Scams & Tricks to Watch Out For Some words of warning for visitors
Visitors to any destination can fall prey to unscrupulous operators and tricksters. Here is a list of the common traps to watch out for.
They say you only get what you pay for. Well, that's true as a general rule, but if you decide to eat from one of the many beach stalls you'll probably find that this is the exception to the rule. The prices will certainly be in the first-class category, but more often than not, the food is of very poor quality.
Driving through the Mountains
If you do decide to hire a car to drive along the coast, remember that these steep mountainous roads can be treacherous. They are full of hairpin bends and there are few protective barriers to spoil the view!
Fakes and Forgers
Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Joan Miro - these three Spanish Masters were extraordinarily prolific. Their forgers are even more so. Miro seems to be the most popular one to copy and there are hundreds and hundreds of 'genuine' Miros on Mallorca. There are few galleries today who would be lucky enough to have a genuine Miro up for sale, but if you want one of the fakes (and some of them are quite good!) make sure you negotiate a fair price.
You are strolling along minding your own business and a young girl offers you a carnation. A nice welcoming gesture you might think. But if you take the flower, you will have to reply with more than just a thank you - it could be the most expensive flower you'll ever buy, so be careful!
'Trile' is a card game that is played in the resorts, on the streets and at the markets. It's a simple guessing game and is played on an old barrel or upturned box. The players standing around the dealer, the trilero, always win. Everyone's in a good mood and, in a spirit of hospitality, the passing tourist is invited to try his luck. The stakes vary between 3 and 30 euros. Funnily enough, the tourist never seems to have Lady Luck on his side. This is no quaint custom that helps you get to know the locals - trile is just a scam run by card sharps.
Strangely enough, these mystery tours always seem to end up at some place where someone is trying to sell you something. The Organisers are experts in psychology and use the outward top to get your sympathy for the impoverished conditions some of the 'craftsmen' have to work and live in. You'll end up feeling almost morally bound to buy something if only to cover the organisers costs. Remember, if you do find yourself on one of these tours you are not obliged to buy anything. So just sit back and enjoy the views. You don't have to worry about being unscrupulous. The Organisers certainly don't. Watch out for the time-share sales sharks!
You will come across street sellers mainly from North and West Africa on the beaches promenades and beach-side bars with their trays laden with watches, sunglasses, jewellery, cassettes, African masks and trinkets galore. They have become an integral part of the tourist landscape and althougb it's illegal for them to trade the police usually turn a blind eye to their activities. They can be quite persistent but remember that all that glistens isn't necessarily gold. If you do decide to buy a 'Vuitton' bag or 'Rolex' watch don't be disappointed by the quality. Just enjoy the fun of bargaining for fake goods.
The first organised day trips on Mallorca were run by the 'Fomemto de Turismo', the Mallorcan Tourist Board, way back in 1905. The format (and the routes) haven't changed all that much since then. There are always plenty of commercial stops at souvenir shops, leather factories and distilleries, where the tourist is welcomed with open arms. If you do decide to take one of these trips then it's a good idea to find out exactly how much time you will spend shopping and how much sightseeing you'll actually get to do.
Avoid taking up free seats on a table that is already occupied. This applies to bars and street cafes as well as restaurants. Spaniards consider the question 'Is anyone sitting here?' to be the height of bad manners. Going into a restaurant and walking to a table without waiting to be shown to one is equally frowned upon. If you do, chances are you'll have to put up with poor service.