Tag Archives | funchal marina

Flood recovery progress update ; Mixed reaction in Jersey ; Funchal at night on video

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Tom … Family Blandy quinta high above Funchal surrounded by a very beautiful garden

madeira news blog 1002 tom Family Blandy quinta high above Funchal surrounded by a very beautiful garden

February blog visitors : I normally do a quick run down after the end of each month of the blog visitors, and February is normally a low viewing month, partly due to only having 28 days. But something happened a week or so ago that made it the highest month ever for visitor numbers, and on Sunday 21st it peaked at nearly 5,000 visits. Then for 7 consecutive days the number decreased, as the flood and tragedy stories came off the ‘front pages’ and the initial interest wore off, and also as the search engines gave priority to large media organisations on the search engine listings. For the month as a whole there were over 32 thousand visits from 124 countries.

My apologies for the delay in posting some items, it was a really busy ‘full up’ type of week, but I should catch up by Wednesday.

Many thanks to Elaine (East) for these web snippets :

Update from the Jersey press. Comments to this post are interesting.  HERE Indeed they are Becky, some quite hostile. For sure if there was a disaster in Jersey, it would be reported. I guess there would be some support from Madeira, but whether it would be the spending sort I don’t know, especially after what happened over East Timor. Der

On a happier note, from an American finance site. Just Launched The Magic of Madeira Lifestyle & property magazine.  …..According to the Portuguese National Tourist Office and the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, health and wellbeing tourism is on the rise across Europe and is predicted to increase by 5-10% by 2015. This is significant as at a major conference on the topic held at the beginning of November, Madeira has been highlighted for its potential in this increasing market … MORE 

Now for something different. Politics of the Crypt. Facing the Future with the Habsburg Dead …..What should be done, for example, with the monstrous copper coffin standing around uselessly at Vienna’s Central Cemetery? It was originally meant for Emperor Charles I, but he was buried in Madeira, where he was forced into exile. Since his beatification in 2004, the emperor’s resting place on the island has drawn more tourists than ever before. The autonomous Portuguese archipelago declines to transfer the tomb to the Imperial Crypt in Vienna … MORE

Many thanks to Becky for these videos :

A guided view around the city of Funchal at night, by a man with a very nice voice (para mim, a good enough reason to learn Portuguese right there!) and good to hear the familiar sound of some dogs barking.

Lovely compilation of footage and stills from Santa Cruz.

Government communication policy on the floods after the 28th February :

Piece adapted by Paul from this page to improve the translation: SOURCE … Many thanks Paul.

On the 28th February, after 8 days of reports the last official Report was published. The aim of the Reports was to inform everyone in Madeira and the National and International press.

From the 28th February, each Regional Secretary will report, individually on the progress of their department’s responsibilities after the floods

SOLIDARITY: Madeira has received from all over the world pledges of solidarity. The Regional Government is deeply grateful for them.

PROGRESS: the main concern and priority of the regional authorities is to support Madeira’s people and the replacement of all land communications safely, especially those to the most remote locations. The cleaning and restoration works have been taking place at an accelerated pace, with two of the three rivers that overflowed in Funchal already back running down their normal routes.

From the beginning, the Regional Civil Protection Services, local authorities, Fire Departments, Health Services, Social Services coordinated their tasks in order to get closer to the population and help meet their needs.

Funchal’s main Hospital received 120 wounded people. 70 were hospitalized. Now there are only 16 still receiving treatment.

Madeirans that were reallocated temporarily are being supported by the Regional Government and they will return to their homes when it is possible, or the Government will build new houses for them.

RETURNING TO NORMAL:

On the 1st of March, most accesses to Funchal were back open.

Schools will be open and operating normally.

TOURISM:

The hotel industry of Madeira was not affected by the floods and maintains all operating conditions safely. Hotel establishments are operational with all their facilities. Both Madeira’s International Airport and The Harbour of Funchal have been operational since the floods too.

Sorry to repeat this from yesterday’s blog comments, but I am hoping some international media company will pick up on this if it is actually posted on the blog itself.

I guess most blog readers now know the story about the family of 8 living in Pomar da Rocha, that was almost totally wiped out in a landslide here on 20th February.

The one survivor is a young man (some conflicting reports about his exact age, but around 19), who lost the other 7 members of his family, and is currently still in hospital, having had some digits amputated (again some conflicting reports on how many). He is due out of hospital this week, to face a stark reality of making a new start with no family, no home, and no possessions, and whether he will be able to continue to work as a result of his injuries I don’t know (he was juggling education whilst working at the petrol station by the via rápida in Ribeira Brava).

Feliz Abreu’s school in Ribeira Brava is trying to raise some money to get him started, and help him find a new home, and to buy him clothes, as he has absolutely nothing. There is another fund raising effort in Ribeira Brava where friends and locals are also putting what they can spare towards a fund to help Feliz.

I am posting this as a blog contributor, not in any other capacity, so this has nothing to do with the blog itself. But if anyone is able to help / contribute then the PayPal button on the right of this page can be used, and if you can mark in the comments box FELIZ, then I will ensure any money is passed on. I can also provide my bank account details [€ / £]. If PayPal is not an option for anyone. You can email me if you need that information. I will send acknowledgement of any donation, by email, on request.

I can’t even begin to imagine how Feliz will cope once back in reality. I can’t even imagine how someone can possibly ever return to a normal life after what he has been through. At least if he has a home and some money and personal possessions he will have a chance to try. Thanks for reading this.

