Sunday, August 14, 2011

Look out for those gypsies in Europe!

Hello and welcome back to "TrumpetTravels" - my true accounts of my eleven year career working about the Princess, Carnival, Holland America, Cunard, Costa, P&O, Ocean Village and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines (and more cruises, I think!)

With so many amazing countries right off the gangway, Mediterranean cruises temp Americans who long to see the old world. Europeans have thousands of years' experience with art, architecture, philosophy, and scamming.

The Gypsies have populated touristic areas in popular cruise ports like Naples, Sardinia, Malaga, and basically any port of call on you Med. cruise.  You can usually spot them quite easily because they look like the stereotype of a Gypsie fortune teller - dark complexion, many layers of baggy clothing, 10 kids running around that look the same,  gold hoop jewelry, and a distinctive "hippy" look to the clothing.

There are a few scams ALL crew members know about.  When in doubt - ask your crew member friends about the safety in port.  They walk the streets every week and know where to walk and where not to.

In Malaga, Spain, look out for Gypsies giving you "un Regalo, un Regalo" (a gift.)  They give you a "free" branch that looks like Rosemary and press it in your hand.  If you don't give them money they curse you and you're supposed to pay them to remove the curse.

In Sardina the Gypsies have fake babies held by a fake arm. They cozy up to you.  They brush against you and with their real arm reach around and take your wallet.

In Italy (Naples, Florence, Rome) look out for kids with little toys (selling).  They run up to you with the tray of toys and run into.  All the toys fly up in the air and as the kids bump into you they reach around and grab your wallet.

In Naples immediately off the ship the same group of guys have been swindling tourists for centuries (not Gypsies).  They have expensive items - iPods, laptops, cameras, all for 60% off retail.  You test it, it works. When you fork over the cash, they give you the box, you get it back to the ship and inside is a bag of sand or a bottle of Evian.  Wouldn't you know EVERY DAY someone falls for that!?!? The police are never around.

With only 200 years of history the US and Americans are not as savvy as Europeans when it comes to scam artists.  Be logical. Be careful. Have fun and don't make any donations to the locals!

I hope I am able to make more posts soon but baby #2 is on the way soon for us.  I don't have as much time to dedicate to this blog as I would like. If you enjoyed this, read my older posts and share to your facebook wall!  Please feel free to link to my blog on forums or twitter/social media.