THERE isn’t a great deal of new employment in the Alentejo other than in building and in allied trades.
Those jobs are in joinery, plumbing, tiling, all the things associated with re builds, new builds and refurbishments for incomers who are largely from around the EC.
There is also a new feel to some of the shops and supermarkets as they stock more lines of consumables and food stuffs to suit this new strain of customer.
There has been a desire to promote new businesses, particularly manufacturing, in other areas of Southern Portugal, as tourism brings in the big bucks and is seasonal, but really the one thing I can think of is a new sausage factory, a German concern – of course, which uses fresh, local meat from the areas Black Pig population and it is marketed as Preto Porco.
Cuts are also sold locally in shops and supermarkets. The other big idea, launched a few years ago is to have more leisure facilities up here in the shape of golf courses and their associated leisure and lodging complexes.
Although the corporations which funded these would take the profits, there would at least be a creation of numerous jobs for the local youngsters, hopefully reducing the amount heading off south to seek similar employment in the Algarve.
There were originally quite a number of developments proposed but I believe plans were drafted for two in our neck of the woods, one to the west of Ourique and another to the south west of Almodovar.
The creation of these would also fall in nicely with the opening of the new international airport above Beja, admin centre of the Alentejo, which was formerly a military base. I think the current recession has put all this back somewhat.
Anyroadup, back to business, what it has left is a stretch or two of new road around Almodovar, built to take the increase in traffic. Along the road from us, after the village of Gomes Aires, there are quite a number of new bus stops along both sides of the route. Smart, new concrete structures, some now even displaying their own graffiti. The only thing missing of course is the buses.
Go down the Algarve and you find a comprehensive, frequent service. Around us here, er, well, refer to the picture which illustrate the readiness of the service - the signs says it runs “occasional” and the bus has only three wheels.
This bus has been there a minimum of six months to my knowledge and probably longer – you know how these things stretch out huh! Luckily residents either have their own four wheel transport, mopeds (Zundats) are also very popular, or defer to Shanks’s Pony.
I did check on the latest, rather faded, timetable, rather vague and my Portuguese is somewhat nondescript, it seemed to say:-
May – Perhaps; June – Quite Likely; July – Almost Certainly; August – No Way, Holidays!
Anyway, I never did quite figure to see queues of golfers standing with their bags and even caddies, waiting to catch the next bus to the course. I doubt Tiger Woods knows where the Alentejo is in Portugal!
l Contact Graham at Alcaria.firstname.lastname@example.org