Several people we’ve met here, including my friends Terry and Esteve, have warned us to keep a close eye on our bags in Barcelona. Everyone emphasizes that you certainly won’t get killed, kidnapped or beaten up here, but if you’re careless you may find yourself missing your bag or wallet. Barcelona is known for having prolific pick pockets, particularly on Las Ramblas, a large boulevard that is very popular with tourists. As Jenn and I have been walking about we’ve been keeping a close eye on our possessions and noticed a few dodgy looking characters about here and there. It certainly doesn’t feel unsafe, but it does seem that a bit of vigilance is in order. One interesting observation Jenn made is that almost all the ladies wear their purses in front of them, not on their side or across their back. Over the years Terry has collected anecdotes about the street scams of Barcelona. Some of them are quite clever.
Even though it’s only been a few days, it feels like we’ve been away from Vancouver for a long time and I already feel comfortable here. Getting used to the possibility of petty crimes and training the habits one needs to be safe is one part of the process of settling in. It’s made me wonder what kinds of things happen in Vancouver all the time that I’m simply not aware of because of built-in habits.