Thursday, 29th October 2020

This Month's Magazine
Letter to the editor.

Letter to the editor.

The following letter (abbreviated) was received by a reader who took exception at our last Prickly Pair article. I feel everybody has a right to voice his opinion therefore we publish it.

Dear Editor,

I speak French but I am Belgian. I know your ‘Prickly Pair’ article is meant to be amusing but I found it a bit arrogant. 

After 8 years as an engineer in the merchant navy and having and enjoyed and blown away all my money at the age of 29, I decided to come to the Costa with my girlfriend and start a business and a family. This was in 1979, four years after Franco’s death. 

What you say about writers, starting a business here is not simple and easy and I am definitely not an old fart. In those days it was tough dealing with officials, getting denuncias with the police at the work shop every other day. It was just a small workshop 28mfor 100,000 Pts. in Estepona port where there were still 6 different types of police: Green Guardia Civil, Blue Control de Aduana,  brown Policia National, black Policia Municipal, White Comandancia de la Marina and the Malaga Vigilancia de Aduana Flying brigade where one could get a payment for making denuncias. 

Talking about uninteresting anecdotes, I am very sorry to say but I would never like to re-live again or wish onto anybody my first 6 years in Spain. Imagine, I arrived here with my girlfriend’s R5 and my BMW motorbike on a trailer and we got called "los capitalistas". What we lived then was not an "uninteresting little anecdote” but a cruel reality. 



With regards to the 8th paragraph, I don't think my life is more interesting, Spain was indeed a third world backwater: I got picked up for no reason, customs took whatever they could that  did not seem to have legal paperwork, my bike was confiscated, 60% of my time was spent running after paperwork . They even wanted to put me on a plane back to Belgium, luckily then I had 2 children born here.

I have may be 50 of these little stories and the b******s in the article upset me. 

Obviously the author did not start a business or lived on the Costa in those days. Maybe he was one of those mentioned in para. 7, taking care of his villa, with an open car roof and English plates telling everyone how successful he had been at home or indeed  as president of an urbanisation that they love so much to be. I have met so many such people coming to the Coast thinking they made it, but I have seen them go back even quicker. Life was not that rosy after all. 

Yes I am still here, I survived it, and I can show my face everywhere with n-one pointing a finger at me. I am very proud of it and I "do" speak French .

Best regards.

(name provided but not published)

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