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

DIÁRIO 01/03/2010

FRONT PAGE NEWS

Eight shops and restaurants of the marina will be demolished. The refurbishment of the marina will start immediately. It was due to start in 2011 but the decision by the Harbour Administrators (APRAM) has been brought forward. The safety of restaurants and shops and their users determined the urgency of the intervention. The water that infiltrated the original wall of the Avenida do Mar created sheets that ran through the walls and ceilings of these buildings. Postponed several times, the redevelopment of the marina should be in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Avenida do Mar and the remodelling of the dry area of the Marina of Funchal, including the transfer of fuel tanks. The total cost to APRAM will be 5 million Euros. About 100 employees of these enterprises will be made redundant. The loss of revenue when access to the marina is banned is estimated at 15,000 – 20,000 Euros per day. None of the businesses have insurance for operating losses. The Beer House has had enormous losses in the kitchen, office and stocks and looses a few thousand Euros each day it cannot open.

Fall in revenue can reach 20 million Euros. The devastating effects of the disaster. In addition to losses arising from damage to property, equipment and goods, which meant that more than 900 businesses had to close, the effects of loss of revenue will cause the unemployment of hundreds of Madeirans. Traders point out that lack of sales / revenue is responsible for 20% of the cost of the damage caused by the storm. If the business associations say that private businesses take a loss of 100 million Euros, commerce will loose 20 million Euros of revenue in the coming months. Some shops are about to reopen but others in different parts of the island will be affected for several months, with particular emphasis on the municipalities of Ribeira Brava and São Vicente, which might be taken off major tour itineraries. There are dozens of companies that will not reopen in the short term as they are not insured for the losses. The two supermarkets of Pingo Doce loose 60,000 – 70,000 Euros per day. The destruction to Pingo Doce shops in Anadia and Dolce Vita costs 20 million Euros with 4 million Euros lost in expected sales revenue. Two hundred people are employed in these two stores. The Government of the Republic has a 50 million Euros line of support with grants of 50% for small firms to replace their property and equipment, with a million Euros to help the unemployed.

MADEIRA

Group of London solidarity. The folklore group of the Portuguese Cultural and Sports Centre in London left yesterday for Oman in the Middle East to entertain a group of businessmen. The organization Dansakat will hold a gala dinner today for directors of a company and hope to have traditional music from all of the countries where the directors are based, including Portugal. The chairman of the Sports Centre told the newspaper reporter that they are trying to raise funds in Oman for Madeira, to help the victims of the tragedy. On 7th March, there will be a solidarity dinner to raise funds in London, at a cost of 15 pounds per person. The space for the dinner in Brixton is given free by Lambeth Council and food and drink will be donated by several Portuguese companies. The area can accommodate 400 – 600 so the organizers hope to attract hundreds of Portuguese immigrants.

Initial estimates. The local authorities are beginning to estimate the cost of Saturday’s storm. The Regional Government estimate 1.4 billion Euros. In Funchal, Miguel Albuquerque said the storm caused damage of more than 198 million Euros. Ribeira Brava, the mayor talks of about 90 million Euros of damage to roads and bridges, water supply, sanitation and housing. In Santana, the mayor estimates a loss of 3.5 million Euros and in Machico, 2.5 million Euros of damage. 25 million Euros in Santa Cruz but only 70,000 Euros in Porto Moniz. In Calheta, 4 million Euros of damage to municipal infrastructure alone and 3 million Euros worth in Ponta do Sol.

POLITICS

Jardim will rethink leaving the Regional Government in 2011. The disaster that befell the region might make Alberto Jardim reconsider his intention to relinquish power in 2011, but he would prefer a middle way. If things were running normally, he would leave in 2011 but what has befallen Madeira is very complicated. He admits a new solution: leave the government but continue to be politically active.

Left Bloc leader praises the prompt response of the Regional Government. The national leader of the Left Bloc visited Madeira, where in an unprecedented manner, he made in public his praise for the prompt response of the Regional Government to the effects of the storm of 20th February. He said this disaster should serve as a lesson to impose strict rules on urban planning to maintain the security of the inhabitants. In the process, the views of urban planners, environmentalists and scientific authorities who know the difficulties of the region need to be heard. "What happened on Saturday was a disaster of calamitous proportions, a deluge. The damages were unavoidable but they were exacerbated by urban issues."

CDS propose post-storm measures. The regional leader of the CDS-PP said it is a time for convergence rather than divergence and for unity instead of division. He said, "The main cause of the disaster, the torrential rains, are historically known."  In Madeira there was a "lack of rigorous  planning and land management, improper occupation of land, construction on the banks and beds of streams, lack of clearing of many streams throughout the region, dumping of debris on land and in water courses, insufficient reforestation of serras, lack of clearing of trees and woods destroyed by fires and lack of consolidation of many escarpments, these are causes that amplify the natural disaster." After learning from these mistakes, it is necessary to make decisions and courageous interventions in the field of spatial (territorial) planning.

UPDATE

"This is a superior people." Jardim was not surprised at the speed of cleaning, saying, "This is a superior people."  He was speaking at the end of Sunday Mass celebrated in memory of the victims of the storm of February 20th. At the end of Mass, the Mayor of Funchal highlighted the fibre of people accustomed to overcome many adversities. Also present, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he was impressed with the progress of work and the solidarity of the country, which he has not seen since Timor, for eleven years. In celebration of the Eucharist, the Bishop of Funchal called the faithful to keep hope alive. He pointed to the recovery of the crucifix and statue of the Imaculada Conceição da Capela das Babosas, the chapel destroyed by the flood of February 20th, "as real signs of consolation and hope for our people."

