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Two quick days in Nice, a gold ring and a thief

Two quick days in Nice, a gold ring and a thief

Old May 28th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Two quick days in Nice, a gold ring and a thief

A quick check in after my questions.

Left the house at 5am to drive to Edinburgh airport and was through the gate unreasonably early at 7.30am.

Took just hand baggage. Easyjet said technically I should not have had the handbag, but it would not be a problem. Used their Speedy Boarding thingie so was in row 2.

The flight took about 2 1/2 hours, (flight departure 9.40am) so with the time difference we got in just after 1pm. As usual on Easyjet it was efficient and there wasn't enough legroom, but the whole thing cost £180 or something so one can't really complain.

I had bought three guide books (so sue me; I'm an addict) I bought The AA Citypack which was OK; the Dorling Kindersley Provence and the Cote D'azur, which was pants banana, and Thomas Cooks CitySpots which was the pick of the crop. So I knew which bus stop to wait at, although eventually I got off in a totally random sort of way since I had no idea where I was. I turned out to be exactly right, but it was sheer chance.

Walked the 10 minutes to my hotel- the Hotel Brice- checked in and left my stuff whilst I went for a walk. The Hotel was centrally located, had a nice (ish) garden area, a wee bar, pleasant staff and, discovered in the morning, a nice dining room.

I walked back onto the Promenade des Anglais, and headed to the old town. I stopped at one of the cafes in the Ponchettes (the old fishermen's huts which have been turned into galleries and things) and had a coffee and a beer and watched the world go by. People roller blading along the Prom and parascending in the bay, and just enjoying the sun.

Went under the arcade and through to the Cours Saleya where the big market is daily. They were just packing up, and the restaurants which line the sides of the square were colonising the centre. I walked round the Old Town for a couple of hours. It's really lovely. It has the trick of being delightful and characterful at the same time as overloaded with tourists.

Walked up through the centre of the town and back to the hotel. Short pause then walked back to the top of the Old Towna nd had supper in a small restaurant recommended by the guides called Lou Nissart. Lovely food with a very local touch. I had the deep fried courgette flowers which I have always wanted to try and they were lovely.

Bit of a shock at the taxi fare home- €18. Here it would have been for an equivalent journey maybe one third of the price.

Now, one thing I had done wrong was to take only my (new) walking sandals and a cheap pair of slightly dressier sandals. My feet were screaming in pain with blisters everywhere. Exacerbated by the fact I couldn't remember the French for blister (ampoule) and bought plasters for corns. So my dogs were actually bleeding when I went to bed.

Much better by morning tho' so off I set again, back to the Old Town. This time I was meaning to take the open top bus tour, buy stuff, have a light lunch and get back to the hotel in time to shower and change before the 5pm appointment with the accountant. I took the bus in and wandered down to the promenade, pausing only 1) to buy more books, and 2) to have the most expensive cup of coffee I've yet encountered- did I mention my feet hurt? I'd have paid ANYTHING.

The tour was very good. It took a couple of hours but gave a great overview of the city, the harbour, Cimiez (the posh bit on the hillside) the Art Deco stuff and everything. Browsed the shops- oil shops, truffle shops, sweetie shops, the flower market et al. Eventually gave in and bought Reeboks.

Relaxing slightly, and gain able to put one foot in front of the other, I came up out of the Old Town about a block further north than I meant, and as I headed back towards the main drag, I paused at a traffic light, and noticed a handbag on the ground. Soft alarm bell. A few hundred yards further on a guy coming towards me bent over and picked up a gold ring from the pavement (I actually saw him palm it, so he can't have been that good). I was walking at a pace and didn't slow down even when he called "Attends"

My slow brain was working through all the "Oh THAT's what they were talking about on Fodors; glad I knew about it" stuff, when another guy came up from behind me and did the same thing. So smarty pants says " you must think I was born yesterday". and he replies "you really know the music" (this is all in French, you understand) and I'm patting myself on the back thinking "Fodors comes in really handy sometimes.". He follows me a few steps. I have my hand on my bag, I push through the parked cars and cross the road and that's that.

So I go off for lunch, it being about 2, order my lunch, open my bag- no wallet. I reckon it had gone even before he spoke to me. So, an interesting afternoon, reporting it to the cops, cancelling my cards, organising to get home the next day without a passport, then getting to the accountants (unwashed) 15 minutes late, and blagging him into lending me enough dosh to get through to lunchtime next day.

Totally knackered, feet soothed (a bit) I thought about heading back into the centre to the place I had ordered, but did not eat lunch- they were soooo nice- but decided I'd just go to the nearest recommended place. It was La Canne a Sucre on the Promenade des Anglais, and I think it may have been the worst meal I've ever had in France. So, all in all a day to write off.

Following morning, I sat in the lovely sun in the hotel garden then went down onto the Promenade and had more coffee, got to the airport early and negotiated efficiently to get on the plane. Mega brownie points to Easyjet for that. they handled it efficiently and well.

I really don't want (please) your counsel on what I should have done differently. I really know it. I doubt however, that I'll change much. But I do have a question for you.

I was pretty fraught by the time I got back to the hotel- I didn't mention that I tripped en route to the police station- caught my toe in the tram line, would you believe- and went my length, so I'd a cut and bleeding and, two bruised writs and a fairly non-functional knee, I was hot and sweaty, flustered, late and I had no money, or plastic. My husband called them and emailed them and gave him his card to take the bill from. I asked nicely and they wouldn't give me any money. Had it not been for my accountant, I would have been penniless. Clearly they were under no obligation to help. Do you think they should have? Would you have expected them to?

BTW, I really liked Nice. I must find excuses to go back.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 01:47 PM
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Hi Sheila - what a nightmare! Wallet stolen, feet full of blisters... and you still sounded quite positive! I really admire you.

