Sunday, July 27, 2008

Taken for a Ride

My camera is gone. I lost it at the beach last night. I am so sad!!!

I got home about 4AM and as soon as I realized it was gone and dragged Erin into a cab and headed back to the beach. I told the cab driver, in Spanish, to take us to the metro stop at the beach. He headed in the wrong direction immediately. I was watching carefully because I know there are many ways to get to the beach... but this wasn't one of them.

In my horribly broken Spanish I explained that I had been to the beach from Benimaclet (my neighborhood) many times and asked if this was right. He said, "sí, sí la playa metro". Well the bastard took us clear across town and tried to drop us off at another metro station having little or nothing to do with the beach. So I said, "no señor... la playa Eugenia Viñes" (a specific stop at the beach)... He was like "¿oh la playa?"... Ok my Spanish isn't that bad!!!

So the meter is running and what should have cost 6-7 Euro was now upwards of 10 Euro... and I had no idea where we were. The worst of it was that all I had was a 50E bill. So all I could think of is I had to give it to him when I got to the beach. So I started attempting to explain to him in Spanish that it wasn't fair that the meter was so high and I didn't think I should pay it. He started yelling at me in Spanish so I started yelling back in English because I can't yell in Spanish... I can barely talk!!! I figured if he was going to yell at me in a foreign language I would do the dame!

"Este es mert" was all that kept coming out of Erin's mouth which we think means "you are shit" in part French and Spanish, but... I don't know.

Anyway, here we are yelling, really yelling at each other in different languages and I was pissed so I said,"no, I won't pay policia..... Sooooo.... he pulled right up to a cop and started telling him the story. I heard what he said and could tell he was lying about my original request to go to la playa. The cop wouldn't even make eye contact with me... and I had on my best "he is a liar and wrong pouty face". After a couple of minutes the cop looked at me and I explained that I asked for la playa, not the other stop that I had never heard of. The Spanish was horribly broken but I knew I made some sense. He didn't seem sympathetic at all but in the end, the guy gave me 40E change and the meter said 15.35E. Still we were about 3 km from the beach and it was starting to get light out. We walked the rest of the way to the beach and searched for the camera but nada... The beach was filled with people heading home from the nearby clubs... it was a mess, garbage everywhere broken glass, cans, plastic bags, etc. We watched sun the come up and took the tram home. I was in bed by 7AM... what a drag.
I am sure though before the morning beach rush started the garbage was completely gone. Here people drop trash everywhere and at night the streets are a mess, but by the morning they are spotless... everyday.

Although I tried to break that 50E several times throughout the course of the day, the lesson I learned today was no more going out without small bills in my wallet. I think I will start stashing some mad money so that I will be better prepared in such an emergency. The only "crime" I have heard about here in Valencia is the cab drivers ripping people off. I think I will talk to my teacher about how to explain I know you are going the wrong way without being offensive or rude. Also how to be offensive and rude when you know you are "being taken for a ride". There is no being timid here, the passion is high, people yell at each other all the time. I see it on the streets regularly and I guess if I am going to be part of this place successfully, I'll have to learn to do it Spanish! Lesson learned.


The new challenge is buying a camera in a store where I can't speak properly!!! OMG this is so frustrating!!!

1 comment:

P.A. GIbbons said...

Oh Jeez, what a story! Well, I am glad that you did not get totally ripped off, but sad that you lost your camera. You should be able to get one for 150.00 or so..not sure of the prices in Euros or in Spain. I think you won't have to talk much however, just look for a Canon Powershot, or something similar, and get yourself a fanny pack or something to store it in like I do.

xxxpatti o