Sócrates says this is not the time for recriminations and disputes. The Prime Minister argued on Sunday that the priority is to ensure a framework for cooperation and financial links with the Regional Government to allow the rapid reconstruction of Madeira, saying this is a moment of solutions instead of recriminations and disputes. José Sócrates said about the situation in Madeira, that currently the primary duty is the cooperation between the Government of the Republic and the Regional Government of Madeira. He declined to make any controversial comments on the Regional Finance Law, which was passed in Parliament by opposition parties, stating it is not connected to the State Budget – voting scheduled for mid-March -  and both executives will provide solutions to resolve all political issues that may hamper cooperation. It is urgent to rebuild the region for the rapid return of life and the economy back to normal. Asked if this is a positive signal to Alberto Jardim, he said, "Yes, of course." He said it is important for Madeirans to know there is national solidarity. The whole nation needs the recovery of Madeira’s economy and for it to contribute to the national economy.

Special Law for Madeira.  Early report from today’s meeting between the President of the Regional Government and the Prime Minister, José Sócrates. The Regional Government and the Government of the Republic agreed the creation of an Extraordinary Law that will be approved by the Assembly of the Republic, for the situation in Madeira. There will be three priorities for action: help the homeless, boost the economy and rebuild the affected infrastructure.

This story / link was sent in by both Paul and Tom … many thanks. Recovering Madeira Tries to Restart Tourism Industry. "The local government did a very good job of cleaning up," Mr. Becker said. "We’ll be back next year, for sure." “A week after torrential rains and mudslides killed 42 people and left 17 missing on Madeira, government officials are trying to restart the tourism business that is vital to the Atlantic island’s economy.

Tourism marketing after a natural disaster. It won’t be easy. Tourism marketing after a natural disaster is problematic because officials need to be careful not to appear insensitive toward the victims while also letting potential visitors know that it is safe to come.

Cleanup crews and local utilities have made rapid progress in removing mud and debris from the streets of Funchal, the capital, and restoring water, power and telecommunications services. Work continues in the worst-affected areas of Funchal, where some underground parking lots that had been flooded are still being drained. Other parts of the island that were hit harder, such as the town of Ribeira Brava, will require more extensive cleanup and reconstruction efforts.

Tourism represents 20% of the economy of this Portuguese autonomous region, located more than 600 miles west of the European mainland. It employs 7,000 people in the hotel sector alone, out of a total population of 245,000. Most of the tourists come from Britain, Germany and Portugal, according to official figures.

"People have seen so much on television about this disaster that it might discourage them from going," says Angelo Rossini, a research analyst for London-based Euromonitor. At the same time, he says, "respect for the dead can also be an issue. It might be a problem to get people to go for sun and vacation so soon after the tragedy."

Conceição Estudante, the regional government’s secretary-general for tourism and transport, said last week that the government had started reconstruction efforts. Local hotel operators, travel agents and tour operators are contacting tourists who had reservations, as well as potential new visitors.

The images of destruction have led to hundreds of cancellations at island hotels, said Ricardo Rodrigues, manager of the Funchal Design hotel, in the centre of the capital, and of another hotel in the hills behind the city.

"There should be a time of mourning, but everyone realizes that life has to go on," he said.

Tourists who were in Madeira during the storm have applauded the government’s response to the disaster.

Joachim Becker, a 60-year-old environmental-health and medicine worker from Essen, Germany, said he and his wife rode out the storm in a small villa outside the capital.”

“There was mud everywhere, including in the pool, but they say the storm won’t stop them from returning.”

"The local government did a very good job of cleaning up," Mr. Becker said. "We’ll be back next year, for sure."  FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Also this one from Paul … 9,845 Euros (13,290 U.S. dollars) for Madeira! The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Portugal raised at a night gala a total of 9,845 Euros (13,290 U.S. dollars) for Madeira : SOURCE 

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

Chaos clogs a restricted Funchal – The citizens weren’t very cooperative and the city was swamped in the morning and early afternoon. It was as expected apparently, with appeals from the authorities to use other means of transport for getting to ones destination being ignored by many.

Facilities provided for those who lost their car.

The hundred+ year old bridge in Ribeira Brava at risk of collapse. I have found a stunning video of the pounding of this bridge on 20th February, and will include it on tomorrows blog.

Culture with a schedule out of step with the reconstruction.

Today’s main news headline : Commitment assumed and it just remains to be fulfilled – Meeting of the new buddies [prime  minister] Sócrates and [president] Jardim went well. Joint committee will define support for homes, damage and businesses. A sight for sore eyes indeed. I can only hope that this forced ‘solidarity’ between these two powerful men who run Portugal and Madeira will last long beyond the current crisis. Great photo, and the words spoken are most certainly along the lines of "vai primeiro senhor", … "não, não, vai você, se faz favour", but who spoke first I have no idea.

Exceptional law for Madeira – Agreement between Sócrates and Jardim. The President of the Regional Government met with the prime minister for more than two hours.

SRRH reinforces placement of unemployed in the market – Workers keep unemployment benefit increased by 25% from SMN, and food and transport subsidies.

