I don’t smoke, I don’t smuggle, so I don’t know the price of cigarettes in Gib. I just know they are cheap – and that for some reason, the smuggling seems to have dropped off over the last few days.
How do I know this? Well, simple really. People who buy cigarettes in Gib, to smuggle them across the frontier to re-sell them in Spain, take them out of the cartons to hide in their vehicles or their motorbikes. Then they throw the plastic bags away that their cartons came in.
But they don’t throw them in bins. Oh no. They literally drop them on the floor. Naturally, being environmentally sound we pick them up and check for holes. Because not only are we sound, we are also tight-arsed, and they serve very well for picking up after the dog. Everybody’s happy, we get free bags, the smugglers don’t bother to look for a litter bin, and the street cleaners have slightly less work to do. Except the discarded bag supply had suddenly dried up.
At least three people weren’t happy last week, according to the hot-off-the-press building site gossip. Seems that a Guardia Civil officer had stopped someone on a moped/motorbike at the border crossing and impounded their illegal contraband – cigarettes. This is not unreasonable as that is what they are paid to do. However, apparently, the bike and former fag-owner thought it was, so knowing where the officer lived, went to bash him and his girlfriend later that night. As ever, I tell you this as mere gossip, because there is always a big Gib Disinformation Factor here.
What is not gossip however, is the fact that there were increasing delays crossing the frontier into Spain after that alleged incident, with Guardia Civil stopping just about every single moped or bike that had somewhere to hide cigarettes.
By the time we got to leave on Saturday, we had hit the border queue well before Sundial roundabout. A few hours in the sun, (with the dog in the back), not moving, and wasting diesel, is no fun. We thought about turning round, but as we did, the traffic suddenly started to move, so we went for it.
They were stopping mopeds, but not many cars. They stopped us ‘cos they always do, saw nothing but a furry dog in the back, and waved us on. The compound however, was full of seized vehicles. Mostly mopeds, but some cars too. If you aren’t up on the smuggling business, when they take your smuggled goods, they also take your vehicle so natch you then need to pay extra to get it back. I have never seen it so full, in fact it is usually pretty empty.
Here is a link to the Chron for those of you fascinated with the whys and wherefores of smuggling across the Gibraltar-Spanish frontier.
Panorama has a different take on it – here check out border chaos headline, (link may change when this gets archived on the Panorama site).
I could write more but I have flowers and classic cars to fit in yet.
My beautiful winter jasmine is flowering. It’s glorious.
I sat and looked at the jasmine for most of Saturday afternoon while I waited for the largest ever paella to cook. It was the largest ever because I wanted enough left for breakfast. I don’t think I cooked enough.
When we finally left to make the return trip on the Sunday, I spotted a row of old cars in the village car park. It’s a car park in as much as cars, and trucks and caravans park there, but there is no asphalt or parking bays, or tickets, thank goodness.
When we got to the main road, we turned round so that I could go back and take some pix. There were a lot of Citroens and Mercs, with a beautiful Chrysler, a Cadillac, a Seat and a couple of others thrown in. They were gleaming, in excellent condition.
Looking at the signs on their vehicles they were obviously on a run, taking the Ruta de la pasa y el vino, which goes around the villages of the Axarquia that grow grapes and make wine.
A beautiful day for a run, so we took ours back down to Gibraltar. And stopped off at Europa Point for a dogwalk.