Nicole King – The Spanish Portero

Out with the old (in with the new)

Once again I’m broaching the subject of Spanish traditions being forsaken in the name of progress.  

Nowadays its far more common to have an automatic “portero” (doorman) than a physical person.   This means that at the entrance to a block of apartments, at the outside door or gate, there will be a numbered panel with a code to gain access to the building.  One can also let visitors in automatically by pressing a button from within the home.  This is all good and well but apart from terminating yet another career with innovation, so much else has been lost with it.

The Porters is one of the most established and traditional roles in Spain, often taken on by one of the dwellers themselves and hired by the community.  No task is too menial, including the traditional opening and closing of the main entrance door, which is both to facilitate access to each neighbour and to determine whether an entrance should be denied.   Having a doorman obviously adds to a sense of security as this includes preventing the entry of street vendors, promoters and the like and stops people “parking themselves” at the access gates or common spaces.  They are always there and so are ideal to receive mail and packages and as they usually have keys to every apartment, can shepherd in repairmen and such.

The “portero” is truly the heart and above all, the ears of the building.  They know exactly what’s going on, with whom, where and when and are usually happy to share this information, making for some good gossip and much needed company in many instances.   I hope they survive!

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Nicole King

One of Marbella's most glamorous residents, Nicole King offers a taste of the best of what's going on in the Costa del Sol.