Numbers of missing persons don’t add up – The official website of the regional government maintains that there are still seven people yet to be found. But an unofficial list maintains that there are 14 names of missing people that the families and the authorities are still trying to trace.

Continentals are the target of a campaign for holidays on Madeira – Tourism of Portugal  offers publicity for the Flower Festival.

The main sport / football headline today : The Nacional [v Belenenses] game was put back until this afternoon. Thick fog made the game scheduled in the Choupana last night impossible to play.

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. 

PLEASE NOTE : There is a blog software upgrade being done tomorrow morning, so it will be ‘out of service’ and inaccessible for a short while.

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If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions and photos / videos.

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Please use the comments here for general chit-chat, or feel free to ask any questions … someone usually has an answer.

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Unions cut off Health Administration ; Dumping causes destruction in Machico ; Carnival news

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Pete … Good morning Madeira! The Carnival Time flower

madeira news blog 1002 pete carnival time flower good morning Madeira

I am sure many will be off to see the Carnival parade tonight in Funchal, and no doubt it will be as wonderful as ever, but don’t forget to send in your best photos. As a bonus for us over the west, there is a ‘Trapalhão’ parade starting tomorrow at 4.30 pm in the streets of Ribeira Brava. That means it’s a free-for-all, so come along and watch, or even better, get yer Carnival togs on and join in the fun … and don’t forget to spend some money, the town needs it. See you there!

The last one from Becky, many thanks … anymore anyone?

Captions please:

I’ll start, with… "Does anyone know where I can get some Toranja Poncha?"

(But you can keep yer hands off mine Bertie. Der)

Thanks a lot to Tobi for this link, that gives access to a brochure called ‘Active Tourism Madeira’. Use the ‘Fullscreen’ button to read the text. NATURE BROCHURE

This weekend’s football : Both our teams play tomorrow, Valentine’s Day of course. Nacional host Rio Ave at 4 pm, and Marítimo go to almost top-of-the-table Braga. The second match is on SportTV1 at 6 pm.

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

DIÁRIO 12/02/2010

FRONT PAGE NEWS

Dumping controversy.  Seven months ago, Diário denounced the illegal mining at the site of Landeiros and dumping of the earth. The local population called in the Forestry Police and they have seized a truck and bulldozer. During the stormy weather on February 2nd, earth dumped by the side of the stream at Lajes caused it to overflow, resulting in a trail of destruction. The local population want Machico Council to build retaining walls around the stream to prevent any further damage. The Regional Director of Forestry and the Regional Director of the Environment do not know if the company is working legally or not. The council said they have authorized the work to repair storm damage in this area and the Forestry Police have no jurisdiction. The Regional Government has the responsibility for the construction of any stone walls.

MADEIRA

Santa Cruz Carnival Parade has less troupes due to lack of financial support. There will be three troupes and 200 participants, fewer than in previous years, due to a lack of financial support from the local Casa do Povo. Two of the three missing troupes are ‘Malta do Furor’ and ‘Amoreiras’. The director of Malta do Furor explained that they will participate at Gaula but the costumes and floats are expensive to make. Santa Cruz Council indirectly supports the Carnival Parade by financing the Caso do Povo who always organize it. The Caso do Povo have financial limitations but still provide six buses and a meal after the parade. There will still be 500 participants on Sunday.

Unions representing doctors cut relations with SESARAM. The two unions representing doctors in the region have suspended relationships with the Health Service Management Board. They complain that SESARAM promotes a climate of permanent tension and that professionals are despised and held in contempt. The unions are ignored and union delegates persecuted. They never hear a word of encouragement and the management is only interested in numbers, indices, percentages and productivity. Careers for Medical Professionals no longer exist in Madeira, so they cannot progress, and their careers are not recognized on the Continent. One union is taking their concerns to Alberto Jardim and are waiting to hear what the Secretary for Social Affairs has to say about the tense climate that exists.

Woman threatening to camp outside the Town Hall in Funchal. A 42 year old woman is threatening to pitch a tent outside the front door of the City Hall in Funchal until the council find her a home. She has been sleeping at the Temporary Shelter for the Homeless during the last month and the length of permanent stay is a maximum of 15 days, which ends today. The woman has had talks with several people from the council with no result. She receives 330 Euros from Social Security which she says is not enough to pay for accommodation. Unemployed, divorced for five years with two children; one son is married and lives in his own house and the other is living temporarily with a friend.

ECONOMICS

Porto Santo Line keeps prices the same.  Porto Santo Line run the maritime ferry, ‘Lobo Marinho’, between Madeira and Porto Santo. They will not increase prices this year, in a bid to attract customers. Turnover (cargo) fell 14% last year although the number of passengers increased by 3% to reach 361,275. The drop in business meant a loss of 1 million Euros in turnover. In four years, the cost of travel to Porto Santo has increased a little over 2% and the price for residents is kept uniform throughout the year. The winter season (October to March) is 19.9% cheaper and 40% of passengers travel then. Resident rates are 38.3% below the average ticket price but they are not publicly subsidized, unlike in the Azores. Porto Santo Line are exempt from port charges to compensate for the reduction for residents. A fuel surcharge was not added last year following a drop in fuel prices. Porto Santo Line promotes packages – travel plus hotel, groups of two or four passengers in a car – which can drop the ticket price by 20 – 50% during the winter season, and summer discounts are smaller, 3 – 10%.

