This fall I was on the Portuguese island of Madeira, off the northwestern coast of Africa. Madeira is a beautiful place, especially if you like long walks in mountainous terrain.
Not only is Madeira beautiful, it also qualifies for the reception of EU regional development aid. As such, it is a great place to observe economically wasteful behaviour.
The first picture, seen below, is a massive sign posted at the beginning and end of a particular route through the mountains I went on. The sign advertises the costs of the recent renovation carried out on the route. As the sign says, the total cost of renovation was over 4.4 million euros (!). And of this, over 3.1 million was paid for by the EU (“Comparticipacao Comunitaria”)! The renovation amounted to, from what I could see, a couple of paved sections of the path and the torching of some mountain-sides (in order to allow a better view). Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the paved sections, but there’s a picture of the burnt greenery below (although wordpress refuses to upload the bottom part of the picture…). In any event, I can hardly see how the total renovation was worth 4.4 million euros…
On another trek on a different day, I came upon the following mechanical monstrosity of a transport thingie in the middle of nowhere.
Notice the total lack of other people than those in my party (click on the pictures a couple of times to zoom in). Squander? Of course it is.
I also visited a beach on the northeastern part of the island. The Madeirans had built a massive concrete pathway between the cliff and the entire beach. Did we see other people using that beach? Yes, but only two…This being on a saturday afternoon.
The things one can do with other people’s money…It’s not even like Madeira is especially poor, being a rather successful turist destination and all.
Do you read, write, hear, or say more words during a typical day?
It’s probably a toss-up between hearing more words and reading more words (the two “passive” forms) for most people, especially for us hermitical students. If “hear” is meant as listening and comprehending and not just sensing, I’ll go out on a limb and say I mostly read more words than I hear, although I might be underestimating the latter (since people tend to talk rather fast).