If there were any SUR in English readers who didn’t know the word the Spanish use for beach bars and restaurants a few months ago, they certainly do now. ‘The chiringuitos must all come off the sand’, threatened one headline; ‘Government agrees to negotiate over chiringuitos’, promised another, followed by reports of the chiringuito owners threatening to protest in Madrid and eventually news of a respite until the end of the year.
Since March the whole affair has travelled full circle.
At the end of last week the Government official known as the Secretary of State for the Sea, Juan Carlos Martín Fragueiro, announced in Malaga that no chiringuito would be obliged to move from the sand. I doubt Fragueiro realised just how much of a commotion he was about to cause when back in March he pointed out that his Department was going to make sure that the famous Coasts Law was complied with and that meant that nothing was allowed to be built on the sand.
Did anybody really think that the Costa del Sol’s chiringuitos would all disappear? Wouldn’t it be a little paradoxical to clear everything off the beaches in the name of environment protection when the concrete strip on the other side of the promenade stretches for miles and miles inland, leaving little breathing space for trees and gardens? After all, if people are looking for virgin beaches they know very well not to come to the Costa del Sol for their holidays.
At least this year’s controversy has hopefully served to regularise the concessions, licences and permits granted to the chiringuito owners, who can now settle down to concentrate on serving up their traditional fish dishes to the summer tourists.
Right now I can imagine thousands of holidaymakers enjoying their freshly roasted sardines, many of them blissfully unaware that until very recently the future of the tables and chairs they are sitting on was decidedly shaky.
Filed under: General by Rachel Haynes