Vigilant Tourist Stops a Pickpocket in Madrid

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Vigilant Tourist Stops a Pickpocket in Madrid

Postby KOVAKS on Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:15 pm

Contributed by Jac Burgess:

Like many others I found your web site really interesting, and going to Barcelona with my boyfriend in a few weeks I would think very useful too.

I have also had a few encounters like those on your web page. Down in Seville I was surrounded by gypsy women wanting to give me sprigs of heather. When I said I didn't want it they kept saying it was free. They kept pestering me and in the end I took a sprig just to see if they would actually charge me. She didn't - but she did insist on then reading my palm which would cost me. I told her that I didn't believe in palm reading, smiled sweetly and sat down to place an order at a little cafe. She started shouting at me though and demanding I return her heather. I did of course give it too her, just before the waiter threw her out. Luckily I never got my wallet out or it may have been gone...

Another time I was in Madrid by myself and I was getting the metro from the airport into the city. 3 men got into the metro, but they looked really suspicious because they had got on with no luggage etc, and as they got on the 3rd guy said nothing more to them and just walked to the far end of the carriage where he stood on his own. I watched their hands intently and saw them, quite obviously, reaching for the wallet of some unsuspecting business man. I shouted at the thief to scare him off and to alert the man, who looked really surprised by it all. The two men, however came marching up to me and stood ever more close to me to the point I was squashed up against the wall, and they just stared angrily at me. I'm disappointed to say no-one offered me a hand, not even the guy whose wallet I saved (shouldn't have bothered maybe!!) - you'd think they'd come to the rescue of a 21 female!. I was in a corner with no where to go, so decided to just stand up straight and stare back angrily.

The problem is that the same sort of thing happens in all the large cities around the world. I think it would make their lives a lot easier if people stopped making themselves such easy targets! The point about learning a bit of Spanish defo helps - I speak it fluently and as soon as you talk back to them they soon leave to find someone more vulnerable. On the subject of not carrying around too much money - may I suggest that if, like me, you want to carry a reasonable amount around (meals, drinks and the odd bikini soon mount up!) wear a money belt under your clothes with the majority in and then just put a little in your wallet. That way if you do get scammed you won't lose as much and you have the money you need tucked away safely (just go to the loo or something to get more they know where it is you might as well just hand it to them!). Wish us luck in BCN!! Will be looking out for the American woman...
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