Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

LIVING                                                                            FEBRUARY 2009

 

            BEWARE OF WOLVES IN CHEAP CLOTHING!!!!
 

I recently took my daughter clothes shopping in Piraeus since the sales were in full force. One department store was particularly busy and as we were clicking our way through numerous coat hangers, I was aware of a flock of crow-like women, all dressed in black, jostling for space and invading mine in the process. At the same time, I felt my back-pack press into my spine so I shook off the pressure and re-adjusted its position.

I noticed a woman at my side. (I seem to have adopted a peculiar habit of registering details about people which entails staring, much to the embarrassment of my children.)

I noted the following:

Long, thick black hair held back with a rhinestone encrusted hair-band. Too much make-up. Black, slinky clothing, suitable for an evening out. Shifty eyes. Possible occupation: belly dancer.

I migrated to the other end of the shop to look at garish, shiny anoraks; so did the belly dancer. I became aware of a second woman who seemed to be more interested in looking at me than at clothes. Was I staring too much?

I registered the following: Long black straggly hair; tall, quite thin. Black and silver striped jumper, shifty eyes, something kind of waxy and unclean about her yellowed complexion. Tiny brown freckles across the nose. Possible occupation: Store detective?

I suggested to my daughter that we play a game. I would walk to the other side of the store, take a right turn, then a left and come back to my original spot. Her job was to watch the two women and report on their movements to me. To her delight, the two followed me. Our next tactic was to lose them by taking a lift to the fourth floor. We lost them but then my nose started to run so I asked her to kindly dig into my bag and grab a tissue. She noticed that it was open.

I quickly tipped the contents onto the padded bench we were perched on and noticed that my Euro purse was missing. Fortunately though, my’ English’ purse containing my credit cards was still there, as was my passport, snugly ensconced in a separate pocket.

I urgently instructed my daughter to run back downstairs with me to the ground floor where I scanned a sea of faces until I recognized the wearer of the rhinestone encrusted hair band. “Ah there she is! There’s the woman who stole my purse!” I yelled in English.

According to my daughter, a third woman looked  urgently towards the one I had identified and immediately dropped her shopping whilst grappling for her mobile phone. It was at this point that ‘my’

Woman also dropped the pile of clothing draped across her arms and hastily walked from the shop. I followed her but she broke into a trot; so did I! Then she started to run; so did I and I was so grateful not to be wearing stilettos like hers but as I stopped to check my daughter was still behind me, the pedestrian lights changed to red and I glimpsed among the wave of black heads bobbing on black coats a flash of rhinestones triumphantly winking in the sunlight as the head that wore them frantically disappeared into another building.

My daughter pleaded with me to give up the chase, that it wasn’t worth the bother or the danger and since at times I think she is more wise and even more mature than me,( even though she is only twelve) I decided to take heed of her advice.

 

LESSONS LEARNT:

NEVER apply your own cultural norms to a foreign situation. Apparently in Greece, stores do not employ store detectives; they use uniformed security guards

DON’T wear a backpack shopping; they are easier to steal from and these people are well trained and nimble.

ALWAYS keep your cards and identification separate from your money and cheque books

DON’T pursue a thief. They usually work in gangs and use mobile phones to alert each other. One could end up dealing with several people and endangering the situation further…. (It is quite exciting though!!!)

Be particularly alert in crowded situations such as clamoring to get on a bus or shopping in a busy store. According to readers of the Athens News, groups of thieves operate slickly around the X 96 bus which transports people to the airport. They create bustle and confusion as they push to get onto a bus and whilst people are distracted, they rob them from their pockets, bags and backpacks.

A friend of mine has suggested we all carry our purses inside a bag that slips inside our clothing and we place mouse-traps in our bags.  Inhuman though it might be, I am sure it would be a really effective deterrent!!

 

Alison Lorentzos                                                   copyright 2009

 

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