Of Phoenicians and golf courses

Rubí writes her Tuesday blog:

When you watch my behaviour in the wind, it is perhaps hard to realize that I am a very contemplative and calm donkey normally. When I am not being a mad donkey in the March wind, I spend a lot of my day standing on the edge of the field gazing towards the Mediterranean sea.

The other donkeys sometimes ask me what I am looking for.  I tell them that the inhabitants of this landscape have always looked to the sea, and I am simply doing what comes naturally.  Cruise ships, tankers, naval frigates sail by on the horizon, but I can also sometimes see a Roman galley or a Phoenician trading ship.  We carried the ceramic amphorae filled with olive oil on our backs and we remember queuing up on the small pier to load the ships.  The galley slaves looked at us and smiled: we bore a heavier load but we were free.

Here I am with Matilde, looking out to sea at Playa Torres recently: Benidorm island in the background.  We saw no Roman or Phoenician ships that day.

On Sunday, El Provedor took me for a walk.  Just me on my own.  He said Morris was too much work, Matilde keeps jumping on me when we go for walks, and Aitana is too mad after half an hour; so he just took me.  We went to explore our old walk across the main road and down towards the sea.  They are building a golf course and all the old paths have been destroyed.


We found ourselves in an alien landscape of earth-movers, cranes, warehouses and narrow little concrete and tarmac tracks for people to ride golf buggies around this Disneyfied ancient agricultural landscape.  There are huge lakes, filled with water on black plastic sheets, holding millions of litres of the precious water that is being starved from the local agricultural land in the present drought, as almond trees die and olive trees produce withered fruit.


Our old path had disappeared and we spent two hours trying to find a way out of the deserted landscape of fake lawns and great lakes of useless water.  Finally we had to walk down a dangerous main road in order to get home to my donkey field, as there were miles of fences stopping us using the old public paths which are now on the golf club land.

Rubí near Finestrat on the main road to Benidorm

Well, you developers and Finestrat Town Hall people: I just hope your whole scheme pays off and you manage to attract the Phoenicians back here.  We certainly need them.

7 thoughts on “Of Phoenicians and golf courses

  1. Not just an area subject to drought but the most arid region in Europe and currently in the third year of a major water shortage. The reservoirs are empty and the farmers have to watch as urban areas are given priority, tourists are guaranteed full swimming pools, water parks have their luxurious fountains flowing, and almond orchards and olive groves die at the roots. A criminal irresponsibility towards the environment largely due to corruption: the permissions to waste water making golf lawns on a hillside are only given when people stuff 500 Euro notes into envelopes and pass them to the Partido Popular mafia of the Valenciano crime syndicate. This, sadly, is the dead-end reality of Spain’s impressive years of economic advance: mostly it was built on a democratic lie. The real beneficiaries were the corrupt and the destroyers. In this case they have destroyed a whole landscape.

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