Monday, April 20, 2009

Avoiding the Pickpockets

As I mentioned in my previous post, the dealings between thieves, the bars, and the police is a scandal ripe to be unearthed by some enterprising journalist looking to expose the odious symbiotic relationship between the three.  But, until that happens and we start claiming the streets back from the scum who prey on the innocent people visiting our city, you need to know how to avoid them.  My friends at At Home: Barcelona have some useful advice, but I also want to take a minute to offer some suggestions on how not to get robbed, while also seeing some parts of the city and its surroundings that you probably wouldn't have otherwise.

The thing to remember about thieves is that they go to where the tourists and crowds are.  This means - if you wanna go for a swim - don't go to Barceloneta and Port Olimpic, unless you have someone watching your things at ALL times.  However, if you hop on the train at Plaza Catalunya and take it north for half an hour to las playas del Maresme, you can find wider and more spacious beaches like Cabrera del Mar where the pickpockets generally don't go but the locals do, so you can enjoy and relax in the sun and cleaner water, while eating and drinking at the cheaper chiringuitos.

If the city-center is your thing, walk above Plaza Catalunya and the scam artists to Rambla Catalunya, escaping the heat and the thieves while you stroll under the shade of the green trees and see some of Barcelona's more impressive buildings, and if you're feeling tired there are plenty of restuarants and bars with terraces to stop and grab a drink or something to eat - just don't leave your belongings on the tables.  Finally, if you're coming from the Sagrada Familia or Parc Guell, walk into the city - it's down hill and Barcelona's not a big place, and you'll avoid the metro.

1 comment:

  1. These never cease to make me laugh;
    You know you´ve lived in Spain When………

    1) You think adding lemonade, fanta or even coke to red wine is a good idea.

    2) You can't get over how early bars & clubs shut back home - surely they're shutting just as you should be going out?

    3) You aren't just surprised that the plumber/decorator has turned up on time, you're surprised he turned up at all.

    4) You've been part of a botellon.

    5) You think it's fine to comment on everyone's appearance. And to openly stare at strangers.

    6) Not giving every new acquaintance dos besos seems so rude.

    7) You're shocked by people getting their legs out at the first hint of sun - surely they should wait until at least late June?

    8) On msn you sometimes type 'jajaja' instead of 'hahaha'

    9) You think that aceite de oliva is a vital part of every meal. And don't understand how anyone could think olive oil on toast is weird.

    10) You're amazed when TV ad breaks last less than half an hour, especially right before the end of films.

    11) You forget to say please when asking for things - you implied it in your tone of voice, right?

    12) You love the phenomenon of giving 'toques' - but hate explaining it in English

    14) You don't see sunflower seeds as a healthy snack - they're just what all the cool kids eat.

    15) You know what a pijo is and how to spot one.

    16) Every sentence you speak contains at least one of these words: 'bueno,' 'coño,' 'vale,' 'venga,' 'pues nada'...

    17) You know what a 'resaca' is.

    18) You know how to eat boquerones.

    19) A bull's head on the wall of a bar isn't a talking point for you, it's just a part of the decor.

    20) You eat lunch after 2pm & would never even think of having your evening meal before 9.

    21) You know that after 2pm there's no point in going shopping, you might as well just have a siesta until 5 when the shops re-open.

    22) If anyone insults your mother, they better watch out...

    23) You know how to change a bombona. And if you don't, you were either lazy or lucky enough to live somewhere nice.

    24) It's not rude to answer the intercom to your flat by asking 'Quien?' (or maybe that was just my flatmate...)

    25) You don't accept beer that's anything less than ice-cold.

    26) You know Bimbo isn't a slutty woman, it's a make of 'pan de molde' (which, incidentally, isn't mouldy)

    27) The sound of mopeds in the background is the soundtrack to your life.

    28) You know that the mullet didn't just happen in the 80s. It is alive and well in Spain.

    29) You know the difference between cojones and cajones, tener calor and estar caliente, bacalao and bakalao, pollo and polla, estar hecho polvo and echar un polvo...and maybe you learned the differences the hard way!

    30) On some Sunday mornings you sometimes have breakfast before going to bed, not after you get up.

    31) You don't see anything wrong with having a couple of beers before lunch if you feel like it.

    32) Floors in certain bars are an ideal dumping ground for your colillas, servilletas etc. Why use a bin?!

    33) You see clapping as an art form, not just a way to express approval.

    34) You know ensaladilla rusa has nothing to do with Russia.

    35) When you burst out laughing every time you see a Mitsubishi Pajero (thanks Stuart Line for reminding me of that one!)

    36) You have friends named Jesus, Jose Maria, Maria Jose, Angel, maybe even Inmaculada Concepcion...

    37) You know that 'ahora' doesn't really mean now. Hasta ahora, ahora vuelvo...etc

    38)When you make arrangements to meet friends at 3, the first person turns up at 3.15...if you're lucky!

    39) Central heating is most definitely a foreign concept. In winter, you just huddle around the heater under the table & pull the blanket up over your knees...and sleep with about 5 blankets on your bed! (OK I accepot this is probably just in the south!)

    40) When you laugh, you don't laugh your head off - te partas de risa.

    41) Aceite de oliva is 'muy sano', of course. So you help yourself to a bit more.

    42) Every single news bulletin on TV has at least 10 minutes on Real Madrid news and another 10 on Barcelona news.

    43) When it's totally normal for every kitchen to have a deep-fat fryer but no kettle.

    44) Te cagas en la leche....

    45) To avoid that cheap Eristoff vodka you have to ask for 'un esmirnoff'

    46) When you know what a guiri is / have been called one

    47) When you add 'super' in front of any adjective for emphasis

    48) Blonde girls actually start to think their name is 'rubia'

    49) When you accept that paying with a 50 euro note is going to get you a dirty look if you're buying something that costs less than 40 euros

    50) If something is great, it's 'de puta madre'

    51) You can eat up to 5 times a day - first breakfast, 2nd breakfast around 11.30, almuerzo, merienda, cena

    52) You know the jingle for Los Cuarenta Principales...

    53) If you see someone wearing a T-shirt with something written on it in English, you can almost guarantee it won't make sense. (Pebble Night was a personal favourite)

    54) When you go into a bank/bakery etc, it's standard practice to ask 'Quien es la ultima?'

    55) Who needs a dryer when you have a washing line outside the window of your apartment?

    56) You know what 'marcha' and 'juerga' are.

    57) You are more likely to call your friends tio/a, nena, chaval, macho or even tronco than their real name.

    58) Love it or hate it, you can't escape reggaeton.

    59) You answer the phone by saying 'Yes', (well, or 'Tell me') and when identifying yourself you say 'I'm...' not 'It's...'. But when you try those tactics back home, everyone thinks you're mad or rude!

    60) You carry on buying UHT milk when you get back home and your friends think this is disgusting but you can't understand their point of view.

    61) Jamon, jamon y mas jamon....
    (Can't say this was my favourite thing, being a a vegetarian and all, but I agree it's very much part of Spanish life!)

    62) If you eat a lot of something, you're not going to 'turn into' it, you're going to 'get the face of it,' e.g 'te vas a poner cara de chocolate.' Somehow a lot more amusing!

    63) Drinking coffee out of a glass is entirely normal.

    64) 'Son las nueve, las ocho en Canarias' is how you are used to hearing radio DJs announce the time

    65) You've been to your local town's feria/fiesta/semana santa

    66) You're familiar with the term 'la crisis.' And have started shopping at Dia as a result (and of course, you take your own carrier bag).