By Julie Kreutzer
Picture Paris at Christmas time – holiday decorations in the stores, sleet, cold, great art, mix of good and bad food, sore feet, upper respiratory infections and jet lag. After a long day museuming, we were on the metro and it was crowded. I noticed my husband glaring over my shoulder at someone and even in my bedraggled state I assumed something was going on and was suddenly aware that I was being jostled a bit. It still didn’t compute. When we got off he explained there were a few guys that had been eyeing me, and it looked like they were jostling me and trying to get into my fanny pack. When he glared at them, they talked in French and jumped off at the next stop. Pickpockets, of course, do take advantage of a crowd where a tourist wouldn’t be surprised to feel people pressed up against them.
Lessons learned: 1) Jet lag makes tourists stupid and so does being sick; 2) lack of alertness is probably noted by criminals; and 3) There’s no substitute for a traveling companion who is alert and ready to help (particularly if they look intimidating).
Questions remaining: I’m not really sure what to do if you’re being pressed in a crowd, since that could mean pickpockets, but not necessarily. Women do wear purses or fanny packs, so it does create a problem. My id and money were within a compartment with two zippers to get through, but I’m not sure that would be enough.