Last week, a Mallorcan restaurateur sadly shook his head and pointed his finger at empty tables in his restaurant. He told me that the last decree of the regional government, force restaurants with 50 or more seats to scan the passports of Covid-19 customers, just before the Christmas season, was the last straw.
He said it was sheer madness and downright unfair. He had had cancellations. Another cafe owner wanted to say which of his establishments had fewer than 50 people. Don’t miss us, tell all your friends they’re welcome, he pleaded. He admitted that some of the scans doesn’t seem to work the customers were therefore made redundant and felt humiliated. One of the Bulletin’s own columnists was brutally kicked out of a restaurant for the same reason.
Americans and Canadians appear to not have compatible Covid documents, so they are also banned from such premises. Most of the inhabitants have been vaccinated but I know few who will take the risk of booking and being rejected on a technical error. There are also those who cannot download the passport and do not have time to queue for the paper version at Son Espases. A local restaurateur laughed bitterly and told me that if there were 49 seats in a restaurant you couldn’t catch Covid but with 50 everything changed.
A group of London buddies just canceled their Christmas holidays here. They said Mallorca is obviously becoming a Covid police state like other parts of Europe and where’s the fun in that? Who wants to see the police itinerant cafes demanding documents?
Instead, they have cheap flights to Eastern Europe where the rules are extremely relaxed and Christmas markets and festivals are in full swing. Having spoken at length with my son this week, I can check it is true. He told me the last time he wore a mask or talked about Covid was in June when he left Mallorca to work in Romania.
He is now in Poland setting up a new hostel and has said that no one is wearing masks anywhere or has mentioned Covid-19, and life is completely normal. He was stunned by the news from the UK and said it was like living in a parallel universe. Tourism is booming and they are preparing for the return of the Australian market. Hordes of young Australians plan to descend on cheap and welcoming Eastern Europe this summer after so long in the home. And they have bulging pockets with nowhere to go for a long time.
It is curious to see how different parts of the world react to the elastic pandemic, but one thing is for sure, if Mallorca wants to survive economically, you have to think long and hard about instinctive decisions and how this will affect future tourism.
Divide and rule
The news from Westminster this week was quite extraordinary. Boris Johnson, surely on his last legs (if he has one left), desperately tried to cover up the Partygate2020 scandal by imposing new and petty ones Restrictions related to Covid-19 on a yellowish and furious audience.
Omicron became an early Christmas present for the British Prime Minister and proved to be the perfect way to avoid the scandals, lies and turmoil that engulfed his government. Keep the people in a state of terror, lie, lie, lie and everything will be fine. So far all is well, but finally the electorate becomes more and more agitated and timidly begins to express their concerns and even to display rage.
Were there merry Christmas parties throughout number 10 last year when the whole country was ordered to shut down and spend miserable time apart from loved ones? People have died alone in hospital beds and many elderly people have died in Spartan retirement homes, all separated from their families due to strict and uncompromising Covid-19 regulations. Meanwhile, British politicians, image specialists, civil servants and junkies seemed to be raving about him and treating the public with utter disdain and derision.
So, was this a scam, Omicron? I ask you, as a new boy in the neighborhood. Are you for real or just a soft version of the old guard, eager to keep the mob really failing? Time will tell, but this time perhaps the fearful, bowed down and exhausted public will not be so easily fooled by reckless government.
I recently discovered that a lot of the inexpensive honey in supermarkets comes from China and is often puffed up with sugar syrup. Luckily here in Soller we have some fabulous local honey and we know it origin but I feel for those who in good faith buy honey in the cities and think it’s the real deal. There is some really good honey in China, but a lot of substandard products are hitting our shelves. If in doubt, look at the price. If it’s cheap, you know why.
A wrist for Christmas
I am now able to type correctly following my fractured wrist, and it feels so good. My traumatologist gave me a big smile this week and told me I was healed in record time and fired me.
During this time, lovely Nuria, my physiotherapist in Soller at the Quiron Clinic has been an angel and puts me to the test every day. We have an awesome public health service here but a great private too. How lucky we are to live here.