UPDATE

"Invasion" of Madalena do Mar stopped. The dispute centres on the emergency exit routes of the tunnel to Calheta going through the access to a parking lot of a condominium. On Wednesday, in the Legislative Assembly, the Left Bloc denounced the "invasion" of private land by the construction firm. On Wednesday, the residents were verbally told that the excavators would be going onto their land but found they were already there. The Left Bloc said this was a way to prevent the owners from triggering any legal mechanism to prevent the invasion of their land. Legally, they should have been given written warning of compulsory purchase of their land by the Regional Government. Today, the construction company was prevented from entering the private property. The residents denied the company access and the police were called. This is a tug-of-war between the residents, Regional Government and the construction company. The residents have had a subpoena filed in court to protect their rights and liberties.

JORNAL DA MADEIRA

FRONT PAGE NEWS

Working group for the recuperation of the Marina and Avenida do Mar. The Municipality of Funchal and APRAM (Ports Authority) have formed a working group to develop a master plan for the recovery of the Marina of Funchal and the third phase of the renovation of the Avenida do Mar. The third phase is from the Verdinho bar to Ribeira de São João. The aim is an integration of the terraces of the Marina and the Avenida do Mar, an area that is little used and unappealing. The council want more green areas and need to consider how to move the palm trees, which were imported from the Canary Islands in the 1980s, to other gardens. The monuments must be preserved and integrated into the new design which must align with works on the North Pier and on the west side. The council also want to know if the central reservation of grass and trees is justified.

REGIONAL

Debt of Madeira Palace is 7.5 million. The Hilton and Sheraton hotel chains are in discussion about the management of the construction of the Madeira Palace hotel. The work stopped for several months last year. The construction company has 50 employees on the site but is having a problem due to the developer owing them 7.5 million Euros. The construction company cannot carry out any more work and the licenses expire in March, but should be easily renewable.

Fábrica dos Sonhos  and Geringonça in Machico. Geringonça has been invited to open the Carnival Parade in Machico on Sunday at 15.00. Fábrica dos Sonhos (Factory of Dreams) will be the final act. This will be the tenth time Geringonça has taken part in Machico Carnival. Local schools and youth organizations will participate along with the Municipal Band of Machico.

EVENTS

‘Ritual’ in the cemetery of Câmara de Lobos. A most unusual situation was found in the cemetery on Tuesday morning. Gravediggers found on the stairs near the chapel, in a corner, a ‘table’ on which there were three bottles of aguadente (rum), three bottles of champagne, various glasses, a 2 kilo piece of beef, cigarettes and a fire near the wall. Since this is not a place for parties, the conclusion is that it is part of a ritual by either ‘healers’ or ‘masters of magic’ to invoke the dead for various reasons. 

Also, many thanks to Elaine for these web snippets :

A Texan family from a cruise ship visit and are initially harassed but still enjoyed the visit. Lots of good photos.

"I know, I know…I’m very slow! This is the last port day that I have to share with you and in my opinion it was the prettiest. I would love to be able to go back some day and spend more time in Portugal.

Once again we got off the ship with no real plans. We dined with a family that had visited Madeira before and they told us is was unnecessary to buy the bus ticket into town, which were 4.00 each way. So, we took out walking…and we walked…and we walked…and we walked. We were beginning to second guess the decision to walk to town when a gentleman approached us and told us he could take us all over the island and be our personal tour guide for the day. He was a pretty aggressive salesman and I could tell the girls were rather nervous. After Brent dickering with him about the price, the final price was 130 Euro. Brent hemmed and hawed and told the man he would have to pass" TEXAN TALE

Discovering Portugal’s Madeira Wine. Three page article in the January/February edition of Virtuoso Life Magazine.

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

Children shrug-off the Carnival rain – Even with limitations, the kids shook the city.  Well of course they did, the kids are born waterproof these days … when was the last time you saw a kid carrying an umbrella? Anyway there is a nice photo on the front page, and probably more inside. But just blowing the blog trumpet a little, you didn’t have to wait until the next day to see carnival pictures on this website.

Serrão gives paid place to the decisive supporter – The leader of the Socialist Party of Machico will be the local government coordinator.

Race on in the national Social Democrat Party : The ‘oranges’ from here are disturbed with the order of Jardim.

National Council of PSD – Jardim quarrels with Passos Coelho. The leader of the Social Democrats of Madeira said that Passos should no longer be making policy in the PSD.  Alberto João Jardim was involved in a lively battle with the candidate for the leadership of the PSD, Pedro Passos Coelho. In a speech appealing for party unity, one of the first of the PSD National Council, the Madeiran leader criticised Coelho for his stance with the Regional Finance Law. In a face to face confrontation, Jardim told Coelho, ex leader of the Youth PSD, that if it was up to him he would be making any more party policy. Coelho responded that "it is just as well that the party doesn’t depend on you".

Today’s main news headline :  Earth from the landslides invades rivers of Faial – After the storms, it is needed to clear the roads. Rivers pay the price. Justification : in times of emergency, one forgives  the bad with the good that it does. Yes I know, that last bit doesn’t make total sense, but I get the drift of the message. The gist of this is that in Ribeira Seca the muck and rubble from the mudslides is being cleared from the roads and then being dumped into the river to be taken out to sea. There are proper sites where this debris can be deposited, but the president of Santana, Rui Moisés, says that in the time of war it is no time to be cleaning weapons, and that restoring normality is the priority. Environmentalist say that that is the exact reason why rivers cause landslides, because the river beds are fouled. As always, I am with the ‘play it safe’ environmentalists when there is any element of uncertainty in such an action, but with the rainy season just around the corner, we will soon find out who was right and who was wrong. That’s a bit scary isn’t it, after what we have already seen this Winter, to think that the rainy season hasn’t even arrived yet.

