Thursday, January 24, 2013

Second Interview Coming Up: Karla Darocas!

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My Second Interview: Karla Darocas - Expatriate Canuck in Spain!
As you will probably know by now, I have a real fascination for everything Spanish (my article on Hispanophilia will attest to that), so I headed over to Spain twice last year. On my second trip where I visited places such as Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Montserrat and Ibiza, I also spent a couple of days on the Costa Blanca, the most easterly part of Spain that sticks out into the Mediterranean.

My friend and Internet mentor David had linked me up with one of his close friends, a very interesting woman from Canada who had moved to Spain a few years earlier. Karla Darocas was very gracious and invited me to stay with her for a night or two and I had a chance to get a brief glimpse into the life of an expatriate Canuck on the Spanish Costa Blanca.

Karla, her Scottish friend Rhonda and I went on a day trip on the local train to Benidorm, the largest tourist resort town along the entire Costa Blanca. We talked about life in Spain, about the culture and in particular about the humongous influx of Northern Europeans, particularly retirees, who are settling along the Spanish coastline. If I remember correctly, Spain is expecting something like 4 million Northern Europeans to settle in Spain over the next few years.

As a result there has been huge real estate development along the entire coastline and in some places like Marbella literally every square inch of available space has been paved over. For anybody with any kind of love for nature, what has happened along the coasts of Southern Spain is really quite painful to see. Development has progressed with very few limits and as a result Spain is facing serious water shortages and environmental issues due to overdevelopment, overcrowding of coastal areas as well as the building of golf courses. The tremendous increase in prices along the coast has made it virtually impossible for the locals to be able to afford a house there.

However, despite all these excesses, there are still many beautiful places, and particularly the area where Karla lives is an extremely scenic part of Spain. Karla is a very interesting individual who is an artist, but is also involved in a variety of business and non-profit endeavours. Again she is one of those people who manage to combine the artistic with the entrepreneurial. I found her to be a very generous host and I appreciated the opportunity to spend a day and half with a person who could give me local insight into the area.

Her interview will provide unique insight into a culture that fascinates many of us in one of the most beautiful and diverse countries around. Karla's frank comments describe Spanish society and the life of a North American expatriate and provide an inside look into a beguiling and contradictory culture.

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