What a day

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It’s been raining all night. Dashed across the road to the only open café in the whole street for hot coffee and bread. Warmed up but feeling mildly disappointed. No chance of morning golf today. Maybe the rain will stop further south and maybe its possible to play in the evening.

Arrived at Valencia feeling hungry. Seems like all we did on this trip is drive, eat and sleep. Walked for a bit looking for restaurants but all are only opened at 1.30pm. Another hour to go. Roamed around admiring the buildings and got lost. Asked a couple of park workers for directions to the main square. Understood half of what they said. Keep going. Asked someone again. This direction. Asked another. That direction.

A young lady handed us a brochure, led us to a small lane to a wine shop which we were not interested but the restaurant next to it was open. Gracias senorita but we are more hungry than thirsty.

Wish we could spend more time in Valencia but we must move south again. Stopped by Carrefour on the way to stock up our water supply. While the rest of us are shopping, Ron decided to take a nap in his car. As he was about to unlock it, a big bald guy approached him speaking in Spanish something about a cat under the car.

Ron being a well-seasoned traveller, immediately sensed a ploy so he pretended not to understand anything and walked away. It was possible the stranger could be armed with an ice pick or a knife, things that daylight robbers carry.

It’s the old trick. Distract an unsuspecting victim, get him to unlock his car, hit him cold and probably take over the car and all its belongings, laptops, golf bags, wine, whatever. Or slash a tyre, wait for the victim to replace it while the accomplices helped themselves to the car contents. Luckily none of that happened.

We got back to our cars no more than 15 minutes and saw the big bald guy hurrying off to a parked car which sped off with two other guys. Then we noticed a flattened tyre. Damage done. Dirty crooks! No proof but we were definitely targeted by these guys. It has happened to many foreign motorists.

Anxiety all around, many miles more to go. There goes our evening golf! Instead we had to look for a workshop to replace the tyre and its spare.

Found an auto-shop that confirmed the tyre was slashed beyond repair but they didn’t have a matching one for us. Helped us change to the spare without charging anything. Such nice Spanish people.

Another detour, now to an industrial area. Found a large workshop just in time to fix our problem. What a relief!

Nothing for the rest of us to do but wait and talked. Talked about the incident, about other similar incidents, reminded each other to be careful in unfamiliar places and grateful we got back our wheels to continue with our journey tomorrow.

After all’s done, we stopped by the nearest town, Alicante and had a wonderful night at the portside cafes and ended with a short visit to the casino.

Joan Yap

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