People power stops advance of the machines – Yesterday morning was one of tension in Madalena [do Mar]. Despite of the police presence, the exit construction works from the tunnel didn’t get started. There is a thought provoking picture of an elderly lady, armed with an umbrella, ‘getting booked’ by the village bobby.  Both Elaine and I have both given this story plenty of coverage, so not much more to add really.

The main sport / football headline today : 100 – "I have already had to cut-off unpleasant conversations". The referee Elmano Santos will tomorrow complete his 100th game in the top flight.

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. 

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If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions and photos / videos.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

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Tourism from Brazil to increase ; Intense rainfall damages land & property ; Cruise ship blog

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Jaquine … Funchal marina

madeira news blog 1001 jaquine funchal marina

"Madeira is a sub-tropical Portuguese island in the mid Atlantic Ocean. Every January it hosts a week long walking festival providing three or more daily guided hikes with various levels of difficulty. The event is the brainchild of writer and photographer Terry Marsh who, this year, had to supervise from a distance as he was recovering from heart surgery. He needn’t have worried; for many of the participants this was their third year and they knew exactly where to go and what to do". A report on this years Madeira walking Festival, with photos HERE

A couple more web snippets … many thanks to Becky.

A blog entirely dedicated to the movement of Cruise ships visiting Funchal. Who’d have thought it?! It’s in Portuguese so good luck! Strangely interesting though, even if you don’t understand it. FUNCHAL CRUISE VISITS

Should any of you be thinking of landing a plane at the Aeroporto in windy weather perhaps you should look at this before you attempt it. On a separate note, I had absolutely no idea that every time I landed at the airport, the onboard computer was saying “Retard… Retard…” Of course I have since learned that ‘retard’ is a perfectly normal word if you’re used to flying planes (which I am not) but it’s still going to make me smile on my next landing when I say to the Captain under my breath, “Retard… Retard…”

Also a couple of news stories from Becky … many thanks.

Bad weather causes landslides, flooding and fallen trees – Santana is the county most affected with many roads closed. The heavy rains that fell during the night in Madeira caused several landslides, floods, falling trees and walls, but there is no record of personal injury. Madeira airport is operating normally and only in the morning, due to rain, an aircraft had to depart from Porto to Lisbon. The county most affected by bad weather is Santana, where they have already recorded several roads closed due to landslides in Faial, Cruzinhas, São Roque do Faial and São Jorge Arco, according to a contact by the corporations of the 11 municipalities in the region.

Wall in Monte at risk of falling on public
It is with some trepidation that residents of Caminho do Pico in Monte, are facing daily life with regard to driving or walking on the path that gives them access to their homes.  A large section of the wall of the Quinta Jardins do Imperador has fallen and seems to point to an imminent collapse, which may well happen if the ancient wall of stone wall is subjected to another period of intense and prolonged rain.  For some time, the residents have felt some fear crossing the street and yesterday, with the fall of the wall, the feeling of insecurity has grown.  The stones did not cause personal injury or material damage. But given that the wall maintains land where the gardens are planted with large trees, residents fear that the next collapse might have other consequences.  Earlier this month a tree fell due to the wind. Thankfully, the section of wall which saw the fall is still tough. The Fire Department of Funchal attended and placed grids to draw attention to the instability of the wall.  The authority has been informed of what happened.

The article below is a full and exact translation as reported yesterday … many thanks to Vanessa Swesnik :

Brazilian Tourists to Arrive for Easter – Tour operator from Salvador da Bahia organizes a trip to Madeira in April. Brazilian tour operator, BIS (Brazil International Service), headquartered in Salvador, Bahia added a trip to Madeira to its Portugal package.

Lucia Bichara, President Director of BIS, confirmed with the DIÁRIO DE NOTÍCIAS that the first clients to travel to our island next Easter will arrive by chartered flight from Salvador to Lisbon.

In recent years BIS has chartered a number of flights to Portugal, especially for New Years and other special occasions such as Carnival and Easter. Starting in 2007, the year in which it increased operations to our country, the Bahian operator focused the Portugal promotion in other Northeastern markets, creating a second charter flight from Recife, Pernambuco.

In recent statements to the DIÁRIO during the inauguration of the International Tourism Exhibition, Lucia Bichara emphasized that the clients started showing more interest in visiting Madeira starting last year. Beyond the few individual programs leaving from Madeira that partner with other Portuguese operators, BIS’s President Director felt the necessity to create its own programs which included a visit to the autonomous region with transport, accommodations, and a detailed schedule of excursions; all of which will take place with the support and collaboration of Madeira’s Windsor Travel Agency, representing the Brazilian operator here in Madeira.

Even though the tours are still on sale for another two months until the actual travel date, Lucia Bichara is very satisfied with the reception of the trip and hopes to bring a few dozen Brazilian tourists this Easter.

Although there is no official direct promotional activity from regional tourist institutions to the Brazilian market, Madeira has appeared in several travel and general interest publications thanks to the arrival of Brazilian journalists who depend on support from the Regional Tourism Directorate of Madeira (Direcção Regional de Turismo da Madeira- DRTM) and local hotels on their excursions to the archipelago.

