Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Unemployment here in Spain is Climbing

A Fistful of Euros says unemployment is climbing fast here in Spain. I'm pretty insulated up here, it's like being in your own ecosphere when you're trapped in a small town in the mountains. We could be self sufficient, there are enough small holding farmers around that sell their fruit and vegetables cheaply. Spring onions as big as tennis balls (I'm not kidding).

They have a unique system here. There are lots of "fincas" (usually tiny, pokey country houses) and each one is a mini orchard or farm. Each farmer grows whatever he wants to grow whether it's fruit or vegetables. There is a central depot where they can take their crop and get paid the going price. From the central depot, the produce is bought to supply the rest of the country (I think).. 

The one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the waste.  Many of the fincas are empty and the orchards are just left to grow year after year. They can't sell them unless they find out who owns them and if an elderly person has died and the family have moved (like so many younger people do) and they can't be traced, the property remains empty.

There are orchards and orchards of oranges, lemons and tangerines and many of them are just allowed to rot,  they even grow in the street and you can just pick them and no one cares, as they are so plentiful! 

We also have figs, custard apples, avocados and a strange fruit that looks like a tomato but is filled with sweet jammy stuff... I am not a horticultural, greenfingered person :), sorry, so I don't know what they're called!

The other shops (like clothes) are pretty shit unless you are an old lady in mourning or you want to wear what everyone else in the town is wearing! 

Real clothes have to be ordered over the net from the UK. I might try to import some stuff one day and see how it goes down with the younger ones but I think they get their parents to drive them into Malaga once in a while!

The tradesmen here are pretty much the practical kind (carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers etc.) and they always seem to be in demand! 

The rents don't seem to have gone down any but the Spanish would always rather see their flats empty for months on end than lower the price!

A few speciality shops have closed down like the Disney Shop and the REAL junk jewellery shop but supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and pubs are still buzzing. A couple of Brit pubs have shut, but they made the mistake of just serving Brits and if all the Brits go home, they have no other customers!

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