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nervousness-theft and non-native speakers

nervousness-theft and non-native speakers

Aug 3rd, 2006, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,939
I have traveled in Europe since 1983. I had very little problem with languages the first trip. I have absolutely no problem with it now and I still speak only a few words of Italian, French, and German. Almost everyone we encounter speaks some English and lots speak as well as we do. I have never had a pick pocket, but I have seen it done by little gyspy girls.
scatcat is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2006, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
First of all - be sure to learn a few phrases in each language. At least: please, thank you, good morning/evening and I only speak english. You can do this in about 10 minutes.

Then, be sure you have a good basic pocket size book with key phrases. Not a dictionary, but the kind that has sections: at the hotel, at the restaurant, at the train station etc. If nothing else you can point to what you want to say.

As for pickpockets - it;s no different than at home - just be careful with your belongings and aware of those around you.

I expect he's just having some control issues - so why not have him organize the above - so he feels more in control.

And really, unless you're going tremendously far off the beaten track (a tiny town in the deepest woods), most people undestand at least basic english.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2006, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
well that is one of the problems with a foreign country, they don't all speak English, lol. You just have to face the fact and either learn some of their language or pantomime. He could wear a white suit and become a mime.

Don't worry about it, many tourists don't speak the native languages and get by just fine.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
Learning a few phrases from phrase books (with phonetic pronunciations) are the best way to ingratiate yourselves. Also handy when you're stuck - you point to what you're trying to communicate (translated to the local language).

It's a simple matter to protect yourselves from pickpockets. First line of defense is simply to ensure that anything important to you is just not easily accessible or easy to grab (such as placing your camera or cell phone on a table at an outdoor cafe) - the pickpockets will always go after the more inept.

As for the heat - you just have to be prepared with the proper clothing, know that it's important to hydrate, and know where to head for relief ("climatise" in French). With any luck, the weather will be far more pleasant during your visit.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 141
You have received excellent advice on all of your topics. Just have fun, relax...and stay alert
Regarding the theft, a common method is to create a diversion to take your mind off protecting your valuables. So, try to keep them protected even when you may be focusing on something else. And, watch the kids. It's so difficult to not trust them, but many times, that's the plan.
For example, my husband, a friend and I had a situation in Rome. We were looking through our backpack for something. Two young girls came around us, and one looked as if she was going to try to reach into our bag (ruse to get our attention). Next, my husband spun around grabbing for his pocket. The other girl had planned to lift his wallet. Luckily, he noticed and nothing happened. (They immediately ran).
Plan ahead, to divide money, valuables, in different pockets, etc. and between yourselves. If the unfortunate does happen, at least it won't be all of your stuff.
tamjam is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 07:51 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
One note about churches in France: They are cool only if the average temps outside have been cool; right now, after a month of blast-furnace heat outside, they are actually warmer than the outside, and will probably stay that way until (and if) the weather stays cool enough long enough to let them shed their heat.

Also, while most churches are so quiet that a pickpocket could not possibly go unnoticed, the popular ones, like Notre-Dame and Sacré-Cur, have such crowds in them that they are in fact ideal spots for pickpockets. So beware.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Aug 5th, 2006, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,913
I read recently that your highest probability of being pickpocketed in Venice is in the Basilica.

I agree with the "Do you speak English?" approach--if they do. they will be able to speak in English with you; if they don't, they are forewarned to develop other means (combo of menu pointing, directional pointing, basic widely understood words, etc.) And if you say it in French/Italian, many do seem to appreciate the effort.
annw is offline  

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