Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sitges - Heaven or Hell

I just read in the newspaper about Michael Robien and his family who were viciously robbed by four masked East European bandits in their luxury home in Sitges nr Barcelona, Spain.
This brought back real memories for me cause just over two years ago I went to Sitges for a weeks holiday break at May time. Sitges is a nice middle class holiday resort with a nice gay scene and many Barcelonians who go there at weekends to escape from the city. There is an air of wealth and respectability about the place and I liked it I have to say as a holiday destination,... but there it ends very abruptly.
Whilst I was on the crowded beach I had my bag stolen from under my nose was about 3 inches from my head as I lay getting some rays from the sun. My wallet went, my digital camera, my Raymond Weil wristwatch and my Police sunglasses .Just over a £1,000 's worth and no one saw a thing, not a bloody thing. Yes, I was stupid to have that on the beach with me so no lectures please.
The hassle this caused me was unbelievable, calls to my Bank, calls to cancel my credit cards etc. and a two hour interview with the local police which was about as much use as a glass eye. They admitted it was probably stolen by a gang of East Europeans as many operated in the area and there was nothing they could do.
On top of this my traveling companion went out for some fresh air one night for a walk round the block and he was viciously beaten up, strangled unconscious, robbed of his jewelry and left on the beach. When I found him I managed to get him into the hotel and eventually I had to get the paramedics in and take him to hospital.
From the report in the newspaper about this current robbery , it took the police 55 minutes to get to the scene. Am I surprised? not a bit. The police admitted to me that there was little they could do to stop the influx of East European thieves into their resort and it seems now nearly three years later that still nothing has changed.
We, in this country are waiting for the doors to open once again for the inclusion of two more Eastern Bloc countries into the EU, Romania and Bulgaria. If reports are to be believed, apart from the economic strains an open door policy will cause , there is also the threat of around 45,000 undesirables making their way here too. Should we be worried about this? I leave this to you.
Judging from my experience of Sitges three years ago and the current predicament of the Robien family the future could be very fraught for us.
If it's a holiday you want though, my advice is to stay clear of Sitges as the law seems pretty sterile there. Not unless you go looking like a tramp and wearing your Timex watch, Boots sunglasses and no jewelry on display whatsoever. What a situation to find yourself in....... it would be better to stay at home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well..maybe if someone lectured u in the first place you would not have been so stupid to go out with so much stuff.. it is the beach after all... you only need a towel and some sunscreen...

as for your friend I can sympathise...but every one knows that the east europeans hang around looking for single guys in sitges...

like ANY other resort... you have to be careful... and use your head..

spanish police are hopeless... but in any country ive been in its the same story with pretty crime... and attacks... they know you will be gone in 2 weeks max and they dont want the paperwork...

12:44 am  
Blogger White Wolf said...

Thanks for your comments, you are of course right. Even so in a naive way you feel a bit more secure when you are in holiday mode don't you and it just doesn't cross your mind to act as if you are in down town Baghdad.
Should you be looking at everyone with suspicion as if they are a potential robber? Should you be able to wander round safe and secure? Should you be able to take your camera to the beach to take some snaps as a reminder of your holiday? Is that unrealistic ? Spain is not a third world country after all.

I recently went to the Philippines and spent some time in Manila and there it is a different story. You ARE conscious of the poverty and the threat to your safety and security. Sitges is no Manila I have to say so it makes it even more sad that the authorities cannot get a grip on peoples welfare and security. Thieving is rife in Sitges so the answer for everyone is to go somewhere else with the lessons they have learned tucked in their suitcase.

8:52 am  

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