#$%^%! That’s how I spell it! Oh well, I guess it was bound to happen. I got a parking ticket in Spain (parking violation!). This happened because I didn’t remember that you need to pay when parking in blue.
Here’s how it all started. I decided to make a quick trip to the Municipal Market and buy some pomegranates. Parking can be a bit of a pain around the market since it’s such a popular place in the morning. I lucked out as there was a car leaving, and I patted myself on the back for my good fortune of finding a great spot. It was blue, and I thought I was good to park there. What I should have done was read the sign. Even then it is confusing trying to figure out the meanings of the different paint colors on the road.
I made my pomegranate purchase and went back to the car. While driving, some movement caught my eye. There it was. A Spanish ticket fluttering in the wind, mocking me. The parking tickets here aren’t bright, nor are they particularly large, so that’s why I didn’t see it. I had to stew about the ticket the whole ride home too! The good news is that the ride home was about 3 minutes. (Wait, the bad news is coming…)
I get home, take the ticket off the windshield, and start reading it to understand the infraction, and all that stuff, and I get to the bottom…Wait for it…
Now if I was being recorded, and the video were to be played back on TV, there would be a lot of bleeping going on. 60 Euros!! That’s a serious fine! And if you don’t pay it, they can impound your car. Ouch! My next thought was how in the world I would explain this to Heidi? These pomegranates were working out to about 20 Euros each. She was downstairs, so I had some time to think about how I was going to break the news. When she came up and saw the ticket, she took it pretty well. I figured I was going to get the old frying pan upside my head, but she was calm and collected.
After some further reading/research, on the very bottom of the ticket was verbiage about the real cost of the ticket. If you pay the fine within an hour, it’s only €3.40, and after that it’s €6.70. Whew! That’s much better than 60! They do that Shock-and-Awe thing so you see the €60 first, and you think, “Well that pretty much blows my budget for the week”. Then you see the fine print, and think, “I’ll pay that right away!”.
Parking Ticket in Spain – Resolution
I had missed the one hour cut-off (no biggee), so the next day, Heidi and I decided to figure out how to pay the fine. The closest parking meter to us is on the beach, but they’re shut down for the winter, so we decided to return to the scene of the “crime”, and find a parking meter that worked. We found one, and I was trying to figure out what to do, but we didn’t have enough coins. Heidi trekked off to exchange some paper for metal, but none of the stores would help her out, so once again, we hopped in the car in search of another meter.
We found another one that was next to our insurance company, and Heidi needed to talk to them, so we decided to get some change from a nearby cafe. Heidi came back with the coins. Hooray! I had figured out that in order to pay the fine, you press the BLUE button twice, put the coins in, and then press the GREEN button once. Slight problem. The machine was not taking one of the coins, so I couldn’t complete the transaction. Heidi went back to the cafe, and exchanged the previously exchanged coin, and I was back in business.
Since there is a numeric keypad on the parking meter, I figured that once you put the money in the machine, you would need to enter the ticket number, and then all would be well with the universe. Unfortunately, homeostasis was not yet achieved. Instead, the machine spit out a receipt for €6.70. OK. Thank you, but that doesn’t really help me.
After reading, and trying to figure out the wording on the meter, and discussing my options with several other people trying to purchase a parking slip, I was fairly certain what I needed to do. At the very bottom of the parking meter, there is a slot with an envelope icon on it. The idea being that you put your ticket, and the paid fine in an envelope, and hope to hell that the Meter Person who handles the paperwork is (1) competent; and (2) having a good day, so they handle it correctly.
The next order of business was getting an envelope. Heidi had been inside the insurance office for about 10 minutes, and when she came out, we huddled up, and I explained my understanding of the process, but that we needed to procure an envelope. She suggested that I talk to the insurance lady she had just been dealing with, and ask her for an envelope. Ugh! So in I go, and luckily, the lady was very nice, she stapled the two pieces of paper, and walked out with me explaining that an envelope was not necessary, but that it was a good idea to take the tiny receipt off of the paid fine. This receipt is about the size of a fortune in a fortune cookie. Good luck not losing that!
With that, paying for the fine is done. We hope that it’s taken care of properly by the city. If not, there will be a post about (a) the police arresting me; (2) our car getting impounded. Cross your fingers.
Now that the whole thing is over, I kind of want to get another ticket, just so that I can go through the correct resolution steps in a much more expedient fashion…
If you aren’t able to pay right away or within a day, you can go to the department of traffic on the second floor of the bus station to pay your parking fine.