8 storeys in C de L, CMF investigation, Xmas shopping hours, Levada muggers, etc.

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Pirex … The Santa Catarina boat

Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 21/11/2008

I suppose the headline of the day is that there is no football on the front page, but there is a small front page piece on the less popular sport of futsal.

A planning application for an 8 storey building in Estreita de Câmara de Lobos has been approved, subject to a few adjustments. It is to be built in a mainly rural area, and when complete it will be the tallest building in the Câmara de Lobos district. The councillors had no alternative but to approve it as a licence was originally granted in 2004, and despite changes in thinking since then, it cannot be revoked. The new building will house 23 T2 and T3 apartments. I can’t believe nothing can be done to stop such a huge monstrosity spoiling the landscape in a higher area on Madeira. Perhaps this is a special job for President Bertie, as he has a well proven track record in ploughing through democracy.

The judicial arm of Funchal police are carrying out extensive investigations into ‘goings-on’ in CMF (Funchal Council), causing some nervousness within the organisation. Several members of staff have been interviewed about the management of the council, although the lid has been kept on so far as to the exact nature of the investigations, though the words ‘crooked deals’ do get a mention in the article.

I didn’t realise this until today but you can actually watch ‘live’ the sessions that take place in the Madeira assembly, well, at least you used to be able to. Somebody has now introduced a 5 minute delay in the online transmission, seemingly to prevent the showing of embarrassing scenes such as happened earlier this month, helping to preserve the unblemished image of the social democrat (PSD) ruling party … sorry no, it actually says ‘to protect the dignity of the assembly’. The decision was taken by the presidency of the ALM, and has surprised opposition parties. A spokesman guarantees that “there is not any kind of censorship”, and the transmission will only be cut when the works are interrupted. The new system has already been in operation for over 2 weeks, and has already been used once, and it was then that the transmission delay was spotted by a member of an opposition party. Well, well, well … another sneaky move in our democratic government to ensure we don’t get exposed to the x-rated material. How thoughtful, as I would be most embarrassed to see the unveiling of a Nazi swastika, or the expulsion of a rowdy politician, or the image of a PSD vice president making a right clown of himself. I wonder who has charge of the video remote control (obviously a man, as we always do). If you fancy a peak go to http://www.alram.pt and then ‘Plenário On-Line’.

In an interview with the President of the Association of Portuguese Banks, João Salgueiro believes that Madeira is in a good position to escape the worst of the financial crisis, the secret being in good tourist utilisation (he definitely says ‘tourist’ and not ‘tourism’). He elaborates by saying that the opportunity is there to retain and capture new business as long distance tourism becomes more unaffordable. A slight flaw in your logic there sir, as if the financial crisis is worldwide, then surely the Japanese will holiday close to Japan, the Americans close to America etc. etc?

Other news :

An attempt by the trade union representing shop workers to drastically cut Funchal shop opening hours over Christmas has failed.  The union had appealed to CMF to enforce shop closing at 8pm, saying that there were insufficient customers to justify working after that time. CMF have now authorised extended shop opening hours between 1st and 23rd December, and 29th to 31st. In the first week in December opening can be until 7pm, in the second week 8pm, and the third week until 9pm. Shops who want to open outside of these hours (up until midnight) can apply to CMF for a licence.

The rate of death due to pneumonia on Madeira is 2.8 times higher than the national average, and Madeira is one of the regions of Portugal with the worst death rates due to respiratory diseases. The reason is mainly down to a genetic mutation that is present in much of the native population.

Police are still on the hunt for levada muggers, particularly in the areas of Palheiro Ferreiro and Vale Paraíso. An operation on Wednesday led to the arrest of three men equipped with an air pistol that looked like a real gun. Property stolen from tourists was also recovered, and the police believe that they have now put an end to recent attacks.

The Portuguese airline TAP has lowered its prices by introducing tax benefits that are already enjoyed in the Azores, and through a new promotion that brings prices down to start at €65 (taxes included) on the routes between Madeira and Lisbon / Porto. Also many European flights are reduced for flights between 15th January and 31st May 2009, starting at €59.

This weekend’s football fixtures: Today Marítimo v Braga, SportTV at 6.15pm; Tomorrow Nacional v Trofense 4pm (the only weekend game not on TV).

