Friday, June 5, 2009

Cheap Beer on the Beach ? Maybe not this year!

Today's press had a story about Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu's plan to tackle the problems associated with the beaches in Barcelona during the summer. No, I'm not talking about the plagues of Jellyfish that hit the Mediterranean coast last year, or the appearance of Bicing bikes floating among the rubbish. No, it's tackling the ambulant refreshment sellers who comb the beach in the baking heat offering cold beverages to the city's population and tourists while they sunbathe.

Barcelona Sights - Barceloneta Chiringuito
According to the article, Assumpta Escarp - a council spokesperson for the public roadways (and presumably beaches) - highlighted the fact that there have been 824 police reports "in the last few days" against these street-sellers with 11,000 objects confiscated - of those 4000 cans. I wonder just who would have reported these guys to the police? Would it perhaps be the over-priced chiringuitos on Barceloneta beach ? Or the ice cream kiosks dotted along the Olympic Village beaches? The article does seem to generalise the Police reports as the whole city, so it could also be the pakistani beer sellers up and down las ramblas making up a hefty share of the reports as well.

Hereu apparently decided to walk down Barceloneta beach flagged by a Mosso and a Guardia Urbana in an attempt to show unity between the two police forces, and also to announce the deployment of 300 new Guardia Urbana for the summer clean up plan - including adding over 200 mobile urinals for the Midsummer Madness that is Sant Joan.

I'm afraid I have little sympathy for the people complaining about these things. As I've explained before, I applaud those immigrants (illegal or not) who are trying to make a living providing a service that every normal person can benefit from. I don't agree with those selling drugs (or burned liquorice and paracetamol), but those who turn to crime to fund their ways need to be tackled before those offering a cold drink on the beach in my eyes.

What do you think? Do you think it's a good move by the Mayor's office to try and eradicate these street vendors? I'd love to hear your comments guys, as always.

Coming to Barcelona for the summer? Try apartments for rent in Barcelona for a great alternative to a hotel or hostel.


Anonymous said...

I did a google search for illegal beer sellers in Bcn and came across your blog. I cannot believe that you think they are providing a necessary service, amazing! I´m from London but my father is Spanish and have been visiting Bcn for all my life. 7 years back me and my partner (an artist) decided to up sticks and move here, we moved to the Raval (the upper part near Universidad) which in those days was nice and an upcoming trendy area, as city people we liked the fact we were in the heart of it all. However, things have gradually deteriorated especially in the last 2 years and the area and pretty much all the city centre is full of crime, the lowest quality illegal immigrants and prostitutes peddling their wears with impunity. These are not innocent and poor people forced to sell on the streets, the vast majority are part of organised bands which operate all kinds of illegal mafiosa activity. The Pakistani beer sellers (funny how they are muslims but think it´s okay to sell alcohol to infidels?) are not lone traders nor are they nice peaceful citizens trying to earn a crust. They live in over filled flats causing noise and pollution to their neighbours amongst other things. We are sick of them, we try to go out for a nice night out and are constantly approached by them. We´ve seen them taking out their stash from the sewers where they keep their stock amongst all the filth and rats, these tins are not cleaned before offered to the stupid morons who buy them. Bars are open until at least 3am daily and alcohol is readily available for all, there is no need to offer it in the street, if people want to drink they should go to a bar to drink or buy cheaply at a supermarket and drink at home. Our street is now full of drunks, locals and tourists alike who stand around drinking their cans till 5 or 6am at least 3 nights a week, we cannot sleep due to the noise and could happily kill them. This was not the case when we first moved here. My partner was so angry at being approached by the pakis on the Ramblas that he told them to ****off. This so called "innocent poor immigrant" then proceeded to aggressively throw the can at his head causing a lot of bleeding. We quickly went to the police station on the other side of the Ramblas, literally opposite where the incident happened. The police were just standing their looking onto the sewer and debauchery that is the Ramblas, doing nothing except puffing on their cigarettes! The policeman told us that my partner should have a tetanus due to the cans being stored in the sewers and being covered in rat droppings! He said there´s nothing they can do about it, I was so angry. I bet if I decided to go on the street as a white european selling illegal products I´d be stopped and fined very quickly. These Pakistani beersellers are connected to all the fruit and veg shops owned by their fellow countrymen (there´s about 10 in my street alone), we´ve seen them going in to get their stock, this disgusts me as these immigrant shop keepers are given special rights as "poor immigrants" and don´t have to pay any taxes for 5 years, no European or indigenous person is given these benefits and on top of this they flout the law and litter the streets with their cans. As I said, I´m a Londoner, I´ve never ever seen this activity going on there and alcohol is much more expensive so you´d think there would be a market for it, fact is we would not tolerate it and the Spanish do, although the worm my finally be turning and some action may at last be taken. I would round them all up and throw them back to where they came from, if they´re illegal they shouldn´t be here anyway and if they have papers they should be put in jail. It may seem an incidious activity they are involved in but it is the tip of the iceburg and a lot more damage is being caused than types like you can ever realise.

Unknown said...

Hi Anonymous, and thanks for the comment. I've just re-read my original post, and I think it may have come across a little confusing. I was only referring to the ones who sell drinks on the beach. I do NOT agree with those who sell alcohol on the streets (I did mention that). I live in the Raval, too, and witness the exact same situations as you. I'm also sorry to hear about your boyfriend's incident on Las Ramblas, and am (unfortunately) not at all surprised at the police's comments/actions.

I think I was careful to not use the words "innocent poor immigrant" as you mention on a few occasions, and as I say, I'm opposed to those people which you mention extensively in your comment - my post was about the beach, during the day. In fact, I have been preparing a post for some time, about the nocturnal activities and it's consequences - and have been chased for taking photos with my phone of the guys collecting their cans from the rubbish chutes, etc.

I think your last sentence in particular makes a huge assumption that I don't understand the implications of the current problems. You say "a lot more damage is being caused than types like you can ever realise". Well, I fully understand how the system works, the taxes that the immigrants save and I also know for a fact that one mini supermarket near me sells drugs. I've been here for almost 10 years so have seen exactly what you have in your 7 years here, too - if not more.

What annoys me more are the robberies, muggings, thefts in cars, pickpocketing, etc. etc. which never seems to cease. You will also know that this kind of thing doesn't go on to such a high extent in the UK, again, as we wouldn't tolerate it. It annoys me when the Mayor's office releases stats and figures stating that crime figures have dropped 13%, etc. when it's simply because the tourists don't report their crimes anymore due to the complicated nature of filing a police report. There used to be a 902 number where you could report it over the phone and then collect your report at the nearest station - much much easier that waiting for hours for some chain-smoking policeman to grunt and not understand. The telephone was discontinued for the Barcelona metropolitan area around 3 years ago. Just one of the factors influencing the "drop in crime figures" boasted by the tourist board and Town Hall.

Follow Me on Twitter