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A View from La Concha

A "Legal Eagle's" views on family life, the property market, the locals and expats, the beauty of the Costas and the diversity and warmth of a life lived under the Spanish sun.

Gibraltar - I like it but I just don't know why!
05 June 2008 @ 10:56


Gibraltar – I like it but I just don’t know why!

After a few days of Birthday celebration it was time to return my Mother to Gibraltar for her Easyjet flight home. A few days with an older relative tends to slow things down and Gib is the perfect end to a good visit.

Compared to the mayhem of Malaga Airport – where I was mid last week meeting a client from the UK – which can be likened to the bling that is Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Gibraltar is a genteel Country House Hotel. Like the rest of the Rock, it’s stuck in a rather British time warp with metaphoric plumped up feather pillows and a breakfast of farm fresh eggs and bacon! 

The unkind have likened Gib to Woking circa 1950 with vast expanses of Formica and the ever present whiff of tobacco. Indeed some of the clothes stores at the top of Main Street, stock the kind of garments that Grandfathers wore in the 1980’s – half suede leather and half wool relaxing jackets and bottom of the barrel colours of Lacoste T shirts.

In fact Gib’s airport building looks like a 1960’s Sainsbury’s with its domed roof and rather low ceiling. The “Duty Free” shop is spectacularly poor but if you ever need to buy a variety of English products by Barker and Dobson you’ll not find better.

My kids always send me to Gib with a short list of must have items from Morrison’s – and the diesel is cheap so worth a visit to fill up. Seedless grapes, fruit Winders and crumpets. 

Driving to and through Gib can be treacherous. The Spur – as it’s affectionately known – from La Linea (Spain) onto the Rock can be a place of some conflict. Although there is a roundabout at which you can turn left to join the queue to enter Gib, God forbid you try. Hysteria breaks out as I tried. I am forced by some very pushy drivers to join the back to the Spur filter some 500m further north.

Casemates Square, with its curious blend of timeless and rather posh glass goods, fast food restaurants and shops selling linen tea towels with images of Gib and “made in china” Monkeys bearing the familiar red and white emblem of Gib – which I suppose are intended to ape those at the top of the Rock.

Behind Casemates Square is a scruffy café and Pool Hall called “The Roxy”. I have noted before that there is an amazing blend of people in Gib but today sitting on the pavement outside the café are three people of indeterminate age. One is of Afro
-Caribbean origin, another is of Asian origin and a third is very definitely of old Gib origin. In the usual course of event this group would have been completely unremarkable but for the fact that they are all wearing new white baseball caps promoting the current Gib phenomena – online gaming!

Pulling up at the supermarket, Morrison’s have recently refurbished extensively. A quick trip through the store picking up my bits – including fresh chillies that you don’t seems to be able to buy in Spain - and it’s up to the Express till.

On the plastic screen that protects the cashier from any would be thief there is a red sticker. It warns that unless you are 25 and can prove it you cannot buy alcohol in the store. When quizzed about the effect of this the cashier knew little but though it may have originated in the UK. I am not sure that such a move could resist a challenge from the Civil Liberties folk, but in Gib you clearly get the impression that it’s pretty much a law unto itself. Given the apparent lack of antisocial behaviour, I wonder whether conscription may be considered next! 

© Mark FR Wilkins (Marbella) 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Like 0


Rob said:
05 June 2008 @ 23:53

Gib suffocates me. I only go to get some english food now and then but I just wonder how the hell anyone can live there. Sardines springs to mind.

Susan said:
06 June 2008 @ 13:06

I'm with you Mark, I like it but I just don't know why but it may have something to do with Marks and Spencer's fresh cookies! By the way Mercadona now stocks seedless grapes.

Andrea said:
06 June 2008 @ 19:18

Well as a Uk born resident of Gibraltar,(20 years in Gib).. I can only tell you that Gibraltar is like a drug, you just keep going back for more...I have left on many occasions but always return..maybe its the safe friendly community, the kids can play out side without fear of comming to any harm (unlike the UK) There is no gun/knife culture with the teenages, the locals have very strong family values, may be because of the strong presence of religion, there are numerous churches/synagogues and mosques and all are packed to the rafters during their services by all family members, not just the old folks....
I do love to get out of Gib and go to spain, some of my family live there, but I always feel relieved once I pass through the frontier gates and get back to Gib, its almost like a safe just feels right.
Things are changin, we now have a multi plex cineam, ice-skating rink and bowling alley, not to mention a whole new marina with many new bars and restaurants, so come on over, bring the the marmite ad goes you either love it or you hate it an I lOVE IT!

summer said:
07 June 2008 @ 02:04

I've only been to Gibraltar once and I wasn't particularly impressed, but it was when we were still living in the UK and were on holiday on the CDS and Gibraltar was one of the 'day trips'.
It was the only day of our holiday that it rained and Gibraltar in the rain was, I think, what led to my disaffection with the place.
On a warm, sunny day, I'm sure Gibraltar is nice.... perhaps we'll go there again some time, if only to visit M&S.

Mark@TRG said:
08 June 2008 @ 11:02

On re-reading my earlier blog - I don't think I made clear what I do like about Gib.

Well here are the first 10 reasons...

I like the sence of United Nations that exists everywhere on Gib with multi-lingual conversations going on the whole time.

I like the enterprise that has seen the redevelopment and reclamation of land from the sea at the Ocean Village development.

