Places that are popular tourist stops are also popular with pickpockets. A pair of small Asian women in Barcelona, Spain, stood next to me on the metro car that had just arrived for us and a lot of other tourists. We were in a crowd of people who had descended from the city’s popular funicular ride to the top of a hill with a picture-worthy view. It was standing room only.
I stood near John, holding onto a post as the metro revved up. One of the small women reached over my head and grabbed the same post I was holding onto. How curious, I thought, that one so little would reach so high.
But at the same instant, I felt busy fingers working away at the Velcro-zipped travel pouch I had slung over one shoulder and under the other arm. I don’t keep money in this pouch (the money was safely in a flat money belt under my shirt), but the pouch did contain our passports, charge cards and Eurail pass.
It seemed as if everything moved into slow-motion. I looked at each of the two women, both of whom made eye-contact with me, and I clutched the travel pouch tighter. The Velcro did its job.
In the middle of this attempted theft, I said to John, “She’s trying to pickpocket me!” At that moment, the two slid away and slipped through the exit just before the doors closed.
It unnerved me. They escaped. But so did I.