FOR SEQUELhe Alfa Romeo - Part One

This is the first installment of the amazing tale about the fabulously fantastic Alfa Romeo with an identity crisis.

It's 1981/2 and we're living in Miami Playa, Tarragona. Technically speaking, I am a tourist. This means that I have to leave the country every three months to get my British passport stamped. No big deal. Always up for a quick getaway to Andorra or Perpignan!

I check with the Aduana , Customs, in Tarragona about the procedure for bringing a foreign car into Spain. "You'll  have to take the car out of Spain every six months", declares the big boss at the Aduana.  Ningun problema, not a problem, not at all. Wasn't I already having to go over the border every three months?

Off we go to Heidelberg, Germany to purchase a car. You may think it's a BMW, or a Mercedes that we bought. Nope. It's an Alfa Romeo. This poor car has an awful identity crisis. It was manufactured in Brazil and was to have been shipped to Poland. Don't ask me how and why it ended up in Germany!

Months go by, and I'm happily driving the Alfa Romeo up and down the main coastal road between Miami Playa and Tarragona taking my son to the Anglo American School. By then, we have progressed from the German export plates to Florida ones. By then I've already been over the border fulfilling my obligations of getting my passport stamped as well as taking the car out of Spain.  All is well, at least that's we believe. (Below, is an image of the motor vehicle statement registered in Florida.)

One day, driving back from Tarragona, I spy a Guardia Civil jeep behind me. Oh no! They can't really be after me? Can they?  No, of course not. If they were, they would have flagged me down. I continue on my way and turn off the coastal road to enter the town of Cambrils. Guess what? The  Guardia Civil jeep turns off too. It follows me all the way to the centre of the town and parks close to me. Now what? What the heck do they want?

Hmm. Right there and then, in front of the whole of Cambrils Centre the Guardia Civil denounce me. They weren't just any Guardia Civil,  for the one who does the denouncing is the big jefe, the big chief. It's all because of the foreign car, the Alfa Romeo, with the foreign plates. I explain to them that I spoke to the Aduana in Tarragona and was told that there was no problem bringing the car into Spain as long as I take the car out of the country every six months.

That falls on deaf ears. The two Guardia Civil men strut about, their chests puffed up  like cockerels about to get into a fight. They announce that I can no longer drive the car. Yikes!  But, I have to pick up my son from school and take him home, don'' I?  "Vale, okay, senora. Pick up your son, take him home. We'll come by tomorrow to fill out the paperwork."  They know where I live?!  They don't even ask for my address. They certainly do know where I live.

Relieved that I can still drive the car to the school and back home, my knees are nevertheless shaking. I have never been denounced before. This is what it feels like to be a criminal?!

The next day, the big jefe and his sidekick turn up at the house.   TO BE CONTINUED

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