|Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Puerto de la Cruz, a town for all nationalities 

If I am to be honest, I struggle at this time of year for ideas or topics, subjects which I want to write about and more importantly, comment on.

It is not for want of enthusiasm, I have plenty of that, though saying that the weather hasn’t helped, after a month of Panza de Burro it does start to wear you down. Why do people come here at this time of year? I often wonder, but they do, the town is very busy. More so this year, visitor numbers are on the up and the powers that be are busy singing their own praises on what a great job they are doing.

It is predominantly Spanish visitors at this time of year and they seem to be returning in droves. Perhaps there is a renewed confidence in their economy after years of austerity. Or is it six months effectively without a government that is the catalyst, maybe others should try it. Who thinks there will be a third election? Personally, I think they all want to be president; they should put their egos aside and reach an agreement, either that or stand down and let someone else have a go.

However, it is not just Spanish visitors who are here at the moment; plenty of other languages can be heard on the streets. What brings them here? It can’t be for the weather. Has the town suddenly become more attractive? Or is it just that that the European map of ‘safe’ places to go on holiday seems to be getting progressively smaller.

So what should I write about? Surely with all these visitors, the town has provided a lot of activities to keep them entertained. Well, we have just had ‘The Fiestas of July’. A month of things going on in the town, a whole host of events, a hugely varied itinerary, something for everyone, I am sure. (I am playing for time now as I try and remember exactly what they put on.)

A beauty pageant, they just love doing them here, the ‘Queen of the July Fiestas’ that will look good on her cv. There were kids playing sports in the streets on a number of occasions, I remember thinking surely that was what sports centres and summer schools were for. What else? There were some road races, sports infinity, bicycling around the town and a few concerts. Not a lot really to pique my interest, apart from, that is, the Fiesta del Carmen, the main event of the year in Puerto and even that loses some its appeal after seeing it a few times, unless you are heavily into saints, which I am not. However, I recognise it as a big event for the town’s dwindling fishing community, dwindling for most of the year, apart from Carmen when suddenly everyone is a fisherman, or so it seems.

Now for something completely different! I know you are expecting me to start ‘slagging off’ the town’s ongoing projects, as is my usual bent. However, this month, tempting though it is, I am not going to mention Calle Zamora. Nor for that matter the exorbitantly expensive walkway revamp currently underway in La Paz, which I have just realised I haven’t been anywhere near to see what been going on. Perhaps, a topic I should investigate for next month.

This month however I thought I would take a look at the ‘population’ of Puerto, leaving visitors aside just for once. Since Puerto’s ayunta-miento has caught up with other municipalities, IT wise, I mean, and now that you can print off copies of your Empadronamiento from the comfort of your own home, there are other things you can view on the same site, one being a snapshot of the municipality’s population by nationality, as far as those who are registered.

So how many people live in Puerto? Just shy of 36,500 according to the list, I won’t use exact numbers because, of course, the populous is forever changing and I wonder how representative the pardon is of the actual population. There will be those registered who own property yet only visit for a few months; likewise there are people who live and work in the town yet still see home as elsewhere on the island, where they grew up. Plus there are those I am sure who choose to live under the radar as it were, for whom living here is just one long holiday.

Let’s say, for the sake of having something to write about, that it is a case of swings and roundabouts and overall it evens itself out and take look at the figure in a bit more detail. 78% is made up of Spanish, (almost 27,000) hardly a surprise there, although it doesn’t show, which would be interesting, how many are local and how many from the mainland. The German community is by far the next biggest, 11% (4060), again no great surprise, they have been here for years and their presence is certainly felt.

Who’s next, surely the Brits? No, surprisingly not, it is the Italians with 3.5% (1315). I would never have guessed there were so many Pizza parlours in the town. Next, of course, it is us, Rule Britannia and wave the Union Jack, the 4th largest community with a smidgen under 3% (1050) of the population. I have to say I was surprised at such a paltry figure, I had expected more, but perhaps I am confusing those of us known as residents with those better described as frequent visitors who somehow manage to slip through the net, as far as local officialdom is concerned, I mean.

So, who makes up the remaining 4.5%? I am sure amazed to know there are another 90 nationalities, plus 5 people of ‘no fixed abode’, or origin unknown. What a cosmopolitan town Puerto is! I will quickly run through the ‘also ran’s’ those who are worthy of note. Finland (530), Austria (330),France (260) Venezuela (210) which can’t be right, Sweden (200), Cuba (190) there are strong connections between the islands, The Netherlands (165), India (150) I thought there would be more , but perhaps they have dual nationalities, Senegal (145) now there is a surprise, not the number, I am sure there are more, but the fact they are on the register, Belgium (130) and on and on. Sorry I got bored with listing them, but I think I got the point across. I will just finish by saying there are 20 countries who only have 1 citizen flying the flag for them in Puerto.