Friday, June 30, 2006

Operación Malaya, la gran telenovela, capitulo dos

Judge Torres is being a very busy man again. More arrests reported in Sur in English today. Also the Spanish wires are buzzing this morning (too late for the Sur press) as the Aifos construction group offices in Málaga are raided. The new management committee appears to be having trouble as well with multiple members resigning their other jobs over 'incompatible interests' to continue on the committee - the latest here (in Spanish). And finally, the Construction companies as well are complaining of 'extorsion' from council planners (again in Spanish - it's been a busy day).

I´m sure this soap is going to have a long run.


The Medaeval Market is on again this year. Now that the old church in the castle grounds is mostly restored I hope it will be there this year. Last year it was moved to the lower plaza, which did not mix well with the car traffic.

The town is still largely cut-off by road; the main road into town is dug up for improvements. My route out of town has to be up calle Monte, aptly named ;-) and not for the faint-hearted driver! When I've figured out how to post video, I'll include my drive up the street.


I find this really cool. See panel on left. More will appear as I get round to them.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mil gracias

Sitemeter now tells me I have reached 1,000 visitors. Thanks to you all.

I intend to do some redesign shortly, in line with where the blog is heading - more driving and road safety.

Permiso por puntos: lo único que cambia es que hay más seguridad.

This is the title of the little missive that dropped on my doormat the other day from DGT - 'trafico'. I suspect that the only change will be more revenue for trafico until there are enough drivers wallying around on 2 points. Maybe then the message will get home.

Per capita Spain is not that bad and safer than Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and the new Eastern members. However thet have the worst record in Europe for HGV-related accidents, so stay well away from trucks.

The full information is available from the trafico website in Spanish at:- or

The english synopsis:-

The system will only apply to those on Spanish licences. The word on the street from trafico is that offences committed by those on non-spanish licences will be punished more severely - On the spot fines will go up and there will be more confiscations of cars.

Drivers will be allocated 12 points. New drivers will get 8 points for the first three years. This will also apply to those who are issued a new licence following revocation of a previous licence. Drivers who have no endorsements after three years will get a further two points to make 14. After a further three clean years they get another point to make 15. This is not to be confused with the winning ONCE number.

Points are deducted as follows:

2 points for minor offences such as:
- Stopping or parking in unsafe places such as bends, crests, tunnels or poses a risk to pedestrians.
- Stopping or parking in bus lanes.
- Use of radar detectors.
- Driving without lights when required.
- Carrying children under the age of 12 on scooters or motorcycles except where allowed by the law.
- Speeding 20-30kph over the limit [Did you know that you are allowed to exceed the speed limit by up to 20kph to overtake - this is why all spaniards drive at 140kph on the motorway - "¡Pero agente, sólo estaba adelantandole!"

3 points for more serious offences such as:
- Driving without a seat belt or riding without a helmet.
- Performing U-turns except where permitted - did you know you ARE allowed to do a U-turn at a junction if not signed otherwise?
- Driving whilst using any mobile telephone or accessory, except where allowed by law.
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front.
- Speeding 30-40kph over the limit.

4 points for serious offences such as:
- Driving on motorways (autopistas) or highways (autovías) in/on a prohibited vehicle (e.g. scooter)
- Exceeding the passenger capaity of the vehicle by 50% or more - i.e. 6 or more passengers in a vehicle with 4 passenger seats.
- driving a vehicle without the proper licence.
- dropping litter on the road or roadside with might cause a fire or accident - no fag butts.
- negligent driving which creates a risk to other road users.
- Speeding 40 or more kph over the limit, but not more than 50%.
- Ignoring give way or stop signs, jumping traffic lights.
- failing to observe the rules for overtaking, putting at risk or holding up oncoming traffic, or overtaking in places or circumstances where visibility is reduced.
- reversing on a motorway or highway.
- Ignoring signals from a traffic cop.
- Accelerating or performing manoevres which prevent or impede being overtaken.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol where a breath test shows more than 0.25mg/l and less than 0.5mg/l (0.15mg/l to 0.3mg/l for professional drivers).

6 points for very serious offences such as:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol where a breath test shows more than 0.5mg/l (0.3mg/l for professional drivers).
- Driving under the influence of drugs or similar substances [vindaloo anybody?].
- Driving in an aggresive manner, the wrong direction, or racing or competing without authorisation.
- Failure to take a blood or drug test.
- Speeding 50% and 30kph or more over the limit.
- For professionals only (that's me), exceeding driving hours by more than 50% or taking less than 50% of rest time [I'll remember that one for work].

