While our coach rolled through the center of Paris our tour guide offered us a few insights of what scams he himself or others on previous tours experienced in Paris and other major cities.
- Theft: Warnings about protecting our passports and cash so far as to pin them under our clothes. If it’s easy to grab, it’ll be grabbed.
- Make-shift Bracelets: Men walking around swinging strings which they quickly attach to your arm and while you are struggling to remove yourself from their grip, they have already created a bracelet which they will then charge you for.
- The Golden Ring: A person will point out to you that you dropped your gold ring on the ground. You will deny it is yours and the person will encourage you to take it anyway as a lucky find. They will hand it to you and explain it’s purity and monetary value. They will tell you they are giving it to you rather than keeping it themselves, but then tell you to give them 50 pounds for giving you such a valuable piece of jewelry.
- “Free” Roses: Men will give women roses for free as they walk down the street and then badger the men accompanying the women for payment after the woman has accepted the rose.
- Deaf Children Petition: A group of small children will feign deafness and pretend to sign to each other while asking tourists to sign their petition. While your kind heart is doing so the little fakers will be picking your pockets and robbing you blind.
But don’t be discouraged… the best ways to combat the scammer is to keep your hands in your pockets, don’t ever accept anything for free, and, in general, keep to your own business. Stick with your group and when you see someone approaching, don’t make eye contact. Ignore the vendors trying to hock their junk toys and cheap souvenirs. Be aware and walk confidently.
We had our chance to test this out almost immediately as we stopped for a photo op with the Eiffel Tower. We were hardly off our coach when the first vendors approached us. Just power through, don’t stop, don’t engage.
It doesn’t feel natural to me to be so distant from people, but I honestly have zero patience for such a practice. I understand these people are just trying to make a living for themselves and their family, but the ethics and extortion of it all frustrates me to no end. It’s a bane of any traveler and it certainly hinders one’s opportunity to properly appreciate the foreign land they are in and it’s culture. This adventure will surely test my faith in humanity, but I will forever strive to focus on the light rather than the dark – never allowing the actions of a few to deter me from exploring the world.
|Eiffel Tower selfie-fail! LOL!|