lørdag den 29. april 2017

Da lommetyven fik en muslingeskal !

På det engelsksprogede Santiagoforum.me har jeg fundet denne "lidt muntre" historie om en pilgrims møde med en lommetyv i Lissabon. Historien er nogle år gammel, men der findes stadig lommetyve flere steder bl.a. i København, og hvis historien her ender, uden at tyven får noget udbytte, kan man måske godt grine lidt. Jeg har ikke oversat den, så læs selv:
I guess she’s not the first girl who didn’t want to hold hands with me.
I felt one of her fingers ‘give’ and she wrenched her hand out of my grasp. She squealed and stumbled backwards away from me. The concertina doors on the lower platform at the rear had just swished open as the tram shuddered to a halt.
Out she went.
A bit of a drop and she got sat her on her backside on the footpath. She had automatically put a hand out to support herself as she landed. Shame it was the hand that had been damaged. Must have hurt a bit as she squealed again, tentatively raised the hand into the air, then slowly toppled back and donged the back of her head on the cobbles. Not hard, but quite dramatically. Legs up in the air, her pink bloomers received a right good public airing, and the contents of her large flat shoulder bag got scattered about the footpath.
Not my fault.
I mean there I was having a nice ride on the rickety old number 28 tram, screetching and scrawnching and rocking thru the narrow streets of lovely old Lisbon town.
My Bangladeshi landlord Abdul, who would talk cricket til the cows came home, had recommended it to me in confirmation of the tourist office’s stating that a ride on the old number 28 was on the list of ‘must do’ things for tourists. “But Mr Carey,” he said, “you must indeed be very careful because there are many pickpocketers. The tram it is a most excellent target for them as it is aways very crowded with tourists.”
Abdul’s pension is just a block or so behind the Cathedral. In the Alfama. A district close to the city centre. A upsy-downsy maze of narrow, winding cobbled streets and dead-end stone stairways, full of interesting little restaurants and the occasional souvenir shop.
I see some nicely renovated buildings. Abdul says the government is purchasing old buildings in the area. They are renovating them in traditional design. Converting them into smallish blocks of two or three bedroom apartments, tiling the fronts and installing little balconies. Very nice they are.
From my 3rd floor room window, in the warm spring evenings, I can hear the sound of plaintive fado. Melodious voices from several restaurants in my section of the Alfama blend and waft thru the streets. They are accompanied by my now favourite stringed instrument, the steel strung ‘English Guitar’. It’s like a cross between an ordinary Spanish style guitar and my previous favourite, the mandolin. Being steel strung it’s more high pitched and crisply melodic. Delineates the notes sharply and therefore more clearly. In the Portuguese music that I can hear, the voice is accompanied by this English guitar while an ordinary gut stringed guitar provides the bass accompaniment.
The Alfama district gets a fair bit of attention from tourists. It deserves it. The little restaurants appear to be owner operated with friendly attentive service. The fare is reliably good and moderately priced. Likewise the beer and wine. They deserve this pilgrim’s euros.
So, after Abdul’s confirming recommendation, I head off the next morning. First to my breakfast cafe for my cheese and ham filled croissant and cafe american.
Now I’m wandering the city streets with my little Sea to Summit backpack bobbing along on my back. I feel a strange movement in the centre of my back. I swing around quickly and a chap moves away, quickly crosses the street.
Blimey, even here in the open streets they are!
I guess the backpack with a single zip is a prime target in the crowded streets. Still, it’s only got a light icebreaker pullover in it. Nothing of value. All my valuables are safe in my money belt. The little leather purse that holds the day’s cash requirements is in a hidden zipped pocket. I’m good. I’ll leave the backpack where it is. Might attract some more attention. That’d be fun.
Abdul’s right about the tram. Jam packed it is. In fact, from the street, I ask the driver to open the rear doors and he obliges. I clamber aboard. A local chap in a red and white striped shirt moves aside to give me some space.
“Stand here,” he says as he moves, “there is more room.”
“Obrigado,” I reply. I like these Portuguese folks. Very polite and helpful they are.
Off we go. Up past the Cathedral, heading for St George’s Castle at the top of the hill. You can see it from all over town. It’s an old fortification built by the Moors and taken by Christian armies during the reconquest.
A great place for a view over the city and harbour I’m told.
I feel the gentlest of touches to my leg. Without moving my head I glance down. A hand is about to enter my pant’s pocket. It protrudes from behind a large, black flat shoulder bag that is looped over the shoulder of the lady standing alongside. The bag hides what the hidden arm and its protruding hand are up to. To all but me that is.
At the same time I feel movement at my back.
Blimey, two of them.
It’s gotta be the guy in the red and white shirt.
They’re working as a team and he’s the setup man. With his kindly invitation he’d set me into the attack position. He from the back and she from the side.
Polite Portuguese man. Bollocks.
So what to do?
I don’t know why, but after her hand entered my pocket I rammed my right hand in also and grabbed hers. Our fingers sort of interlaced and I gave it her hand a right good squeezing. I felt the finger ‘go’ and she wrenched her hand away. She squealed and stumbled backwards towards the door.
That’s when the bloomers got their airing.
Mr Red and White shirt elbowed past me and jumped to her side to assist.
Some lady bystanders also kindly joined in the attempt to help.
Not me.
They helped her to her feet.
She commenced pointing, then screaming at me in Portuguese.
I didn’t know what she was saying but was later informed that she was accusing me of pushing her off the tram.
What I do know is that another chap on the train, a true Portuguese, leapt to my defence.
“Pickpockets, two of them,” he pronounced. “Look at his backpack. Open!”
The driver, who had deserted his post to investigate the commotion, nodded affirmatively at me.
“No problem,” he said. “Now we continue.”
Off we lurched again. I merrily waved and called goodbye to the pair on the footpath.
Did they give me a mouthful? Did they what!
The lady bystanders recoiled in horror at the invective.
“They do not like you!” my Portuguese defender happily but needlessly advised.
Other travellers leaned out the window and applauded their misfortune.
I don’t think they would have been all that concerned if I had pushed her off.
My scallop shell!
The swine had pulled it off my pack.
There it was on the footpath in a thousand pieces.
Somebody had stood on it in the kerfuffle.
Ah well.
Got me at the Gare du Nord in Paris a couple of years ago didn't they.
That makes us one all in this game.
The fat lady hasn’t sung yet cobber.

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