Any idea how the thief got your wallet without you noticing at all? What kind of bag did you take - regular handbag that you carry on your side; or those across the chest daybags? I assume your bag wasn't slashed... so the theif must have unzipped and zipped your bag to get your wallet?
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Old May 28th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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The bag is a big shoulder bag, with a flap (which doesn't fasten but which is the whole size of the bag itself." What I noticed first when I opened it at the restaurant was that the inside zip pocket was open and I didn't think I'd left it like that.

PLEASE don't give me a hard time about zipped up money belts. I'll never do that. But, believe me, I WILL be more careful in city streets in future.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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Sorry about your misfortunes Sheila, but I'm pleased by your resilient spirit.

Were you a lawyer, the bruised writs might be serious indeed.

Will you accept a handbag tip from a mere male (one who tends to keep a concerned eye on Herself)? Carry the bag with the flap next to your body.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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Lol, Padraig, dear Sheila is a lawyer!
Sheila I'm happy at least you were not hurt
by the scam artists. Do you remember the good place you had lunch?
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:30 PM
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Oh I am so sorry this happened to you. No lecture from me but how do you think he did this? He approached you from behind and maybe directed your attention to him while the ring man actually opened your purse? I would have been congratulating myself on thwarting the ring scam just like you did. I have a feeling they were working as a team.

I am sorry you fell too and I am proud of you that you kept a positive attitude after the fact!!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:34 PM
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Oh regarding your question, the hotel most likely thought it could have been a scam to have a voice on the phone say use this card number and give this woman cash.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:55 PM
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Good grief! What a good sport you are!

And to have that scam work on such a savvy traveler really gives one pause...

BTW, if I owned a hotel and were confronted with a person in distress like you, I'd like to think I'd be trusting enough to give the poor woman enough cash to get home! I'm sure they had enough personal details about you they would have been able to track you down! Besides, wouldn't that just be a small fraction of the cost of doing business?
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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What a trip; one you won't forget! I'm so sorry about all your problems and theft.

Perhaps the hotel had people trying to scam them in the past and were wary although your scrapes and bruises would speak for themselves. I think they should have given you the cash, especially as they had your credit card number to charge if you didn't send a check.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:07 PM
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sheila

This is not a lecture, but since I was a little toddler I can remember my grandmother saying "never put all your eggs in the same basket." I think it took a few year for me to understand the meaning, but I know now and I heed her advice.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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No lectures from the peanut gallery. This is quite the everyman, everywoman story. Interesting. It's a scam that's mutating like a virus. The tourists are onto the original scam so it's developing into another version so as to survive. Great. Just great.
What are your thoughts, Sheila? With your experience and hindsight.....
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:55 PM
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I THINK, although clearly I don't know, that he was on his own. He came from behind on my left, he moved over to the right, and did the ring thing, then fell back again. He walked on right behind me a few paces, and I was very conscious that he was there.

I THINK he'd had his hand in my bag before he spoke to me, and was just VERY light fingered.

Unfortunately, I didn't notice the name of the nearly lunch restaurant. It was in the pedestrian zone in the Rue Massena (OK, I know that hardly narrows it down). It would have been an odd number, and it wasn't in any of the guides. It They had something on the menu I had never tried before and I asked if they would do me a mouthful to taste to see if I liked it. No hassle, they said. He was just bringing it when I discovered the theft, and he was almost as upset as I was. He offered me the food anyway, but I was too upset to stop.

Normally I don't use a bag at all (on an ordinary hol, I use a back pack) and EVERYTHING is in my wallet. I am a creature of habit.

The hotel had to use KMR's card to pay for the room, and they insisted on doing all that by email. So they had the payment in their hands.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 02:25 AM
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Oh dear. Welcome home.

Have a nice trip, see you next fall. (I'm sorry, I've been saying that so many decades I can't resist, especially under the circumstances.)

What is that language you speak anyway? Pants banana? Or are you just glad to see me...
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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Sorry to hear about your blister problems. I used to have severe problems of this type when I went on trips. I found the best way to avoid them is to do all of the following (before you have a problem, of course):

-cover likely problem areas of your feet with anti-chafing stick. It comes in a container that looks like deodorant and can be bought in stores that sell outdoor/hiking gear (such as Eastern Mountain Sports in the US).

-wear two pairs of socks, a thin inner layer of synthetic material and an outer sock.

-wear the most comfortable, broken-in shoes you can.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 02:05 AM
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the only bits about that that don't work are the socks (socks with sandals?! perish the thought) and the shoes- that was the problem. They were new. I THOUGHT they were sufficiently broken in. I was waaay wrong.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 01:18 PM
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I always liked to stop in Nice on my way of Provence..So far after all these years passing through there, I have been pretty lucky..

I will be in Nice the second week of September, and will be very careful ,use a moneys belt for the passport and credit cards.


BTW, how was the Hotel Brice? Usually I stay at the Roosevelt but I am willing to try a new place..

Just think one of these days all that you went through will be just a funny memory to tell your grandchildren..
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Old May 31st, 2009, 03:56 AM
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The hotel was fine. Not great; just fine. If you like the Roosevelt, I see no reason to urge you to change
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 01:23 PM
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Sheila, I was really sorry to read about what happened to you. And this guy was 100% pro, IMO, if he could put one over on you, no lectures from me. I would think a good hotel would have done more for you, but that's just me and MHO. Glad to hear you didn't let this disaster spoil Nice for you. I haven't been in years, but it is indeed a place I enjoyed and found beautiful.

Best,
BC
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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It was the brand new glaringly-white reeboks that pegged you as their next victim! See? You looked like an American tourist and we're widely known as fair game for scamsters.
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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They were blue.
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