Cautionary Advice for Senior TravelDec 29th, 2009 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel
In this blog I want to share with you a personal experience that I read recently about in a travel magazine. The article contained a list of warnings that might occur in various spots around the globe. In this case they were warning tourists about an incident Paris. This one happened to me.
While walking into the Place de la Concorde from the Champs Elysée a young man about 16 came up to me and asked “Did you drop this ring?” (in English) It was a very nice gold wedding band. I said “No but thank you” (in French). He said “You can have it but I need some to money to eat.” I gave him two euros. He said “No… more” and tapped his palm. and I gave him another euro. “More” he said again. I responded that I had no more change. When I got home I had it checked out by a man who buys gold. He first said it is worth about $180 but after his 15% commission some less. Good deal for me huh? He then tested it. It was COPPER with a thin layer of gold, and worthless. It was even marked inside: 18 carat. It was a scam. I was out about $5 for the experience. I had been had but learned a little lesson that I share with you now. No more rings. The magazine article suggested that one just say “NO.” Good advice.
In another recent article I read that pickpockets are now feeling some remorse and are actually putting money in pockets of strangers. So if you find an extra euro, yuan, peso or two in your pocket, now you will know how it got there, but don’t count on it.
The same article warns tourists in Rome of gypsy kids who are very good at what they do best. In July 2000, the ex-Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson was relieved of his wallet and the $4000 cash it contained by a small group of gypsy girls who accosted him on the famous Via Veneto in Rome. He gave chase but they outran him! I experienced the same in Paris in front of the Louvre and its famous Pyramid. While Japanese tourists were getting off their tourist bus about a dozen gypsy kids ranging in age from 8 to 15 swarmed them and grabbed cameras, bags, purses…anything. These tourists were so shocked that they had no idea what was happening. The Paris police later rounded up the entire gang and their adult accomplices. They then moved to Rome, so be very careful in Rome. This website with additional information and helpful hints suggests how to avoid or foil gypsies that are called The King Of Thieves.