Ah, Spain. Why do you taunt me so.
Valencia Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
December 27th, 2008 – by: umbralwalker
Our next stop after Carcassonne was Valencia. I wasnâ€™t sure what there was to see in Valencia, but the drive is long and we wanted to break things up a bit. The car rides were fun for me. Iâ€™d spent a lot of my childhood vacations on long car rides and my brother and I did the drive from Southern California to Kentucky and back several times, always with much silliness to be had.
About 2 hours north of Valencia we made one of our pee and food stops at a large road-side market. The parking lot had a half-dozen cars in it, was well lit, had security cameras, etc. This was my first experience of Spain. We wandered the store scrounging provisions while scanning the shelves for interesting pictures. One of the things that made it onto my â€śEh?â€ť list in Asia was the flavors of Lays. Lobster and Seaweed were two notable ones. Here we ran into the same example of culturally appropriate potato chips.
After we filled up we headed back out to the car. Megan was the first to notice all the glass on the ground. She actually asked, â€śis this our car?â€ť Eventually we all caught up. Weâ€™d been robbed. Emilyâ€™d left her wallet and computer on the front seat, my computer bag was on the floor in the back, Brettâ€™s iPhone along with Megan and my passports were in the console between the front seats.
Everything I mentioned was still there, except my computer bag. After the inventory, we started to piece together what must have happened. They must have pulled up to park next to our car, rolled down their window, smashed our window, leaned in and tried to grab whatever they could in the relative dark. The dug through the glove compartment, but we werenâ€™t keeping much in there. Emilyâ€™s computer was in a black bag that they skipped over for some reason. They didnâ€™t bother to look through the console. The strap of my computer bag, however, was within reaching distance of the front, so they grabbed it and drove off once they had something with some heft to it.
Megs and I lost my computer, my cell phone, the charger/cords to our camera, our European plug adaptor, our immunization records, the airplane power adaptor, two of the books Iâ€™d bought before the trip (one of which being Volume One of a two volume, fairly expensive set), and most importantly of all (to me anyway), the spiral bound notebook filled with two years of my notes for the novel.
We backed up our computers before we left, so the only thing I lost was a few re-writes, some homework and any photos we hadnâ€™t already uploaded to Travbuddy. The handwritten notes, however, have no backup except in my brain. Luckily Iâ€™d started typing and backing up most of my notes for the last 6+ months.
Everyone was safe, I thought ahead enough to leave our paper-only plane tickets at Brett and Emâ€™s, we had our passports, no one else lost their computers, cameras or phones. In all, we got off pretty easy, but I still couldnâ€™t help feeling violated. Worse because of the sentimental value of my notebook. The others had it just as bad, though. They hadnâ€™t lost anything which made them feel pretty bad. Survivorâ€™s guilt, as Em put it.
The people inside were incredibly nice and helped us get ahold of the police. The two officers showed up within ten or fifteen minutes. Unfortunately the camera for the lot was aiming another direction at the time and no one saw anything. Between Megan and Emilyâ€™s Spanish, and the officerâ€™s English we learned a lot. Personally I learned two things of note.
One, there are actually two languages in Spain; Catalan and Castellano. At least one of them carries with it a distinct lisp I was boggled by. The officer who spoke the most Spanish had a lively conversation with Megs (a lot of which I didnâ€™t follow) and at one point started mentioning Spanish cities. Valencia became â€śValenthiaâ€ť and Barcelona became â€śBarthelonaâ€ť.
The second thing I learned was that there is a lot of mafia in southern Spain. Apparently they come across the straight of Gibraltar from Morocco, as the officer put it, â€śfor a holiday.â€ť They stake out stops like the one we were at, take what they can, and do everything in their power not to be seen. Quantity, not quality, seems to be the thing.
The car was covered under Emilyâ€™s credit card for insurance, but so far none of my stuff is. We have a few more options to check out once we get home, though I suspect weâ€™ll just be buying new stuff. It ends up that it would have been cheaper to fly after all.
The thing I had to quickly realize was that money isnâ€™t all that makes a trip. We had a lot of experiences left and I refused to let the situation dampen them. I never would have seen Carcassonne from a plane, or got a feel for the countryside like we did, or even found out what Brettâ€™s Star Trek Dream Team was.
â€śIt will either be a good time or a good story,â€ť someone once told me. We got to have both.
Rich: USS Excelsior, Capt. Sulu (ST Films), First Officer Data (TNG), Helmsmen Sulu (the original series), Holodoc (Voyager), Doc (Enterprise), Head of Security Odo (DS9), Science Officer Spock (TOS)
Brett: Borg Cube or Romulan Bird of Prey (TNG), Lore (TNG), Devolved Worf holding the symbiote of Dax (TNG + DS9), Hugh the Borg (TNG?), Kahn (TOC and ST 2)
Rich: Observe = the life of Jesus Christ; Change = prevent the burning of the Library of Alexander
Brett: [to be added]
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