An Article by Bernie Power with The Voice Fuerteventura
The eighties bought about huge changes in Fuerteventura. It was a defining decade that saw more than just the tourists arrive.
Locals over the age of forty five will have seen so much change here in. Of course all around the world things were altering as our little island began to grow and I often sit and chat to the old farmers who tell of the day that electricity finally came to their village. They tell stories of how they used to wait patiently for the pylons to snake their way to their place and how there were no street lamps, back in their day. Some say they had a bulb as their only form of light and some were lucky enough to have a radio too.
The Property Boom In Fuerteventura
Most of the buildings here are quite recent. The 1980`s saw a huge property boom and grand plans sprung up all over the place. Many of them are still waiting patiently to be finished and nowadays they are actually knocking down some of the original buildings from the eighties to make them bigger and better than before.
But it is not just the buildings that have seen a massive change. The roads have also had a major facelift. Before the island was littered with dirt tracks and there was no asphalt in sight. Places such as the road to El Cotillo was not for the faint hearted! I live in Tindaya, which still has many dirt roads running through it, but luckily we now also have asphalt through the main centre of the village.
Money, Money, Money!
Changes in social and economic status were mainly responsible for the large changes that we see today. Local families sold off the land they once farmed to wealthy investors who replaced the crops with large villas. New communities also evolved, built around historical places such as the recently restored windmills in the centre of Corralejo. As the wealth of the island improved there were more cars using the new roads and everyone seemed to have a 4×4. Toyota even made a presentation to the Mayor of La Oliva as his municipality had bought the most 4X4 Toyotas in Spain in one year!
Welfare, education and leisure also improved as hospitals, schools and football pitches were built. But it was not just things outside as television also arrived, albeit black and white. I can remember enjoying the big Christmas Day film which was Guys and Dolls back in 1981!
The ability to move about the island by bus and car was a new phenomenon and fashion and music became popular too. It was also the decade that the tourists began to arrive. They bought with them new money, new languages and new jobs. Hotels, catering and the service industries in the resort towns soon took over from farming and goat herding as an occupation. Many of the parents had retired and no longer worked the land, so the world was turned on its head. Nowadays, tourism has overtaken agriculture, but it is a strange nostalgia that pines for those pre eighties days when things were really slow, life was simple and you never received traffic fines in the post!