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Ladrones Gitanos

She smiles, showing the gaps where teeth had been; those remaining are brown and imaginably rotting. Still, it is an endearing smile, and she is waving red carnations at us. So is her friend. ¿Flamenco? she asks. ¿Flamenco al Prado? A las siete… Her friend sticks a carnation into Alissa´s blouse. She sticks one in my pants.

As many street vendors in Madrid hawk flowers, I am not alarmed. I ask, ¿cuanto? and she opens her hand showing a 5 cent piece, starting to repeat over and over ¡el papa! ¡el papa! This is confusing, exactly as she wants. I reach into my pocket, exactly as she wants, but draw out only a few euros in spare change, not so much what she was hoping for. I begin looking for a 5 cent piece, the whole time she repeats no, el papa, el papa, and finally she just takes the coins from me and finds a 5 cent coin. She goes to put them back in my pocket, a highly curious maneuver. None of the coins in her hand are transfered to my pocket. Instead, she palms then in her other hand, her left. A bit annoyed, I reach over and take them back. They take back the carnations. We part ways.

This was a bit like the four fat people who attempted to box Alissa in on the Metro yesterday, one of whom stuck her hand in her purse. By her ineptitude or our luck, she didn’t draw anything away with her. Perhaps because Alissa noticed her probings and raised a restrained shriek, she began to look at us with rather terrified eyes. We got off the train; everything was intact.

Needless to say, I am now wearing my moneybelt. We leave for Lisbon tonight.

Categories: Postcards.

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3 Responses

  1. I bet Alissa laughs no more at your money belt, eh? Boy did she think that thing was going to be useless! I would have paid money to see Alissa shriek at that woman (but not hear the shriek itself). Alas I can only imagine it. Hoping all is well!

  2. After scrolling through your European adventures I can only type, “Be careful and enjoy yourselves.” Otherwise everything else sounds fun.

  3. Kelly: No, Alissa laughs no longer at the moneybelt; in fact, I am actually carrying around all her important documents and items in it, along with mine. I may get the last laugh (haha!), but I still have on big pouch stuck to my gut.

    Kyle: Of course we are being careful and having fun. I mean, what’s more fun than getting drunk and taunting gypsies!

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