當晚我與CS Host Angela、Kico分享上述經歷，Angela與Kico都是正宗葡國人，Angela一口斷定：「你看見的那位女士就是扒手，里斯本好多扒手，他／她們不是黑人，不是吉卜賽人，扒手外貌一如本地人或遊客，金髮碧眼，甚至有扒手是白人，我去市區都要攬實手袋。」
This is Rossio Square, a famous landmark in Lisbon with LOTS of pickpocket, beware!
I stayed in Lisbon for 6 days and was pickpocketed for 3 times. Lucky I lost nothing.
The 3 most pickpocket area is Rossio Square, the shopping avenue next to it and on the trams. I would 100% be a target because I have a tourist-Asian face and a backpack. My backpack was on my back and nothing was lost when I was traveling in Moscow, London, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Luxembourg, Dublin, Galway, Edinburgh. But tourists got to put their backpack at front or 100% would be the pickpocket’s target.
Rossio Square was a tourist area. There are restaurants, souvenir shops and fashion stores in the shopping avenue. I was being pickpocket when I was looking at the shop window.
I was standing on the street and looking at the shop window with my backpack behind. I heard a squeak noise suddenly and I turned back immediately and saw a few passers-by.
A lady was standing to me most. I stood in front of the shop window and she stood a feet behind me. Her blond hair tied up in a ponytail and she wore fashionable black leather jacket, yellow scarf and tight jeans. Her greyish green eyes shrink a little nervously because I suddenly turned back. She grasped the plastic bottle on her hand tightly and (pretend to) drink the water at ease.
A gentleman was standing next to the lady. They were a few feet apart. They didn’t seem to know each other. The gentleman was slightly oversized. He made no response even I turned around suddenly and (pretend to?) looked at the shop window continuous
An old gentleman was walking across the street. He didn’t stop at all and keep walking.
The lights inside the shop was half lightened and half dark. The shop door was closed but I didn’t know if it was knocked. No one came out of the shop to look at the situation at all.
I thought the lady was a tourist when I looked at her. She dressed in fashion and didn’t seem a poor person at all. She had beautiful blond hair with made up on her face and didn’t look like a thief at all.
I thought I heard wrong and turned around and looked at the shop window again but I stretched my hands to my backpack and found the zip was wide opened. I was in full surprise and turned around again immediately. The lady was about to stretch her hands but she changed her motion in mid-air into drinking water when she saw me turning around again.
I had no idea of what was happening but I felt something was wrong. I walked away immediately. No one preventing me walked away. No one chasing me from behind.
I count what I had lost after I left the site. I was lucky that I had lost nothing. My wallet and mobile phone were still there.
I shared my crazy experience in Rossio Square with my Lisbon CS Host Angela and Kico that night. Angela and Kico are local Portuguese.
Angela said firmly, ‘The lady you saw was the thief. There are lots of thieves in Lisbon. They are not Black, not Gypsy. They looked like local people or even tourists. Some thieves are even White. Even local people like me have to hold our bags tight when we go to the city,’
Kico was an ex-gangster. He said simply, ‘No one ever stole from me in Rossio Square. We gangster can identify ourselves from a special walking style and the thieves wouldn’t steal from another thief or gangster. I am not a gangster member anymore but I really can’t change that walking style,’
I asked Kico to teach me the gangster walking style immediately. Kico said it was hard to teach. Anyway, I just walked in splay-footed, hands fly free in air, just walk like a hip-hop singers is fine.
I had to visit down town again next day so I practised walk like a gangster and hope to disguise myself into a thief.
I was being pickpocket again next day in a tram full of people. I couldn’t walk like a gangster in a full tram even I practiceed hard last night, sigh…
Tram is one of the important transportation in Lisbon. I got on the tram in the terminal but lots of people rushed into the tram in the next stop. I turned my backpack to front immediately but I was too late. My backpack zip was wide opened again. I took off the backpack and count what I had lost immediately. I was lucky that everything were still in my backpack.
Although the thief was hard to escape on a moving tram but I couldn’t identify the thief because it was full of people. I just held my backpack tight and admiring the ever-changing expressions of the passionate Gypsies next to me…
The tram suppose drove pass a castle that I was going to visit. But I couldn’t see the small road signs clearly and there didn’t have an electronic notice board on the tram. The tram driver were busy to deal with the thieves, people who block the way in order to get on the tram and the tourists. He was real busy and couldn’t help me.
I had to give up visiting the castle at the end and got off in Rossio Square and took a ferry back home.
I found myself had a bias on ‘race’ because of the thieves in Lisbon. I always thought thieves = poor people and poor people = Blacks & Gypsies.
I saw the thief clearly but let her go because she is a ‘White’ and ‘A lady dressed in fashion’. (Although it should be safer if I let the thief go)
It’s the old saying again, ‘You can’t judge people by appearance’!