July 4, 2012

A German car with French number plates in Spain

On our expat travels across the globe we stopped in Spain for 3 years where we lived on the northern outskirts of Madrid. The whole family fell in love with the country, the city, the people, the food, the rhythm, the climate and the football. We therefore religiously return every summer to soak up the sun and hang out with friends around the pool. Though life, eh?

Driving from Paris to Madrid is quite a hike (at least for us Europeans) but well worth it. Unfortunately, I do need to drive around the city with French number plates. Swiss Ticino number plates were soooo much cooler. It seems I am not the only one who thinks so.

Last night while sipping my margarita de jamaica with my Mexican and Argentinean friends, some idiot decided to break into the cars parked outside the restaurant. My side window was smashed but luckily nothing was stolen. Within 10 minutes three policemen showed up to take note of the incident.

Being terribly Swiss I fetched a dustpan and brush from the restaurant to scoop up the broken glass. The charming Spanish policeman took over, put on some gloves and cleaned the mess up for me. Clearly he was trying to save Spain's image having detected my foreign accent. All I can say is thank Goodness I speak Spanish. I also picked up quite a few new technical expressions last night at midnight!

What can I say? A German car with French number plates driving in Spain - a country suffering from economic hardship - might be asking for trouble. Not only are Spain's long lunches threatened - as many now wonder if struggling Spain can continue to afford a tradition that borders on sacred - maybe so are foreign cars.

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