On my arrival to Paris, I was skeptical towards many people I encountered and constantly watching my back. My skepticism quickly faded because of the all kind people I've interacted with. Many have shown me simple little acts of kindness like an 80 year old woman sharing her french fries with me, a young man buying me coffee or just a kind random conversation with a older couple. For a newly arrived and at times lonely American, these simple acts can brighten your day! Though it's nice to relax a little, one must stay vigilant.
Last week, Pierre pointed out a group of pickpockets on the metro. As the train doors were closing a girl slid in right next to us. She was probably 5 ft. tall with dark hair and dark features, Romanian I think. Before knowing she was a pick-pocketer, I had observed there was something off about her. Her face looked young but her hands looked older. Once our train stopped at the next stop the girl-woman ran out the door and joined a group of 10 girl-women running to the next door in the same train car. All of the French people standing in the car recognized them immediately as pickpockets and backed away from them. They target mainly tourists and people with backpacks. Usually one will distract you by asking you for directions while another one steals from you. They're so good that you never even feel it happening. I've made sure to keep my valuables safely zipped up in my purse. The station usually announces pickpocket activity when there's a presence in the station.
Oh & I've officially had my first little Paris learning experience/altercation the other day.
I was in the metro walking through the turnstile which would allow me to go into to the train when I heard someone say something behind me (I assumed it was someone having a conversation). I put my ticket into the turnstile and as I pushed the bar to walk through I felt someone push up against my back with great force. When the turnstile senses two people are trying to go through together on one ticket it locks, so I got stuck against the bar. I tried to step back but the man behind me aggressively pushed me forward again into the locked turnstile bar. I started to freak out because hello who wants some strange man pushing all up on them with all their weight, trapping them in a turnstile in the metro of a foreign country? Plus as we well know, the metro is notorious for pickpocketers and this man was all up on my purse. I elbowed him so I could turn around and face him. I told him to "get back" (I couldn't find my French words at the time, naturally I was flustered). This man looked SKETCH. I noticed he was carrying about 10 new shirts with tags & on hangers. He wore a desperate look on his face. I'm pretty sure he had just stolen them and was on the run. Again he came forward and pushed me against the bar. Ouch. I shoved the man backwards and screamed "NO, GET BACK" at him. I pushed him hard enough to where I was no longer trapped in the turnstile. He then ran through the turnstile using MY ticket -___-
well played sir, well played.
Oh wells, I’d rather lose a ticket than have a stranger all up on me. I have since learned this is common thing that happens here with ladies. I guess guys choose us because they insist on using their big strong man force against us. So now I watch my back when walking through the metro turnstile.