Monday, 6 December 2010

Bank holidays and local scum

Constitution Day (Día del Constitución)
The 6th December is a national holiday in Spain and marks the ratification of the new Spanish constitution of 1978 after the death of Franco. After the death of Franco in 1975 a general election was held in 1978 and the new parliament (Constituent Cortes) drafted a new Spanish constitution. This was eventually passed by King Juan Carlos on the 27th December and came into force on the 29th December.
Since that day, the 6th December has been a public holiday and 99% of businesses are closed. The Spanish use the day for family outings and the restaurants fill to capacity.
The 8th December is also a public holiday to mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This means that the 7th December, in the middle, although not an official holiday, is also often taken as a day off. This is called a ‘puente’ or bridge.

Petty crime in Spain
Spain is no different to any other country, where petty crime is rife and tourists are often seen as easy targets. Tourists tend not to be as street wise as the locals and are often unaware of the typical methods used by street thieves. That’s not to say that locals are not at risk too. We, personally were subjected to a typical theft just this week.
Whilst sitting in a street café, my coat was placed on the back of the chair. A group of 3 Moroccan men came and sat behind me and placed their coats on the backs of the seats. They were only there 2-3 minutes and sat sipping water from bottles. Suddenly two of them got up and left in a hurry whilst one went to pay the bill inside.
A few moments later I realised that one of the men had dipped into my coat pocket and stolen my mobile phone.
We managed to get in touch with Vodafone within an hour and had the number blocked and the sim card replaced. This was made easy as I had kept the original sleeve in which the sim card came. This had the original serial number on it. Without this number it would have been impossible to stop the card and retrieve the number: a lesson to all.
Although losing a £100 mobile to a scumbag was difficult to swallow, I feel I came off lightly. It could easily have been my wallet.
This event has inspired me to re-write information about stolen mobiles on our website here and about stolen credit cards here.

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