Once all 12 points are lost, so is the licence. It can be recovered, but only after attending a course and passing a test. A licence can be revoked for any serious or very serious offence, regardless of the number of points left on the licence. See also new drivers, above. Points lost from a licence if not disqualified , up to a maximum of 4 points, can also be recovered by attending a course. This can be done up to a maximum of once every two years. The cost of the course to recover points is €170 and lasts 12 hours, and for recovery of licence is €320 and lasts 24 hours.

The time taken to recover the licence after disqualification is 6 months for the first time, 12 months thereafter (3 months & 6 months for professionals).

Points are not lost at the time of the offence, only when reported. This allows drivers to voluntarily go on a course to avoid loss of points, but this must be done within one month and the outcome of the course must satisfy trafico.

I see ALL of the above behaviours EVERY day. We'll just have to wait and see if the rules change driving behaviour. I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Que pudiera ser yo

I found this little link the other day whilst looking for the Spanish version of the UK-based IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). I find it relevant since the exact same scenario occured when I approached a roundabout and had to brake sharply for (yet another) suicidal motorist who doesn't know where his indicators, mirrors or brakes are.

The interest to me was that the front tyres were new and the road conditions apparently very good, being dry and sunny with an ambient temperature of over 30 degrees C. Nonetheless, on braking, my car slewed sideways as I had already started to turn into the roundabout. Thankfully, the braking distance was so short I was able to stop before the give way lines on the roundabout.

Oh, and by the way, there is no equivalent to the IAM in Spain - ¡que sorpresa!

Friday, June 16, 2006

El tiempo compartido

Just so you know the official Spanish view on timeshare:


Malaga.- The Costa del Sol has 92 timeshare developments which represents 28,1% of the national total, according to information released by consultants Ragatz, presented by the president of the Spanish branch of the European Timeshare Organisation (OTE), Carlos Vogeler.

Of the 327 developments situated en Spain, 140 are in the Canary Islands, 33 in the Balearics and the remaining 62 developments on the western coast (Costa del Sol). The Costa del Sol and the Canaries account for 71% of all these developments in Spain.

On the Costa del Sol, around 210.000 families are owners of timeshare developments and the average price of a week in these developments is 12,100 euros compared to 8,600 euros in the Canaries and 12,000 euros on average for the rest of Spain.

Vogaler highlighted today in Malaga that the timeshare model works “perfectly” in the US and Mexico and “very well” in Spain, although in Spain there is still “a very negative perception by the general public”.

He pointed out that timeshare “is no more than a form of hotel marketing with a more sophisticated tourism product”, in which “there have been frauds but much less than in other sectors [see la gran telenovela] and recently not much has been reported”, he also pointed out that “there are few products in which the consumer has the level of protection found in timeshare”. [NB: very careful choice of words - does not say that the level of protection is good or bad].

Vogaler clarified that timeshare “is in no way a form of property investment”. “The buyer of this product has to understand that they are not buying bricks and mortar, just a type of tourist services”.

For him, it is “important to realise that for the buyer’s part that at the time of buying that their expectations at the time of resale will not be in line with property speculation regarding increase in value”.

He insisted that “those that invest in timeshare are investing in their future holidays, when the time comes to resell, it can be sold like any other product, but in no way is it going to have any benefit or increase in value, save that the market may rise (or fall) as demand changes”.

He equivocado

The last post got its knickers in a twist over the date and lost the photo.

It was actually posted yesterday (15th June).

My new job looks like it will have a future, even though it's a fixed term contract to 2008. The reason for this is that I'm now training to be a driving instructor here in Spain.

I note from EuroRAP that the junction I use off the A-7 every day is the most dangerous in southern Spain (and the 6th most dangerous in the whole of Spain). It took a while to realise that one because:-

a) The diputación has changed the road name from the N-351 to the CA-34. You can find it on Km 118 (westbound) to 119 (eastbound) on the A-7.
b) The really dangerous part of the junction is the exit from San Roque to get onto the 'flyabout'. You start from a standstill and have to get across 3 lanes of fast-moving traffic directly to the other side - there are no lights on the junction, just slip-roads. This I discovered yesterday.

At least I don´t live in Galicia!