The Art Of Dying In Spain

On the road from Murcia to the beaches of the Mar Menor you can see vast new residential developments, each replete with golf course, aimed at solvent golfers from Northern Europe.

Situated in a kind of parched no-man’s land between the mountains and the beach, the complexes are mainly aimed at solvent northern Europeans, with Jack Nicklaus, Sam Torrance and Johann Cruyff among the names used in their promotion.

Take a drive around the outer ring of the city of Murcia and you will lose count of the number of billboards and bus stops devoted to the advertisement of these developments. Spain is in the midst of a property boom and many local property speculators are being enticed to invest. To this end, the services of Jose Antonio Camacho have been contracted. A native of the region of Murcia, Camacho became world famous during the World Cup of 2002 as manager of the Spanish national football team, mainly for raising his arms aloft to show the sweat-soaked armpits of his shirt. Prior to this he was a pretty decent club manager, and before that a pretty decent defender with Real Madrid.

Anyway, Camacho’s reason for choosing Polaris World, according to the ad, is that he wants to start living (Yo he elegido Polaris World para empezar a vivir). One wonders that if a successful footballing career with Real Madrid followed by a successful career in management isn’t really living, what is? Perhaps the clue is in the other ad for the same development. It asks: ‘Who said that paradise was only for a few?’ (The price range is from 150,000 Euro to 1,500,000 Euro. Looks like I for one shall remain one of the damned for the time being.)

According to people from Murcia, the area previously held little appeal. Rather than a paradise on Earth, villages with names such as Los Infiernos may give a clue as to the type of climate and terrain that residents could expect to encounter. The names given to these complexes, howeverz offer no such pointers. Polaris World; Roda Beach Golf Resort; Mosa Trajectum; and, rather laughably, Trampolin Hills; the names obscure any geographical and cultural realities i.e. ridiculous heat, Spanish language. The prospective buyers, it has to be said, probably couldn’t give a toss if the place was called Golfschwitz, provided their purchase brought unlimited golf in a warm climate.

More on this later in the week.

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June 2005
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