surinenglish

THE BOTTOM LINE

Like a foreigner at home

Anyone who remembers Spanish pop of the 80s might recall a song by the group Mecano entitled No Hay Marcha en Nueva York (which could roughly be translated as 'there's no fun in New York'). One line is: "Que si eres 'espanis' ni un vaso con soda" ("if you're Spanish they won't even give you a glass of soda"), and I found that amusing. Well now the same thing is happening to us, but the other way round, and it's not funny.

As you will have heard, in this giant fiasco of restrictions on movement in Spain in times of Covid, if you live in Malaga, you have to stay in the province over Easter. Yes, I know it's a lovely place, but we've seen it.

On the other hand, if your cousin who lives in Berlin wants to come to warmer climes and swap his 'currywurst' for an 'espeto' of sardines, he can jump on a plane and land on the Costa del Sol, and let's hope he does because we need him; but he could also go to Mallorca, or Barcelona, or the Canaries. Basically he can go where he likes in Spain.

So, if you were planning a short break to Tarifa or Cabo de Gata, to visit friends in Madrid or take a stroll beneath the orange blossom in Seville, well tough luck; we're in a semi-lockdown and we have to curb the fourth wave and save the summer and I don't know how many other mantras that no one believes.

But the foreign tourist can do whatever he or she wants, even what the local population isn't allowed to do. Not only is it unfair, but I'm sure that in time they will prove that it is totally discriminatory and illegal.

For now the European Commission has asked Spain to be coherent with its restrictions on movement that it is imposing inside and outside its borders, and warned that the risks of catching Covid are similar in terms of domestic or foreign travel.

In other words, even though tourists come with their recent PCR tests, nothing or no one is going to stop them from taking a poisoned souvenir home in their suitcases.

Really, I think it's great that all the tourists in the world come on holiday to the Costa del Sol, as they always have done, as long as they comply with the same rules as the local residents.

I don't believe that their presence involves more risk than the gangs of youngsters who go to massive drinking parties every weekend in Malaga city centre, Pedregalejo and other places.

All I want is to have the same right to move around my country, no more no less, even with the same test requirements as the foreign visitors.

I refuse to be treated as a second-class citizen in my home country.