We got off to a awkward start; I felt it the moment the Metro door in front of me got stuck, opening just enough to let people squeeze out. A moment of hesitation. Before I could move to the next door, a well-built, strong woman I had never seen before, tried to get my suitcase. She was very decisive but I resisted. To my perplexed and alarmed ”What are you doing…?” she whined innocently: ”I’m only trying to help you…”
Why she thought I needed ”help”, I shall never know.
I manage to squeeze out, suitcase in hand, and proceed to change lines. The next train leaves from a different platform. On our way, I spot the woman walking towards the same direction together with a man, whom I hadn’t noticed before – rather surprisingly because he is also very big. We all get on the same train.
Not too crowded; still we have to stand and it’s hot and sticky. No matter, I think to myself, a few more stops and we are home. Suddenly, the man decides to open the window. Rather than going past us or ask someone else to open it, he pushes, knocks and squeezes people out of his way. We are cornered. That’s when I feel something – a jostle, then another. I look at my purse and see a small, delicate hand working clumsily to unzip it. It is a woman’s hand. I grab it firmly and check that my wallet is still in place – it is.
I let go of the hand and look at her. ”Was that you…?” I snapped. She looks at me startled, then angry. ”Absolutely not, how dare you…?” she speaks Greek with a foreign accent. She looks appropriately offended. So much so that she decides to get off at the next stop, giving me more offended looks all the while. The big couple follow her.
I wish them, in their next attempt, to break a leg. Literally.
Beware of pickpockets in public transit. A common menace, they seem to multiply, invent new tricks and thrive in peak season. In most cases they are clever, feather-finger professionals, not in the least like the clumsy trio I encountered. Split cash, cards and ID into different pocket, leave your wallet behind and go out and make the most of your visit, hassle-free.
Shared photo credits (Lia & Konstantinos)
Athens, 15-19 June 2015