Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Scams out to trick tourists take place everywhere in Paris be it at the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Sacré Coeur, along the River Seine, Notre Dame etc. We saw two tourists fall prey to a scam recently when we were driving along the River Sine and much as we wanted to alert them, there wasn’t enough time to do so before the car had to move off. So, in the spirit of public service, I hope to do our part to raise awareness of some of these hoaxes.

1. Clipboard donations

I’ve seen adults and children carrying clipboards at major tourist destinations (Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur and Champs-Élysées etc) asking for donations. A colleague that’s fallen for this told me that once you agree to donate (eg. €2 or €5), they’ll tell you that there’s a minimum donation amount. So if you oblige them, you’ll end up losing the money you give them and could potentially have your wallet stolen when they see where you keep your wallet. I once witnessed an old man handing over a €20 note and instead of giving him change, the girl ran away with his money.

2. Bracelets/Friendship Bands

I’ve only ever seen this happen in Montmartre. As you head towards the Sacre Coeur, men will come up to you showing you friendship bands and they will try to tie these bands on your wrist. Say no immediately and walk away. Otherwise, once the bands are on your wrists, they’ll ask you to pay €5 – €10 for each band.

3. Guess where the ball is

What catches your attention is a group of people huddled over a game. You get drawn to the crowd and see a guy betting €50 while guessing which of the 3 matchstick boxes/cups actually contains a ball. The guy easily wins the €50.  If you stick around and show some interest in betting, those around you would egg you on telling you how easy it is to win. Once you decide to play, that’s where the scam unfolds. The split second that you look away to get your money, the ball is moved away from where you thought it was and there goes your money. The guy who “won” before you and those who urged you to bet are actually from the same gang. They keep pretending to “win” until some innocent chap takes the bait.

4. The gold ring

Another person who fell for this told me that someone would come up to you to ask if you’ve dropped a gold ring.  He would then show you a ring and try to make conversation while attempting to convince you that the ring belongs to you.  When you refuse, he will then ask for spare change either for the ring (which could have a fake 18k insignia on it) or to pay for his next meal.

5. Someone drops something in front of you

This usually happens on trains or when you’re seated down in a café. Someone walks by and drops something beside you (coins, papers etc). If you bend over to help this person pick up his belongings without watching your own stuff, chances are that your valuable possessions (handphone/handbag/laptop) would be swiped away while you’re bent over. It doesn’t pay to be kind? Well, yes, be kind but be alert as well.

TAKE CARE!

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“When one door of happiness closes, another opens…”

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

– Helen Keller

Fantasy Fridays: The Bay of Arcachon, France

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂  A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Destination, the Bay of Arcachon. Whereabouts? A bay of the Atlantic Ocean on the Southwest of France that is located about 50+ kilometres (30+ miles) from the famous vineyards in Bordeaux. The website of the Aquitaine region of France describes the Bay of Arcachon as “first of all a geomorphologic curiosity: a bay of 15000 hectares fed both by the ocean and a large number of waterways, producing an inland sea with the colours of a lagoon, bordered on one side by a blond crown of fine sand culminating at 104 metres: the Dune du Pilat. From its summit you can also see the beautiful Landes forest.”

What all that means is that the Arcachon Bay is a perfect playground for seaside/water-based activities such as swimming, fishing and sailing as well as for those keen to visit quaint fishing/oyster-fishing villages lining the perimeter of the Bay. The likes of Bolly would prefer to luxuriate in one of the resorts in the area and spend their day doing a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. nothing whilst the likes of Chee who are keen for some adventures may wish to climb up the Dune du Pilat (Great Dune of Pyla), the largest sand dune in Europe measuring about 100 to 117 metres (328 to 340 feet) above sea level, 500 metres (1640 feet) wide and 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) long. It’s not exactly an easy climb but trust us, it’s worth the effort once you’re up there!

Feeling at home at Chez Pierre in Arcachon 🙂

Advantages of being located near to fishing/oyster-fishing villages…FRESH seafood…

Enjoying the tranquility of the Arcachon Bay…

Two ways up the Dune of Pyla…climb the dune or take the steps…

Take the steps while you can…climbing up the Dune is hard work…

Exceptional view from the top of the Dune with the Landes forest in the backdrop (and tiny tiny people)…

“The BollyChees have been here” 🙂

Bitten by the wanderlust bug yet?

🙂

(oops, publishing this slightly late on Saturday due to a technical glitch)