Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spain Trip: Something Memorable

Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

I mentioned it before that, although it takes a lot of time and effort, I really enjoy writing about my trips! It helps me to reflect and remember the little details. And boy, do I remember this particular detail that I am about to share.

According to Rick Steves: You are most likely to get pick-pocketed in Barcelona, especially on Rambla, than anywhere else in Europe.

I am sure you know where I am going with this.

I was almost pick-pocketed. In Barcelona, on Rambla.

The incident happened on day 4, my mom and I had just made the 3-hour journey from Madrid to Barcelona. As usual, instead of hailing for a cab, we hopped on the metro from the train station and found our way to Liceu Metro Station (one of the 3 stops along Rambla). The thing about any metro station in Barcelona is that - although there are signs everywhere - it's a maze. You have to walk a long way and up many flights of steps just to get outside.

I had on me my backpack (see picture here) and a carry-on size luggage. Not heavy or unwieldy by any means, but enough for me to struggle a little when going up the steps.

So there we were, two tourists trying to find our way out of the metro station. I led the way, my mom lagged behind me.

We finally reached the last set of steps. Once we get to the top, we would be outside, on Rambla.

Grabbing my luggage with both hands, I walked up the steps carefully, with my eyes looking down, making sure I don't trip.

Out of nowhere, I heard the sound of zippers opening behind me.

I turned around just in time to see 4 young people (teenager maybe?) walking past me, avoiding eye contact. Then it dawned on me what just happened. Holy $&%#!

I saw my mom steps behind me and yelled for her. "Are my pockets open?!" I felt myself getting flustered when she confirmed yes.

We quickly got outside, and I did a thorough check to see if anything was stolen.

Nothing.

Whew! Thank goodness I didn't put any valuables in the front two pockets. I was surprised that they didn't take the pouch (that carried a lip gloss and mirror) that was in the front pocket since they had no way of knowing that it wasn't money inside.

Anyway, panicked we were, but at least no harm done.

Later as my mom and I retraced what happened - we concluded that those four people cut in between the gap between me and my mom to block my mom's view of me. They knew that I wasn't paying attention, trying to walk up the steps while carrying luggage. I was the perfect target. In fact, they probably followed us the entire time while we tried finding the way out.

Although nothing got stolen, I was burning with fire for the rest of the day! It irked me SO MUCH that I had a hard time falling asleep that night. We heard about pick-pocketing from friends and family, but always shrugged it off. It will never happen to us, we said. Little did we know.

As for the remainder of the trip, I was on my toes. I avoided putting anything (even the non-valuables) in my front pockets.

Instead, I wrote this note for fun:

No other attempts were made, though.

So this is it! My most memorable moment and the end of my recaps!

Muchas gracias
for following my travel stories and your nice words about my photos*! I really really appreciate it!

Espana, hasta luego...

* All photos were taken with my trusty Canon point-and-shoot and enhanced using Photoshop.

8 comments:

  1. Yikes that was a close call!!

    Now onto your next trip so we can hear all about that one :)

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  2. Ugh, thats horrible. Teenagers misbehave everywhere but they should know better than to steal. Once word gets out (like on Rick Steves) people will stop going there - and they will be a little less well off... one fewer person at a time.

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  3. oh my gosh - i got so mad from reading this post. i know how you feel about being so bothered by the incident that you wouldn't be able to sleep at night. ugh. i'm glad that you weren't pickpocketed, though.

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  4. good thing that you were both alright and nothing got stolen!! btw that was a cute note you had in your backpack. :) again, good pictures and traveling posts.

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  5. Yes, that was a bad day. After almost getting robbed, we felt uneasy staying in a new place. On top of that, it was rainy, dark, and our room was on the first floor. I thought there were ghosts.

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  6. I'm glad you're okay and that nothing was taken. I would have been upset too.

    I love your note!!

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  7. Sorry to hear about your near pickpocketing! I always stuff my wallet and passport down my front pocket when I travel someplace where I know I may be a target. But it's hard always protecting everything you carry. I'm glad you and your mom didn't have anything stolen! The only time I've been pickpocketed was by a taxi driver in Istanbul. He did it right under my nose and it was so brazen that I didn't fully realize what he'd done until he'd driven off, by which time it was too late. That sucks, too, that your day ended in a lousy hotel you thought was haunted!

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  8. @ Intense Guy: It's interesting you said that because my mom said the same thing, but yet, we still went anyway.

    @ Sapuche: The pick-pocketers are pro at what they do. They know exactly who and when to target. Ugh, that sucks about the taxi driver. You would think he would at least be honest since you were giving him business!

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