Well, I have finished my time in Mallorca and my visits to various European cities along the way. I must admit, I love my new lifestyle! Full of adventure and although it’s never perfect, it’s always new. For example today I met a gentleman in a Café in Palma who is going to connect me to the Alternative Nobel Prize Award and who knows where that will lead! We were chatting about Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland!
As far as Mallorca and Spain, my impression is that these are extremely complex societies where people are having a tough time economically. The rich are rich and will stay that way (unless they end up in jail for being too blatant). People here are having a very tough time making it; paying rent, buying food, sending their kids to school and jobs are nonexistent! People have to be very creative in how they live their lives with job sharing, donating services etc hoping they can make a living.
A number of people have had to move somewhere else just to survive! It is difficult!!! I have had extensive chats with the Spanish and Ex Pats who are living here and the story is always the same, they have lost money with investments, can’t find clients, have to change way of doing business and hope to stay on the island because people here love island and its lifestyle. It is beautiful!!!
In Palma there is a mix of Spanish, British, Swedish, and German who come here. But for the most part they live in their own communities and don’t learn the language. Not that I have been great with language, but I have tried! If you try the Spanish will too, for example the Café I go to, servers will translate my order on Iphones so I see in Spanish and they see in English! It works well, and we laugh along the way.
One story, and I have permission to tell, Annie , the owner of the flat where I am is British, she has been here for many years , is a young Grandmother , very attractive , a trained Acupuncturist and is good at it! She has had many professions, one being a Sex therapist and she has a very tough time. Annie lives in this rambling , old apartment behind Major Department Store in centre of Palma (like living behind Eaton’s centre in Toronto) she seems to have great group of friends , who help one another, and if one has a job, such as photo shoot they will take Annie on as an assistant. So she can make little bit of money.
In the short time I have been here I’ve seen people reinventing themselves over and over! Tourism is very much wanted, but I’m not so sure the Spanish people or Government like the tourists themselves, they like the money but——
* Tourism offices are not open on Sunday!
* Tourist Offices will not answer questions on the rest of the island, only Palma and I found the train station info office very helpful!
* The Newspaper’s and the Government are always blaming Airlines ,Cruise Ships and Hotel’s for lack of Tourism Dollars (in my mind they have a victim mentality), at least this comes out in English press.
* There are articles about Airlines not flying to Palma etc, my sense is that the Government has to give to get.
* The buses and trains are excellent! Taxis are terrible and I avoid them, they are rude and will take you every time!
* There is lots of poverty on the island, Michael Douglas has a home here and owns a restaurant on the Island in Valldemossa. His first wife lives here, but Catherine Zeta Jones, his current wife doesn’t like it here. She says it’s too poor; believe me his restaurant is in a beautiful area and I think this lady is just snob, (I don’t think she came from wealth in Wales?!)
* The poverty is very much hidden! There are only few homeless on the streets!
* All stores are closed on Sunday and you see tourists just wandering around trying to find something open! (Lots of Russian Tourists)
* Most stores close in the afternoon and reopen at 4pm
* It is very expensive in Palma and for me, for every Canadian Dollar, It costs me over 1.50!
* Salad is also not easy to find in restaurants and can be 10 to 15 Euros (very expensive) quality and freshness can be difficult to find! The Hotel “Saratoga” has the best salad, have it on the rooftop garden!
* I was asked about Hygiene and that is fine for the most part. Everyone drinks bottled water, not just tourists.
* Lots of Culture; opera, music, dance, theatre and what I call culture…my English Movies!!
* Cyclists all over the island, from around the world. They like to train here and can become real hazards on the roads; they think they can ride in middle of road! Right now I am in bus on way to mountains and bikes are holding up all the traffic.
This island, as I have said is very beautiful, flowers, fruit trees and blossoms all over and of course the SUN. Palma is lovely city, with always another alley way to venture down and make another discovery!!
My favorite lunch is at Oliver’s (not Spanish (sp)) you get 3 courses for 9.80 Euro and it’s all very fresh! Bar Cuba was my hang out for breakfast with fresh fruit and yogurt. There was also many other Café’s including very traditional Café’s where they serve hot Chocolate made from real melted chocolate… amazing! Now that is a real chocolate fix!
The market in Palma is just amazing; it’s about 5 times larger than St Lawrence market in Toronto! When I stand in line to buy tickets, it seems to me that everyone is telling a story! Things take so long and my Spanish teacher confirmed I was right.
A big hug and thank you to everyone that has helped me and included me in their lives.
Bother BK Ramon, who helped me at the very beginning of my visit here!
Sister Pilar and Sister Marta both from Barcelona BK Centre who hosted me in Barcelona.
Glynis, who has become a friend and has a new career as a comedienne, she will be traveling in Europe this summer with her act.
Suzanne, a Journalist from Germany that just moved back to Hamburg and I will see again.
Annie, whose flat I stayed in, who was very helpful at carting my luggage all over, doing airport and computer duty.
Robin, the first person I met on the island last June, a very thoughtful friend.
Jackie, my exercise and Santa Catalina (funky area of Palma) buddy.
Carol and Gus from Chicago, whose yacht is in the harbor, and they have sailed the world for many years.
Clare, a fellow traveler from UK.
Andreu, my Spanish teacher, I just had lessons for last 3 weeks, wish I had found him a lot earlier.
Ulrike and Peter, Germany, who hosted me at their beautiful home in Santa Ponsa
Now, how do I feel as a Nomadic Intern? I have now understood, I am tough and will stand up for myself and I am very direct! For years people would say this about me and I would say no. But I now realize I am, and I operate with my head and my heart (very important). It doesn’t bother me at all not having a traditional home , because I do have a very unique one in Canada, at my friends, they have made space for me (my new Family).I miss my kids and grandkids and worry about them!
I feel that life is very fluid, just like the many relationships we all have in our lives. I really enjoy this life and am very calm about it! I have no idea where I will end up in the world and in life. I feel it is a real privilege to be able to have this life and a blessing to have the health, resources and energy to pursue and enjoy it at this time. Every so often I am somewhere and a little smile comes on, which means, all is well in my world.
Every place I stay is an adjustment, whether at a home, a flat or a guest house. As a friend said I seem to make it my home wherever I am! And I enjoy the challenge of fitting it all together. As I say I am Nomadic, but with my hair color, toilet paper and the regular Manicures and Pedicures! Plus 3 suitcases. I just shipped one back to Canada, and a friend from Toronto will be at the Forum in Iceland and has very kindly offered to take another back with him, so I will be left with one for Greece. My friend Clare, who lives between Bali, Mexico and Georgia sent me lovely message last week. Clare, I met many years ago as we shared living in Bush Camp in Northern Australia. I always say I am following in her footsteps! The message was…
Dear Citizen of the World,
Don’t you feel more and more that boundaries are silly and that we are first and foremost Earthlings, and that we should just rejoice in our rich differences and similarities. (I couldn’t agree more).
P.S Last month I did Blog on the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and so weird, I still really feel the loss!
Would love to hear your comments on the blog – leave them in the comment box at the bottom of the page or email them to me. Bettypbf@interlog.com