloading conditions will determine. The ship has been ‘sheltering’ unanchored off the north coast of Madeira, between Ponta de São Lourenço and Porto da Cruz. Most of the fuel is destined for electricity production, where existing stocks should last until 6th January. Around 1,000 tons are for petrol stations. EEM spokesman Rui Rebelo said "Only a lot of bad luck will prevent the ship from docking in the next ten days," after which a break in electricity supply will be possible.

Today’s main news headline : Sócrates pays the electricity bill – Lisbon decided to end the stubbornness and deliver to EEM the value of the convergence rates. The process was started in 1998 by an agreement between the central and regional executives. But the money was burning until now. €26 million arrives today or tomorrow. This was an agreement to ensure that Madeirans were not disadvantaged in terms of the prices they pay for electricity consumed. The Electricity Company of Madeira produces electricity at a higher cost than in mainland Portugal, because of the cost of importing raw materials, transport costs, and the fact that that the Madeira market is comparatively small. A payment agreement made in 2003 was to ensure that the state contributed an amount annually until the year 2013, but until now any subsidies have been funded by the Madeira Government. Now, after a long struggle the state has agreed to pay the subsidies along with late payment costs (interest), after the matter was referred to the courts.  The money will be used to settle bank debt incurred due to the delay, and will not affect the prices paid by EEM customers.

French Tourism grows in times of crisis – ‘Top of Travel’ brought 16 thousand French in 2009 and wants to bring 20 thousand next year.

Classical Orchestra gives three concerts in Lisbon.

Storm insists on punishing Ponta do Sol. The sea has been relentless in the West zone – The force of the waves partially destroyed the beach bar at Ponta do Sol. The bar named ‘Maré Alta’ was damaged as the high waves ‘threw rocks’ at the structure.  Also Marina do Lugar de Baixo has two more ‘leaking’ fissures in the wall, and Calheta golden sand beach has returned once again to be a pebble beach. The president of Ponta do Sol council has said that he wants to enrol in the 2011 government programme to completely transform the protection for the town sea front. WATCH THE VIDEO Who said "water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink" … was it someone in Ponta do Sol?

Today’s top sport / football story : Marote doesn’t know the future of the ‘Series Madeira’ – The president of AF Madeira alerts to the uncertainty around the regional clubs. Marote wants to see three Madeirans at the 2010 World Cup Finals. No time to delve into the full story, but I am certain Sr. Marote will see his wish come true. For sure Uncle Bertie will wangle a few top match tickets for his pals and cronies, and no doubt the taxpayer will need to assist in this essential diplomatic mission. Whether the Madeiran footballing trio of Ronaldo, Danni and Micael will be there I have no idea.

An extra article from Elaine (East) from yesterday’s Jornal da Madeira, an  interview with the Manager of Macedo’s Fireworks. Many thanks Elaine.

Fireworks stations begin to be placed tonight. The placement of the launching stations for the fireworks display at the end-of-year in Funchal will start from tonight. According to Carlos Macedo, Manager of Macedo’s Fireworks, tonight they will begin to put the fireworks stations at the Avenida do Mar. He said, roughly at 00:00, one of the lanes of the Avenida do Mar will be cut off to traffic, for the placing of containers at the fireworks stations. This operation will continue even through the course of tomorrow, when there will be placed stations at sea (in areeiras) and the closed stations. Finally, on December 31, the remainder will be placed, particularly those that "are in more public areas, such as parks, streets, parking lots, etc.", to avoid bottlenecks and impediments to movement. It should be noted that this year, there will be 39 stations to launch fireworks in Funchal and one in Porto Santo. Compared to last year, there is one more fireworks station, namely the one that will be located at the Garrison of the Regiment No. 3. In total, as already announced, there will be 97,172 firings, that over eight minutes will bring a lot of colour and magic to this important tourist attraction of Madeira. "Fortunate Islands" is the theme of the show, which, as Carlos Macedo stressed, is inspired by the International Year of Biodiversity, which starts precisely on the 1 January. According to him, "our designer decided to set up a project to honour this jewel of nature, that is the Floresta Laurissilva and the fauna associated with it." As such, he stressed, "we will have a very colourful show, very noisy, with themes and effects related to nature and fauna." A variety of colours including green, orange, violet and white will cause a great show, which will be accompanied by a variety of sounds such as whistling, whooshing and crackling. "Let’s have a bit of everything," says Carlos Macedo.

The manager says that everything is being prepared for a great show and hopes the weather conditions will not ultimately harm it. This is because, he said, rain and humidity will not allow the smoke to lift. Moreover, he hopes that the sea is not choppy, so as not to hinder the process, also as regards the placement of fireworks. "We really fear the rain and the storm that’s going around," he confessed. It should be noted, however, that as Lusa (News Agency) said, citing the Regional Secretary of Tourism and Transport, weather forecasts point to an improvement in conditions from today in the archipelago of Madeira, "and there is expected a pleasant temperature and good weather for the last day of the year."

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

I think I have found another website that will show the world record attempt (breaking it’s own record) for the 2010 new year fireworks tomorrow night in Funchal, Madeira. I am still checking it out, and if I don’t confirm it later today I will ensure it is on tomorrow’s blog ready to click on and watch.

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12 thoughts on “Traditional Xmas food ; Banana subsidy fraud ; Classic Car parade ; & other news stories”

  1. Quite again today , people must be out and about as it is much drier today.

    Great video of the bad seas in the west.

    Anyone know whats happened to the Queen Victoria today , its not in port lookin at the webcams????

  2. Tobi, I’m glad someone else is still alive. According to today’s Diario, the Queen Victoria is delayed by 24 hours and should arrive here 7 am tomorrow. I think she should have come via La Palma. No reason given for the delay. I see the AIDAluna has made it from Tenerife. The Boudicca should be here tomorrow, also from La Palma.

  3. Hi Elaine thanks.

    Looking at the weather forecast, tomorrow night is going to feel quite chilly, it will be the coldest night of the winter so far with the temp expected to drop to about 12 degrees in funchal.

  4. We currently have two lots of guests, Swedish (who arrived on Monday) and UK (arrived today). Neither couple know what they are going to do tomorrow evening! Perhaps the chilly temperatures will put them off going into Funchal. Mind you, the rain hasn’t helped at all. Luckily for us they haven’t noticed all the damp patches on the walls/ceilings!! Having said that, just the sun today has helped dry them as a temporary measure.

  5. They cant miss the fire works Debs, im going to try to see them from the view point at Neves, its easy to get back out after just a little walk , then back in the car and home, sayin that the cold tonight is not doing my back any favours, so will be wrapping up well.

  6. I shall miss them (as usual), but will watch on TV or maybe the internet.

    I can’t see this world record attempt working 100%, with so much wind and rain around tonight and previously, even if it is dry tomorrow night. Some things are bound to have got wet. But with the number of explosions planned, the world record will hopefully be improved on even if the full quota doesn’t go bang.

  7. Hullo World …. been a bit busy! How nice to sit and type without the howling wind and rain! Peace and quiet……Full Moon tomorrow, should light the sky afore the fireworks. Please let the weather be like this…….calma.

  8. Anyone know what the situation with the water is in R Brava#Ponta do Sol? we now been without good water for almost week and no sign of that fire engine with fresh supplies as yet!

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