Newsletter March 2011
Margarida Sampaio @
Well it feels like we have had the pleasure of all four seasons of weather this month, from icy cold nights, to fresh Spring like mornings, followed by the odd warm evening and more recently, hot sunny days more reminiscent of summer. And with the warmer weather returning so too has some form of life in sleepy Carvoeiro with the town slowly gearing up for the next summer season. It may be a pain to not be able to find a parking space again but it is great to see all those pasty white legs (mine included) slipping on their shorts and taking a stroll down to the beach, ice cream in hand.
Carvoerio starts to reopen
With the restaurants and bars that have been open this month seeing some new faces for the first time this year, a wave of businesses are preparing to open again.
At the start of every new season there always seems to be a general shift as workers move between businesses in their own game of Carvoeiro musical chairs and it looks like this year will be no different. Firstly we see that the popular Oasis restaurant, on Rua do Barranco opposite Hemmingway's Bar, is ready to open its doors under new management. Karen and Hans have passed over the helm to Frank of Lanterna Velha and the new Oasis is due to open up on March 2. Other new faces on the bar and restaurant scene are a British couple who have taken over Bistro 72, on Rua do Barranco near to the Junta office. There has been a lot of work going on over the past few weeks so we will have to see what will be offer when it finally opens. Many of the bars and restaurants in the town will be opening up in the coming month and I will let you know of others as I see who has there door open but at the moment Taste, on Rua do Barranco opposite Innside café, has opened up and Mungos bar is due to reopen on March 4, just in time for the carnival holiday weekend.
I think everyone in Carvoeiro has their fingers, toes and anything else they can muster, crossed that this year the weather will be good for Carnival. The main parades have been confirmed as taking place on Sunday, March 6 and on the bank holiday of Tuesday, March 8 with both starting at 3pm. A smaller little parade of the local children will be taking place at lunch time on friday, March 4 but this is not part of the official proceedings. Last month I wrote about the discontent among participants who were opposed to the theme set out by the Junta of Portuguese Traditions and History and it seems the Junta have taken these complaints on board as the theme is now The World of Music. There was no official say so as to why this change was made, or even when, all that happened was that the old posters were taken down and new ones replaced them!
I have heard about a couple of the different floats but I won't spoil the surprise for those who are able to come down and support the town over Carnival, needless to say though it will be great to see some local faces dressed up in all their finery – No confirmation from Eduardo the taxi driver as to whether he will be a tarty lady or a baby for the parade nor to the status of his bottom either!
Big party plans
While Carnival is a great way to wake up the town after hibernation, other parties have also been planned by the local business owners and residents association in conjunction with the Junta and it looks like we are in for some new attractions for Carvoeiro. Firstly, an Easter fair, in the same vain as the Christmas fair, will be held in the town over the long holiday weekend from April 22 to April 25. The organisers will be putting on daily live entertainment and are hoping for a few more faces in the square as it won't be as cold as it was in December. There will also be six tents with stalls in to attract people into the square and to try and encourage new visitors to the town. The Easter fair could turn into something much bigger in the future and it is starting small this year but has the potential to be a real draw for the town.
The other party plan for Carvoeiro is a summer party, proposed to take place on June 25 to kick off the summer season. The party will be taking place on Carvoeiro beach all through the night until 4am with local bars being asked to come down and make cocktails to sell, live music planned and a DJ to play into the night. All the organisers are waiting for are the nods from ARH and the Maritime Police, the two entities responsible for the beach, but it is hoped that because it will be a one off event for the year that they should be able to get all the permits they need to make a beach party similar to those found on other local beaches that have proved so popular.
The party plans were revealed during the last meeting of the business owners and residents association, but most of the issues raised were not fun, as the last newsletter detailed. Concerns raised during the English language meeting held on February 3 were taken by a representative of the association to Jorge Pardal, the president of the Junta who has shown himself to be proactive in his response. A big concern raised was that of the increasing levels of crime, whether this is a real increase or a perceived one is hard to tell as figures are notoriously hard to come by, however, the concern is still there.
