Friday, February 03, 2012
The Siberian "ola de frio" has reached Castellon, Valencia and now Alicante. Not quite Siberian temperatures, but -11ºc is cold enough, thank you very much. Luckily, that is inland from Castellon in the North of the Province. Here on the coast the temperature only dropped to 2ºc overnight and now the sun is trying to break through we are basking in a salubrious 6ºc. The local press are searching their records and bringing out the "coldest since..." stories. In fact it isn't that long ago since we had weather like this, we had ice on the fishpond one night last Winter, and if you happen to be browsing my FB photofiles there are photographs of snow on the mountains taken on my birthday in 2009. What is different this time is the "wind chill factor". The air is really icy, there is a stiff breeze and the sun doesn't seem to be having any warming effect.
It is to be hoped they have opened the doors and windows of the Diamante Beach and Spa Hotel down the hill and let the icy blast blow through. Not that it will make any difference to the poor sods who have died of Legionella, but it might wake up the hotel management who have been doing their best to cover up the outbreak. Saga holiday makers were informed by a note under their doors that they were being moved to another hotel. When they enquired at the desk why they were being moved they were told that it was because Saga would not pay the extra cost involved in their staying in a four star hotel as a opposed to a three star! Saga, it has to be said, seem to have acted in an exemplery manner. As soon as it was confirmed that someone had died of Legionella they transferred all their clients to another hotel in Calpe and explained the position to them. Many of these people come out for a month at a time, and they were given the option of staying in the alternative hotel or returning home. My 'source' had conversations with 6 different guests and they had all decided to return home, not because of fears of the disease, but because the alternative hotel, the Ifach, was poor in comparison with the Diamante and they would prefer a refund. Scruffy rooms, unpalatable food and surly staff was the opinion, not a patch on the Diamante.
The UK press has been reporting the outbreak, but only as it applies to UK citizens. No mention of the four local waiters and cleaning staff affected, or a local resident, a hotel pool user, who is also in intensive care. The first case occured on the 14th January. We first heard rumours about the outbreak on the 16th January. When was the hotel closed to guests? Last night, Thursday the 2nd of February, and it was only on Wednesday that the Health Authority were forced to come out and admit there had been a problem. I don't suppose the fact that our dear Mayor and his Councillor for Tourism have been doing the rounds at all the European Travel Fairs promoting Calpe as a holiday destination had any bearing on the delay.