Learning curve: Are there still trileros in Benidorm?

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I’ve not been back for years and since I’ve not read about them in the Alicante media the authorities must have won their ongoing battle with them.

I’m referring to the groups that I first saw 40 years ago, playing the Spanish version of the three-card trick with hollowed-out potatoes.

They operated on the Paseo and the Avenida del Mediterraneo, playing amongst themselves to persuade passers-by that winning was like taking candy from a baby although once someone put their money down it was literally a fair bet that they’d lose.

Without wanting to tangle with Spain’s discrimination laws, there’s no denying that the trileros were invariably gypsies.  In the early Benidorm days they included some good-looking young men with long curly Cameron de la Isla perms but there was little glamour attached to them and they were neither lovable rogues nor engaging villains.

Nevertheless, I once witnessed an edifying episode that had nothing to do with their trade as I waited for a bus in the Plaza Triangular and watched a young but veteran trilero repeatedly pushing a much smaller version of himself onto a school bus.

The child screamed, the young man shouted and deposited the wailing boy aboard, upon which the child wailed more loudly and hurtled back down again.

The father – older brother? – tried to put the squirming, shrieking bundle back on the bus but by now the driver was losing his patience and the trilero was one step away from meltdown.

He was used to an audience, but not one like this and swore as the child leapt to the pavement once more before he brusquely scooped him up and strode off.

It was admirable that despite the child’s lack of co-operation should be an attempt to give him an education.  But was that in the interests of integration  or was it meant to help the boy to grow up to be a better trilero?

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.