Thursday, December 13, 2007

Las Vegas in Los Monegros

It is no point being a visionary, if my Catalan audience does not want to follow me. Most probably I am already too American, too market economy oriented, too focused on the private sector, against a welfare society which penalizes hardworking people and pampers the lazy.
I am often blasted in the Catalan forums when I propose a dramatic downsizing of the government, free enterprise, reduction of the welfare benefits for those who are healthy, but simply do not want to work. I still think that the government should provide a cushion for the needy, senior citizens, children and sick people, but that's it.
But today I will not elaborate about my political views, I will do that step by step, today I want to talk to you about a missed opportunity.
When in December 2005 I was in my room at the MGM hotel in Vegas, I had a dream. I looked trough the window and I saw the flashing hotels superimposed to the desertic background. It reminded me of Los Monegros. I used to cross Los Monegros when I was a kid. We visited, from time to time, my mother's relatives who lived near Saragossa. I still remember crossing the Monegross when I was 4 or 5 in my father's olive green Seat 600. It was in August and the car was literally boiling. The temperature outside was 110 degrees and inside 120. My father stopped at the roadside, somewhere between Alfajarin and Bujaraloz. The Guardia Civil stopped shortly after. My father told them that we had a problem in the car, it was hot as hell. The police inspected the car and found the problem. I had activated the heating. There was a lever to activate the heating under the passenger seat. While playing in the rear seat, I had turned it on. In the 1960's kids did not wear safety belts, just played around without any restrictions.
I also remember that when the Americans made it to the Moon, my grandmother used to tell me that it was all a sham, that she heard that American military film crews based in Saragossa had been seen filming in the Monegros, months before the Americans landed in the Moon. I was a kid and I believed her.

I also remember that in my mother's village, they would call us catalanufos or something similar and they tried to hurt our feelings by saying that we spoke a dialect. They did not offend me (they would now), I thought they were village people and I was coming from the civilization. For a strange reason, my mother always talked to me in Catalan. Most probably because she thought that I would have more possibilities of success if I was bilingual. Almost everyone spoke only Spanish in the 1960s Hospitalet de Llobregat where I grew up.

From the MGM hotel I imagined that I was back in Los Monegros and I thought it would be a great idea to encourage Catalan businessmen (and women) to invest in Los Monegros to set up a Las-Vegas-like leisure complex. I also encouraged them to set up a bullfighting rink, since I was sure that bullfighting would be banned in Catalonia with the new Estatut. In March 2006, I published a post with my recommendations, it was called Las Vegas II.
Unfortunately, no one in Catalonia followed my advice. We could have made millions. It would been the ideal complement to Catalonia, like Vegas is to California. The reality is that a group of International investors has recently unveiled its plans to start a Las-Vegas-like leisure complex in Los Monegros, exactly as suggested by me. Since I proposed the idea two years ago in my blog and my blog was licensed under a Creative Commons Attibution, do you thing I have rights to some royalties? I will check with my lawyer.


Garci said...

You spotted right away, Ian. Congratulations! However, I still don't get the point regarding Catalan investment in bullfighting in Monegros. According to you, one of the reasons why you supported banning of bullfights in Catalonia was that "Catalans should not support an activity where people get excited watching an animal suffer"...and you still insist on investing. Tell me if I'm wrong, but investment is a form of support. Does that mean you'd be able to overcome the "Catalan moral" in exchange of the "very altruistic" investment in Monegros? Chapeau, Ian, but I would believe that if you also supported bullfighting in Monegros (or any other non-Catalan spot) without the need to invest in it.

ian llorens said...

I am aware of my inconsistencies. Nobody is perfect.
However your selective quoting, omitted the part where I was trying to artificially justify myself:
"Some of you maybe asking why do I support bullfighting in Los Monegros and not in Catalonia. Frankly speaking, I think that if bullfighting bulls were asked, they would prefer to continue to die in the arena, rather than being forced fed in overcrowded farms and killed slowly but surely hanging from a conveyor hook in a modern slaughterhouse. Therefore I leave it up to the Spaniards what to do with it, I just want it out of Catalonia. If one day, farm bulls and cows are roaming freely on the prairies for a few years and after that driven in stretched limos to the slaughterhouses, where they are killed through lethal injection after being sedated by an anesthesiologist, I may change my mind and campaign for a ban also in the rest of Spain. In the meantime, let's invest in Los Monegros (Saragossa).(March 2006)"

Anton said...

hi, I just reached your blog from xavier mir's, it's very interesting, i think i will be following you... The line about your memories of your mom warning you about the Apollo scam made me smile. Since 2-3 years ago, I think I agree with her, and I also tell my nephew similar things... though almost 40 years after those alledged landings it is much easier to say, good intuition back then.

Rab said...


Check this link from the Catalan broadcasting corporation.


ian llorens said...

Next time it should be you and I. I should stop in Edinburgh one of these days to make plans with you.

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