José Hila, the mayor of Palma, Mallorca

José Hila, only on sixty grand.

16-10-2021Jaume Morey

It must have been quite like old times for Elizabeth Debicki. It would have been even more so if Olivia Colman was still playing the Queen and if Netflix had had the good sense to cast Hugh Laurie as Charles. Having once played Blackadder's Prince of Wales, Hugh would have been perfect. Roper and Jed from The Night Manager back together as Charles and Diana - they could have gone off to La Fortalesa for some filming. In fact, it was surprising that they didn't. It was the only place in Mallorca where The Crown wasn't being filmed last week. Or so it seemed.

Five ships in the morning

Luxury yachts, speed boats. There was a good deal of on-the-water location work for Diana (Elizabeth), production crews doubtless having been keeping a weather eye out for any cruise-ship colossus in the general vicinity. It was absolutely like old times in Palma on Monday, when the citizens saw not three, not four, but five ships come sailing in in the morning. Harmony of the Seas headed the giant pack, as all the old saturation arguments were being brought out of Covid hibernation.

Limits back on the table

Palma's mayor, José Hila, was reviewing the season - it had gone "reasonably well", he remarked - when asked about all these cruise ships turning up again. Discussions about limits were also being revived from their pandemic slumber, he explained, while adding that "right now, after all we've been through, the recovery of cruise activity is good for the city". Such a positive statement would surely not have been appreciated by the no-to-cruise-ships lobby. And nor will it have been forgotten when it comes to the elections.

A mayor's salary

Whether José gets the opportunity of re-election has yet to be determined. If not, he might regret not having taken full advantage of the Spanish government's generosity when it comes to mayors' salaries. The 2022 budget contains a two per cent rise, which for a mayor of Palma will mean a maximum of 100,516 euros. Not that José will be having this maximum. He has been slumming it on 60,002 euros, less than two-thirds of what he could earn, and the progressive pact at the town hall isn't about to approve a forty grand pay rise.

The wine fair returns

In Pollensa, budgetary revision may be needed to accommodate the two per cent. Tomeu Cifre outraged the opposition in 2019 firstly by becoming mayor and then by promptly upping the salary to the max. But thoughts of 55,842.25 euros wouldn't have been on the mayor's mind last weekend as the Pollensa Wine Fair made a welcome return. It was eighteen months after the eighteenth edition should have been held and it was in a different place, but none of the 2,000 or so visitors would have minded, as they sampled Mallorca's finest wines.

Palma packed

The fair coincided with a long weekend holiday break on account of Tuesday's National Day. The bridge weekend will have served as further ammunition in the saturation debates, as Palma was "packed". But come on, let's be grateful for tourists returning, as grateful as some hoteliers, who were said to have been knocking out 100% occupancy, something unheard of for what seems an age.

Covid milestones

Yes, mostly everything was quite like old times. Ok, the 100,000 Covid cases mark was finally breached, but dwindling notice is being paid to pandemic milestones, which where Mallorca's risk status was concerned was probably as well. The 14-day incidence went below 50, and so from medium to low risk, only to then promptly go back up again over 50.

The under-40s, who have been displaying a greater reluctance to be vaccinated than the over-40s, were now showing greater willingness. The health ministry suggested that the Covid certificate requirement for entering clubs might be having something to do with this. No real "might" about it, one would think.

But for those still not persuaded of the benefits of the vaccination, there is always the alternative attraction of hanging around all night on a street in a small Mallorcan town and downing whatever's on offer from the boot of someone's car. Muro suffered a massive botellón, and the police were totally overwhelmed.

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