Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pickpockets, Part II

I must have a sign on my back that says, "Please pick my pocket." (alliteration included) First came the incident on the metro in Brussels (read about it here), then the all-new story I'm about to tell you.

It all started in Marseille, France, as we boarded the Talgo Mediterranean train en route (that's French for "en route") to Barcelona, Spain. Unlike the 250+km/h (150+MPH) TGV (Train à Grand Vitesse) that took us from Paris to Marseille in a little over 3 hours, this particular train trotted along the Mediterranean coast for almost 7 hours until we finally arrived in Barcelona, Spain. Oh yeah, and we had to change trains too.

Anyway, we finally arrived in Barcelona at around 10pm, Saturday night. After asking three different people where the nearest metro stop was (at least we speak the language), we finally found it. Pleased to find out that a 10-ride public transportation pass is only €6,65, we dished out the cash and bought one so we could get to our hostel for the night. I guess some guy was probably watching us take out the few coins we had, and followed me to the entrance gate of the metro (or whatever you call the place where you put the ticket in and walk through). Talyn was behind me and wondered why this man was following me so close, maybe even trying to get through the gate on my ticket. Well, I learned from my last pickpocketing experience (if you still haven't read about it, you can do so now before continuing...) that putting your wallet in your back pocket is just a bad idea, so I have since put it in my front pocket, which is deep enough and much easier to guard. I suppose that the modern pickpocket has also learned of this trick, because the first pocket he tried to loot was my front right pocket. Ha! All I had was a few cents, and that was way at the bottom of the pocket (even I have difficulty getting those coins out). I sensed a fiddling hand and before I could think, I grabbed the guy's index & middle fingers so tightly that I could've done some damage if I wanted to. He seemed surprised, and then nonchalantly told me, "Pasa" - that is to say, "Go on through the gate. I might have tried to ruin your life by taking valuables from an unsuspecting tourist such as yourself, but I have changed my mind now. Go on and take the metro without me." Talyn promptly tripped the unsuspecting fool, who fell flat on his face (ok, that only happened in our conversation afterwards) He then walked away as I glare at him, making sure he knew that I could have broken his fingers if I had the guts. Maybe I should have.

Well, that was that. I have managed to attract yet another pickpocket with my highly visible sign, and yet again, foiled his plans. Of course, I was nice enough to let him go, unharmed. The next guy might not be so lucky.