During the largest tourism fair in Latin America, the Fair of the Americas last October in Rio de Janeiro, the DRTM was present and noted many of the people who visited the Portugal pavilion had an interest in visiting Madeira – they also noted many questions from travel agents who want to send their clients to the archipelago.

Lucia Bichara thinks a good beginning has been made, but that there must be more promotion directly to consumers and to the travel agents who resell the product. In this instance in particular, there is everything to gain from the identification of successful hotel brands in the Brazilian market that are not only easily identified in Portugal and Madeira, but that also have their headquarters here. Such is the case with hotel groups Pestana, Porto Bay, Dorisol, and Enotel.

The Brazilian market currently has a lot of potential in terms of travel. Despite being a country that has up until recently been labeled “Third World” due to pockets of extreme poverty in its most densely populated areas, the truth is that in economic terms, Brazil is one of the most important countries in the world, with its economy ranking in fifth place globally according to international organizations.

Brazilian tourist spending increases in Portugal. The Brazilian currency, the Real, has gone through a very robust phase and has permitted Brazilians to look to the foreign holiday market with more enthusiasm.

Portugal has achieved preferred status with Brazilians heading to Europe over the past few months, due in large part to the fact that Portuguese airline, TAP, has the largest flight network from Brazil to the Old Continent (67 flights to nine airports per week). Thus, Brazilian tourist spending went up by 41.1% to $24.5 million this September compared with the homologous month of 2008, and it went up 16.7% to $25.986 million in October according to the latest information available from the Bank of Portugal.

September was the first month in which a shift occurred in Brazilian tourism and travel spending abroad, with an increase of 59.5% to 1.236 million US dollars; whereas since October there were sharp drops of two digits in most cases. ORIGINAL IN PORTUGUESE

Tom sent in this photo he took yesterday. "Just minutes ago wall gave in, all banana trees dropped down on the Travessa São Luise. Too much rain for the past 24 h. Thanks Tom.

madeira news blog 1002 tom wall collapse in bad weather january 2010

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

DIÁRIO 02/02/2010 – MADEIRA

Public works stain beachfront at Câmara de Lobos. For months, part of the seafront at Câmara de Lobos has been tarnished brown by the discharge of sludge into the sea from public works under the responsibility of the Regional Government. It is most noticeable at the area in front of the Praça da Autonomia, from the mouth of the stream at Vigário. This has been triggered by the construction of the new expressway linking the Estreito and Jardim da Serra, and reinforced by a municipal road linking Ribeiro da Alforra and Limoeiro, constructed by the side of a stream and a few hundred metres from its mouth. Debris from the work enters the stream and then flows directly into the sea. The mayor acknowledges the interference with the beautiful scenery but it would be impractical to separate and retain the sludge, as the work is near the town, stream and the coast. He hopes that it will finish before summer.

Lack of leadership in the National Scouts Corps. The lack of leaders is put down to the fact that it is difficult for adults of parish communities to be available for training and that society is "increasingly selfish". The leaders are voluntary and are not paid. Most adults take refuge in the excuse that they have no time. The regional head also pointed out that Baden-Powell, when he started the scouting movement more than 100 years ago, stated that the biggest fault of mankind is selfishness. The present training course has 18 candidates who should be ready by the end of the year. In the region, there are about a thousand scouts spread over 15 groups.

Police seize more counterfeit notes. This week, the Judicial Police seized more counterfeit euro notes. A dozen 20 euro notes, this time in Machico and Caniçal. Three individuals were eventually identified and the manufacturer, a minor, was referred to the Family and Minors Court and the printing equipment seized. On several occasions in recent weeks, counterfeit notes have been detected but are not related to this latest event. The Bank of Portugal website provides information for discerning the authenticity of banknotes.

Barreirinha left abandoned. The storms in December destroyed the offshore concrete platform and deposited pieces of concrete in the swimming pool. Since then, waves have washed rubbish into the leisure complex – cardboard, plastic and bottles. Tourists still visit the area which is run by FrenteMar. The bathrooms, bars and showers are shut and the staff who work there during the summer have been redeployed to other areas. There is no entrance fee during winter as the number of visitors is less than 10 per day. The restoration work will not start before spring and it will probably not be ready for the new season. The alternative area for visitors and residents of this part of Funchal is the Praia de São Tiago.

ECONOMY

Peugeot and Citroen cars have an identical defect to the Toyota. The group PSA own Peugeot and Citroen and will recall 600 cars in Portugal. The models Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 have a faulty accelerator pedal. This is a preventative campaign and the owners will be notified by mail. Toyota have recalled 1.8 million vehicles in Europe and these cars were all manufactured in the Czech Republic.

POLITICS

PSD highlight the activities of the Centro da Mãe. This is run by a charity dedicated to supporting young mothers. The headquarters are at the Avenida Luís de Camões in Funchal and were visited by members of the parliamentary committees of Education and Social Affairs. The charity supports 92 young mothers in various municipalities in the region. These mothers have problems with social exclusion and the centre promotes inclusion back into society. The centre receives young mothers in difficulties, many of them teenagers who usually leave school when they become pregnant or after the birth of their children. The centre provides education and training, parenting skills, helps in job searches, provides fitness and yoga classes and other activities.