A message from Sarah: Nice to see my pics on the blog, but I also enjoy viewing the other pics too, some very good photographers around.   Der you might know the answer for this one, or be able to advise.  Friends of mine here (they can’t access the forum it won’t allow them to log on), have asked me if I know of where one can hire bikes (push bikes) in Funchal and has anyone hired them.  Where is the best place to hire, cost, etc.  I didn’t know whether to put something on the blog, although I know its not blog material – but as you have a lot of visitors thought someone might be able to help. Best wishes Sarah.

According to the 2003 Rough Guide you can try Eurofun in the Centro Comercial Olimpo (291 228 638)  or Joyride (291 234 906) in the same location Sarah, but that was 5 years ago. Maybe someone else has a better idea?

Have a good weekend! I am off to a local festa this afternoon/night, so if the blog is a little late tomorrow I already have my excuse.


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11 thoughts on “8 storeys in C de L, CMF investigation, Xmas shopping hours, Levada muggers, etc.”

  1. The question shouldn't be the size or location of the new buiding in Câmara de Lobos but why on earth does Madeira need more new apartments in the first place?

    RE: Levada muggers.
    If you ever had to meet a mugger I would guess the last place you would want that encounter is pearched high up on a narrow levada trail with no means of escape except through a 200m drop!

    I can't see that closing shops at 8pm would be a drastic cut from 9pm for one week before Christmas.
    I would have thought during these difficult times shop owners would want to be open for trading as long as possible especially in the run up to Christmas.

    From a personal point of view I really enjoy late night shopping in Funchal during the run up to Christmas. There is something very magical about this experience.
    Back in the UK you are lucky if you get a few fairy lights draped around a 10ft tree in the town centre these days. I don't even know if you can say 'Christmas' in some parts. It's simply 'seasons greetings' nowadays.

    So it's nice to see the true Christmas spirit is still well and truly alive in Madeira with the blazes of colourful lights down every street, nativities, music piped around the towns and of course the fireworks.

    Alberto João Jardim ~ Democratically elected by the good people of Madeira for the past 30 years.


  2. And dont forget the chestnuts Carlos….

    The lights are on in Funchal i believe????? anyone seen them on???
    and the rest to be switched on next week.

    I see that only 5 cruise ships are stopping here on New Years Eve, a very poor show, is this due to the credit crunch, the bad state of the port at the moment with the building works, Did the fun fair put them off last year, or just to expensive to stop here (greed)?? anyone have any ideas?

  3. I agree with you on everything today Carlos, but I must admit xmas shopping is not my cup of tea, nor is shopping on any day really.

    Tobi, I remember on a blog some months ago the news said that it was 'full house' for cruise ships at new year. Perhaps the financial crisis his hit the wealthy cruise passengers too?

  4. Christmas has begun early this year in the area of Furna which is high up between Ribeira Brava and Tabua and is emblazoned with lights and flowers this weekend while the inhabitants and many visitors celebrate their regional festa (apparently this one isn't religious). We went for a preview of the event yesterday evening and found that it holds plenty of promise for the full weekend with various musical performances and other entertainment. We are hoping to catch the last bus up to the top this evening so that we can make our way back on foot in order to call in at all the beer stops on the way back down. Unfortunately I can already foresee a toilet hugging session in store for most of tomorrow but it has just got to be done!

  5. Can anyone tell me what is the matter with http://www.madeira-web.com Living in the UK with an Apartment in Funchal I, almost daily, check the site to console myself after a gruelling day at the office with the knowledge that I won't have to wake up to grey skies forever. Recently things have not been very reassuring as some scenes depict midnight at 10 am and others bright sunshine at midnight. I can only assume that this is either a technical fault or the world is finally losing it's marbles!

  6. Hello the web cams are fine at the moment , i have just checked them all, it may have been a fault , of it could be that your computer is opening up older images that are save in the cache, when you open a cam image if it looks to be wrong, hit the refresh button and see if that helps, also copy and paste this address http://www.madeira-seekers.com/MadeiraWebcam.html THIS Is all the web cams around the island, so you can check what its like everywhere now. I see the Uk has lots of snow today……

  7. Well, the festa was excellent, so many people out enjoying themselves, drinking, dancing and chatting with friends etc.
    I certainly had a lie in this morning but happily no sign of a hangover!

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