A Day with the Gypsies

jonquil323 By jonquil323, 11th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3nkawl7v/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Spain>Andalucía

On the streets of Granada I cannot keep my nose out of other people's business.

Making the Most of Free Time

Several years ago I went to Spain with a group. Shortly before the end of the trip we visited Granada, famous for the Alhambra and Generalife, which sounds like an insurance company, but in Spanish- Arabic means the Caliph's Gardens. In the parking lot we saw a big circle of people watching two men fighting in the middle of the crowd. When we were all on the bus our guide reminded us that the native Gypsies often stage fights and other events to draw a crowd, only to send pickpockets through the spectators. He told us to avoid such assemblies in the region.
In the afternoon we had some free time, so I went to do a little exploring on my own. Suddenly I reached a young couple confronting a Gypsy woman with a bundle of green sprigs in her hand. As an ex-cop, I wasn't going to see these naïve English-speaking tourists feel cheated by a slick con artist. I asked what the problem was.
The young woman complained that the Gypsy woman had sold them nothing more than a worthless weed for a dollar, and she wanted to return it. The Gypsy didn't speak English, just kept pushing her away, saying “Non, non, non.”
I thought it was silly to argue over something that cost a dollar, but the boyfriend said, “It's the principle of the thing.” The old woman just kept refusing to cooperate. I puffed up my chest and took control. I told the Gypsy woman, in Hebrew, that she would return the money and go find some other poor fool to cheat. It was apparently the foreign language which intimidated her, because she pulled a dollar out of the folds in her dress, and exchanged it for the sprig of whatever weed it was. As I turned to go on my way, I realized that a crowd had gathered round us, not as big as the one I saw earlier, but needless to say, I felt for my wallet. It was there of course, because I hadn't been in the crowd. I was in the “fight”.
I walked away, feeling that I had done the right thing. Several minutes later I was approached by a teen-aged boy. He slipped something into my hand saying “Your share, gracias.” Before I knew what had happened he was gone. There were three 20 Euro notes in my hand.

“I don't buy it. Why would they part with that money? Who were you to them? Just a passing tourist.”
"My guess is that they wanted me to work with them more in the coming hours and days. If I could draw a crowd so easily, completely unwittingly, it was great for them. Maybe the payment was an advance, just in case I gave a repeat performance, again, without thinking. Either way, I was 60 Euro richer for doing what I thought was the right thing. I'd do it again if I felt the same way. They were probably banking on that”.
"So are you, I fear”.


Granada, Gypsy Woman, Pickpockets

Meet the author

author avatar jonquil323
I grew up in Long Island, studied English at McGill in Montreal, and soon afterwards moved to Israel where I have lived on kibbutz for over 30 years.

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author avatar jonquil323
27th Apr 2016 (#)

This sounds suspicious.

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