Cavaco forces dialogue. The President of Portugal, Cavaco Silva, wants to force the Prime Minister of Portugal and the President of Madeira into dialogue. He has convened the Council of State where tomorrow, the political and economical situation of the country and the Regional Finance Law will be discussed. Cavaco Silva stresses the importance of consensus, and the need is great because the law drafted by the Regional Government has become a battleground between the government and the opposition. There have been many proposals for amending the law to make it acceptable to the socialist Government of Portugal, accusations and counter-statements. Portugal stands to loose 80 million Euros to Madeira and the Azores.

JORNAL DA MADEIRA

‘Clean Portugal’ attracts Madeiran volunteers. This project has been inspired by a similar one in Estonia in 2008. The campaign ‘Clean Portugal’ has about five dozen volunteers in Madeira for the event to be held on March 20th. Across the country, there are about 20,000 people interested and the goal is to have 100,000. The project is also open to partnerships with companies and institutions, public and private entities that can help with resources. A TV station is helping by broadcasting videos related to the project on the theme of waste and the environment. Sites needing cleaning up are increasing in number and are added to the computer program by volunteers as they are detected. Information on how to volunteer is on the website: LIMPAR PORTUGAL.

DIÁRIO BAD WEATHER STORIES

 

Six schools closed for the safety of students and staff. 15 sections of roads closed as a precautionary measure. Shops inundated in lower Funchal. Floods, landslides and raised manhole covers. Landslides and fallen trees in the higher zones of Curral dos Romeiros and Babosas in Monte. In the city centre, a tunnel of the Cota 40 was flooded. Some shops were flooded at the area of Sé, among them the souvenir shop Bazar Oliveira. Also flooding along the Rua das Murças to the Rua do Carmo. Bad weather wreaks havoc in Machico, Porto da Cruz and Santa Cruz. Several roads in Machico county have been turned into streams, dragging debris and parked cars. Some homes were flooded and agricultural land devastated. In Porto da Cruz, a landslide caused a hole in the roof of a house. In Santa Cruz, strong surf flooded the promenade and a garden in front of a hotel.

— Many videos on Diário website yesterday. VIDEOS

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

Today’s main news headline : Well actually there is only one real story : Bad weather around Madeira. Not a very imaginative headline I know, but the great photo, which takes up 90% of the front page, makes up for that HERE

From there it is just one weather story after another.

 

 

At the end of the day yesterday, the bad weather headed towards the South, with the sea invading the costal areas of the cities. Before that, during a night and a day, nourished [?] rain had spread chaos around the  island. It was a record rainfall in the city of Funchal. It has never rained so much in the space of 24 hours in Funchal. The measurements collected by the Meteorological Observatory in the city, between 9 am Monday and the same time yesterday, revealed a precipitation of 111 mm, thrashing the previous record of 90.6 mm in 1956. In Pico do Areeiro, the figure was 184.7 mm, which was in fact significantly lower than records from the past. The worst downpour measured was in Santana, where 36 mm fell in the space of an hour. The island was on a red weather alert during 9 hours yesterday, the highest level possible, after the forecast originally resulted in a yellow (third level) warning. Just picking out a few key points from the main article today about the weather, it talks of cars being swept away by the force of the water, houses flooded and some areas with access completely cut-off, like Curral das Freiras (Nun’s Valley). Communications were also cut off there, not just the landlines, but also mobile phones could not be used. The Diário reporting vehicle when trying to get to the area, in the end was left trapped on the access road between two landslides. The same thing happened to a Funchal bus, that had to wait to be freed. Loads of other stuff in the newspaper and on the TV, and the pictures and footage explain the situation much better than I can do in words. Also some great links and photos below from Tobi.

Santana was the county hardest hit, with landslides, areas cut-off, and families that lost what little they had. Several roads were impassable, and two schools were closed.

Porto da Cruz and parts of Machico awoke unrecognizable. Bad weather damaged parts of Machico, Porto da Cruz and Santa Cruz. Land slides caused a hole in a roof of a house in the Sítio do Massapez.

Schools closed in several districts and families had to leave their homes. Six schools were closed in total, due to the bad weather, but the situation should return to normal today.

More than ten roads closed – stretches closed as "precaution".

Shops flooded in ‘downtown’ – Although affected to a lesser extent, Funchal also didn’t ‘escape’ the effects of the bad weather.

In politics : Socialist Party of Madeira proposes a special tax for  concessionaires / franchisees – The PS-M want Via Litoral, Via Expresso, OPM and SDM to help to increase the revenues of the Region. Great idea to sting these public companies with an extra 2.5% tax, but I suspect that a close inspection of their accounts would show them all to be pretty much technically bankrupt already. Somehow I don’t see the PSD politicians, some with vested interests, voting in favour of this proposal.

TC [Auditors Tribunal] wants the ports to charge more through taxes.

The main sport / football headline today : Rúben participates in the Lions humiliation – FC Porto thumped (5 – 2) Sporting and heads to the semi-finals of the Portugal Cup. And what a fine performance from our local lad Rúben Micael, from Câmara de Lobos, who has slotted into the Porto team like a fresh crisp €500 note into Uncle Bertie’s back pocket. The lofted cross to set up Falcao for his goal was just perfection.

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. 

Tobi has kindly sent in some bad weather links … many thanks :

Santana Video
Funchal Video
Santa Cruz Video

PHOTO : Monster impact against the sea walls sending waves up a good 10/15 metres … The Forte de São Tiago disappears behind a wall of water!

TOBI’S OWN PHOTOS 

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If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions and photos / videos.

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Please use the comments here for general chit-chat, or feel free to ask any questions … someone usually has an answer.

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