Saturday, August 13, 2016

Barcelona! You stole my heart... and my wallet too!

As the saying goes “Barcelona is a bachelor’s heaven”, I am very much excited on this 5-day trip with many suggestions from friends who already visited this place. On the first day of my trip, I walked through the beautiful neighborhoods of Barcelona and also visited Barceloneta beach. A serene walk through the beautiful palm trees beside the sea is worth an experience.

        An old man in his fifties came up to me with a visiting card and inquired for an address. I had a good laugh in my heart as this is my first day in Barcelona and someone chose me to guide him. Even though my hands are full with a back sack and a bag, I showed him the way with google maps in my mobile. I expected him to show gratitude in his eyes but he showed all his 32 teeth with a big smile. He asked me whether I am interested in salsa dance at that pub for which he inquired the address. In this process, he lifted his legs and rubbed some dirt on my trousers. Witnessing his spurious behavior, I denied his request and moved towards Barceloneta beach. I walked alone in the beach and enjoyed the sound of waves in the middle of bustling city. After an hour, I was shell-shocked to sense my empty pockets. After checking my back sack thoroughly, I confirmed that I lost my beautiful ‘Hi-Design’ wallet. My wallet contains my EU residence permit, health insurance, driving license, debit and credit cards from Germany and India, and some cash. While I bent to clean my trousers, that old man stole my wallet. Huh! He chose me to cheat and not to guide him. My first reaction was that I looked at the sky and closed my eyes tightly with a big laugh.

        For the first time in my life, I was stranded in the streets of an unknown city in a foreign land with no money in hand. Only one question ran through my mind repeatedly. “What are my strengths that can get me out of this situation?” At once, I briskly walked for four kilometers to reach ‘St Christopher Inn’ hostel. I looked for a German in the hostel who can speak to customer care officials to block my cards. The hostel management reacted quickly and identified two beautiful German girls who were playing ‘Blind Date’ in the hostel. I greeted them in German language and explained my situation to them in English. After knowing my situation, they walked out of that game and extended their help unconditionally. Those German girls spoke to ‘Deutsche Bank’ customer care officials and ensured that my cards are blocked and also requested to issue new cards. Simultaneously, I got an internet connection and blocked my debit and credit cards from Indian banks. Later, I asked the German girls to lend me some money and I immediately returned the money through my 'Deutsche Bank' online account. In just an hour, I got the situation under control because of the helping nature of those German girls. I also realized that my strengths are to keep my head cool under pressure and focus on tasks at hand. This experience pushed me to react confidently to unexpected critical situations.

        The next day, I gave a police complaint and filed an FIR to get a new EU residence permit. I was surprised by the long queue of people who came to file FIR as they lost their belongings. When I explained the whole incident to my friends after this trip, they started saying “Oh! This is the first tip that we should have given. Beware of wallet snatchers in Barcelona!”


thiefhunter said...

Nice blog, Jayanth! Your experience sounds like the classic "pigeon poop pickpocket," except that it was done all in one step. This devious, typical ploy is described here: Smart as you sound, I think that after this experience you can probably consider yourself pickpocket-proof, because you'll stow your stuff safely from now on. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your visit to otherwise-wonderful Barcelona.

Jet said...

Thank you very much for going through my post. I have gone through your post and liked the experience. I wish I could read it before though :-)