Year of Grace, Day 117. Banditry in Barcelona or beware the kindness of strangers

It is early March and I am eating under a bright moon outdoors, looking out over night-lit Barcelona below. This would be unthinkable in England or Germany. I am calm now. Unlike earlier when I was deeply shaken. My camera and handbag were stolen from literally under our noses. Within seconds!

Just as our car was leaving Plaça Alfonso Comin, a motorcyclist signalled for me to look behind the car. I rolled down the window, and saw we had a puncture. We were just about to take the corner into Carrer Collserola where there was a petrol station, so we parked into the nearest parking space. M started taking our luggage out of the boot, and I helped. In minutes another motorcyclist comes over, speaks in good English and says, “If you need help repairing the wheel, there’s a garage near here.” And he signalled with his hand where, and we followed that hand. And we said no.

And I thought to myself, “How amazingly helpful.  Had this been anywhere else, I would have been suspicious.” And as I went back to the front seat, I realised that my bag and camera were no longer there.

Ah, yes, do please beware the kindness of strangers, especially at the corner of Plaça Alfonso Comin and Carrer Collserola in Barcelona. A worker at the petrol station there said that it is a common incident there. So why, oh why, don’t the police do something about it?

It is not so much the loss of things, as those are covered by insurance, unless it’s a passport. It’s the feeling of being violated and the aggravating loss of time having to report the theft to the police station.

I reflected that a) neither M nor I was hurt, and b) we were alive. And more importantly c) my Thyroid meds were not in my bag. They would have been, had I been following my usual orderliness. Thank goodness, I decided not to put them in my handbag this morning. Losing a camera or money is not fatal; not taking a required daily medication for the next few days until I get back home or get another prescription could be. For this fortuitous thing alone, I am deeply and truly grateful.

For these two bandits in Barcelona, karma will surely catch up. If not sooner, then later, as eventually it will.

Let this mishap be a lesson to all. This is a common modus operandi of bandits all over the world today. Not just in Barcelona or Manila, Rome or Paris. Beware the “kindness” of strangers when your car has a puncture. The puncture was an intentional prelude. Perhaps through a caltrop thrown by the first motorcyclist.

I have no photo of tonight’s brilliant moon over Barcelona to share with you. But they say that the best photos are the ones that we store in our eyes and minds. Just close your eyes and imagine a clear, clear sky and the Barcelona moon. Good night, everyone.

2 thoughts on “Year of Grace, Day 117. Banditry in Barcelona or beware the kindness of strangers

  1. This is just typical. Even Spaniards are often robbed. But you will soon learn what to do and what not to do! Take care and I’m sorry this happened to you. Just because it’s *normal here* it’s not an excuse to do it!


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