Jorge Pardal has reacted to this by sending out a letter to Lagoa Câmara, the Civil Governor of the Algarve (she holds the purse strings for security forces in the Algarve), the GNR commander in Silves, the GNR in Carvoeiro and to the Portuguese Home Office asking for a response to the lack of security in Carvoeiro, an important town with a strong tourism reputation for the entire Algarve. In the letter he stated that the lack of security in Carvoeiro was against the constitution of Portugal and that people had the right to feel safe in the place that they live. He added that tourism is fundamental to the economy of Carvoeiro and a lack of security jeopardised this with a basic demand of more police wanted to patrol day and night, all through the year.
For any of you who have experience with any of the above bodies then you will already know that getting an answer to these questions may take some time but at least the ball has been set in motion and an official “complaint” has been made. At the next meeting of the association, no date set yet but could be on March 10 or 16, a member of the GNR, Jorge Pardal and a member of Lagoa Câmara have been asked to be present to address this issue of security. I will let you know the outcome next month.
Road work woes
The works on Monte Dourado seem to have come to a stand still (anyone surprised?) but the issue of road works in general in the town is a contentious point. A lack of warning of when works will happen, slow progress when it does and poor signage to highlight what is going on has all been accepted by Jorge Pardal as needing to change, although he admits he can only sympathise as the works are not controlled by him. He did however promise to let the association know about works for them to pass it on to members.
New hope for parking
While Jorge Pardal can do nothing about the road works he is hoping he and the Junta may be able to do something about the parking situation in the town. A proposal to put metres into the town has been turned down as it is considered to not be cost effective so instead, it is being proposed that there be a summer and winter parking regime for the town. The winter season is said to be officially from October 16 to June 14 each year and Pardal has suggested that during these months the beautiful metal pins along Rua do Barranco from the 3 Jotas restaurant to the cigarette shop, be removed to allow for parking along that pavement in the winter.
In the summer the pins would be put back in to allow space for handicraft sellers, artists and street performers to be able to entertain guests and residents to the town.
Another area that could see parking changes would be outside the old sardine factory at the entrance to he village where, because of the width of the road, it is possible to change the spaces to being diagonal to fit in more cars, while the area of waste land on the left before this is to be cleared to make it possible to park there, although this is not an official solution and is being done with the consent of the land owner.
These may not be solutions to meet all the needs of parking in Carvoeiro but it is a start.
A better welcome
The entrance to Carvoeiro from Lagoa has been criticised as not exactly being the most inspiring, nobody is asking for a several kilometre stretch of fountains, manicured lawns and gym equipment as we can see in Vilamoura, but a general tidy up wouldn't hurt the overall image of Carvoeiro, especially for first time visitors. This has also been addressed by Jorge Pardal, however, as always it comes down to not enough money in the pot to be able to put all the plans in motion. It has already been approved that the garden section at the top of the town can be extended but there is no money for this, what there is money for though is to clean up the small raised garden area on the right and also to remove the green free standing bins as you come in with the sunken bins found elsewhere in the town.
Other plans for Rua dos Pescadores include the road safety measure of putting in a speed bump at the first zebra crossing by the new café and another down by Dirty Nellie's bar. With all the planned developments in the town it looks like some of the hard earned taxes paid to Lagoa Câmara seem to be making their way slowly back here but only time will tell as to how many of these approved plans will make it to fruition.
After all the serious business I would like to say a big congratulations to Angie and Jack who were the eventual winners of the Patsy Lulu Memorial Sheild mixed doubles competition. Well done to them both, not only for winning the compeition but also for being able to remain standing after a very long, Cristal filled evening!
See you next month
Well, I am signing off now as I have to dig out my needle and thread and prepare myself a stunning outfit for the Carnival parade. I have an amazing vision in my head of a show stopping singing star outfit but the horrible feeling that I am more likely to come out looking like a bad Madonna impersonator wih a couple of party hats stuck on my chest in an attempt to resemble that Gaultier outfit...has anyone seen anything good on ebay?