When we moved here, we had lots of warnings from friends, travel books, co-workers that the tourist areas are rife with pickpockets. I had been told not to worry ...that the aim is to steal your money, never to physically harm the person who gets robbed. Spain has the highest unemployment in Europe and people are desperate. Recently, I had been newly warned to not only use a purse with a long cross body strap, but also to wear it under my coat (what about summer?).
Yesterday as I was leaving my house, I noticed that my next door neighbor’s girlfriend had left her purse on the ground in front of the door. And wide open with the wallet right on top. I guess, needing two hands to operate the lock, and in a rush to get inside (think...get to the toilet!), she forgot she put it down. We live in a nice neighborhood, but I was very worried for her that even a few minutes outside might not be safe. I rang the bell, I knocked, I rang the bell again. Nothing. So I took it inside and called my neighbor at work. Oh, no way it’s hers, more like someone just got theirs ripped off. You see, here in Spain, we have a custom that after the money has been taken, the purse is abandoned somewhere very visible, where it will be safely found so that all the personal items can be returned to the owner!
By Maia Pay Ozguc
Barcelona Impressions. Be curious. Be present. Be Barcelona!