I like the curiously designed Pound notes.

I like the way the clouds spin around the peak of the Rock.

I like the Rolex shop and the variety of music and dvd stores on Main Street

I like the Aniseed Balls from Morrisons.

I like the old buildings - with beautiful interior plaster and wood work - that are being rennovated in areas like Irish Town

I like Beacon Press where I can get favourite Black n' Red notebooks.

I like the Rock Hotel and the splendid gardens at its feet.

I like the view of Gib from new road into La Linea from the A7.

Orda said:
08 July 2008 @ 14:17

I work in Gib and I hate the place. I think it is a place that you have to see once in your lifetime but after that put at the back of your memories. It is a nightmare to get across the border (and back),then you have to try and find a parking space without fighting someone for it, it stinks, the only parts that get cleaned are the parts the tourists travel along, it should be called doo-poo city judging by the amount that is deposited on the pavements, the seagulls poo on everything that the dogs have missed and then they keep you awake all night with their screaming. Don't let anyone kid you that their is no crime in Gib either as even the people will tell you that a lot of crime is hushed up as it would severely affect the tourist industry.

Audrey said:
27 August 2009 @ 10:00

I see that Orda hates Gib, but doesn't hate taking money off it, seeing as he/she works here!

Tatooed up white trash said:
10 March 2010 @ 16:08

Gibraltar sums up the UK pretty much, inbred red-haired whitetrash all dressed up for the chav olympics.
And then you have those scabby monkeys on top of the hill.
God damnit I hate that place, I hope Spain gets it back.

KIKI said:
15 April 2010 @ 17:16

I was born in Gibraltar and have gone back to visit my Aunts, Uncles many times. I now live in Canada and can tell you that I still have pride in in my birth place. Yes there are things about it that could be better but everytime I am there i feel happy and biting monkeys dirty side streets cant change that. So to all Gibralrarians I say hold your head high and turn the other cheek.

Gibberish said:
01 October 2010 @ 01:03

I can understand all viewpoints listed above and have felt them all at different times, both good and bad.

My experience of Gibraltar is the unbelieveable corruption that exists in Gibraltar, even in this age. It permeates every part of life. Every gaming company has to have a member of the Government or one of their lacky's on their Board of Directors so that they can control their activities. Then you've got Gibtelecom, the most arogant bunch of tossers I've ever had the misfortune to do business with, owned by the Government, which is illegal under EU rules. And to make it worse, the Telecommunications Minister, The (Dis)honourable Joe Holliday, is Chairman of Gibtelecom, and in charge of the regulator, The GRA. So if you want to complain about them/him, you can only speak to him or his minions!! You can't get anything more corrupt and bent than that!! They make the rules up as they go along so that there is no competition and they can keep lining their pockets with the extortionate prices they charge. The EU Commission needs to come down hard on these blatently corrupt practices.

Another bunch of mafioso crooks is the electric company, GibElec. They couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery and the staff orchestrate deliberate powercuts on bank holidays and sundays so that can get paid triple-time for a minimum call-out of 4 hours for a 5 minute job. These increase toward Christmas so they can maximise their pay packets!

As for the normal people of Gibraltar, they are mostly warm and welcoming, but there is no work ethic to speak of. They all want overpaid government jobs so they can work summer hours, which basically means 10am-2pm, and the whole focus of the working day is how fast they can get to the beach.

Compared to anywhere else in europe it is much safer and there is minimal crime.

Gibraltar is the best example of a truly multicultural society where all faiths live side by side in complete harmony. If this was replicated the world over, you'd cure the worlds problems in one stroke.

Mike said:
25 January 2011 @ 17:22

While I have never visited Gibraltar, I have read all the posts on here and am amused that the way the place is described very much fits the impression I got from reading - wait - the offical government marketing brochures.

What amused me most about this brochure (June 2010 edition) was that the back two pages were puzzle pages! Crosswords and Sudoku to complete in a piece of literature that is supposed to be the main promotional literature for trade and travel in Gibraltar!!!

While I found a lack of credibility in the 'Visit Gibraltar' booklet, a quick search on Google returns websites in the same tacky style. There also appears to be a major lack of any decent images of the place pretty much anywhere online.

Perhaps the UK government have purposely abandoned Gibraltar and discouraged its development as a 'nice place' brimming with trade? Maybe it's all a game by the UK Government back in London, commandeered by Thatcher, then Blair, and now the likes of David "Call me Dave" Cameron and Nick "Alarm Clock Britain" Clegg, to discourage fed up Brits of fleeing in their thousands to the airport clasping a one-way ticket to Gibraltar, to escape Blighty.

I may well visit next month for a few days and will report back back then if i do.

Sue said:
30 June 2011 @ 09:54

We dont particularly enjoy having chavy english folk whose highlight of the day is buying alchol and cigs around either, so why don't you all just stay in La Linea instead or back home in glorious britain lol.

I live in gibraltar said:
14 January 2012 @ 04:58

I am a resident of Gib. Its a very close community. Everyone knows each other, creating a very safe and comforting environment. Altho the area can be dull at times it is good fun. Summer season everyone it out and about. We drive into spain on a weekly basis to get a culture shock.
THE BIRDS ARE ALL TANNED AND FIT. The monkeys are cool. We love monte and el 50p. We have amazing hashisha.

gib forever.
llanito para siempre !x

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