June 10, 2010

To Catch A Thief

The past month has been super busy, but I'm happy to report that as of Wednesday I finished my first semester of grad school! It feels good to be done...for now. You always think that not having much to do sounds like a good deal until you realize that it's more boring than it is fun. I still have work to keep me semi-busy though, so I'm not too worried. My group of friends, as expected, is dwindling. Everyone is wrapping up and heading back to the states. These three gems (from left: Libby, Peter, Kate) left in May and the rest of my non-school friends will be gone by July! Time to branch out...

This Friday I'll be traveling to Norway to see what Scandinavia is all about. Jaime is currently there for about a month taking a class so I deci
ded this was a good excuse for me to take a little trip. Tickets were only $30...the joys of traveling with RyanAir! I think J will probably get sick of me though...a week after I come back from Norway I'll be setting up camp in her apartment for two weeks while I'm between homes.

A couple of weekends ago the girls and I were trying to have one last hurrah before Libby and Kate went back to the states. So one Friday, we went to a place in Paris where there's a great view of the city on the steps of a famous basilica called Sacré-Cœur. We camped out on the steps with food + wine along with many other people, mostly American tourists. The view is amazing during the day and the night so it's no wonder why this spot becomes sort of a tourist trap at all hours.

Here we are in the thick of it...

So this is the whole group, let's call this the before picture (from left: me, Hannah, Libby, Sara, Kate, Sarah).
Since this area attracts so many tourists, there are a lot of people trying to make money by entertaining the visitors. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for these things and usually find them pretty amusing. The entertainment on this particular night was among the best I've seen in Paris and we totally lucked out and ended up having really good seats on the steps to watch two crazy guys light sticks on fire and throw them around. So after the first "show" these guys did (see video of the maniacs below) it started to get dark and the crowd grew. I stood up and and very quickly noticed a guy sitting really close to where my feet were. One step up, I had my iphone (the love of my life) and my camera wrapped up in my scarf sitting by my purse. I went to go move my things because I didn't like how close this kid was to my stuff when I realized my phone was gone. I knew that these two things had both been by me and not in the bag I had with me so, like a crazy person, I immediately I grabbed on to the guy's shirt collar from the back in case he tried to move (I was a little worried that when I grabbed him he didn't move at all, actually - so now I was thinking "Great, I have a firm grip on some random kid's shirt and I'll look like a jackass when I find my phone in my bag"...but I didn't let go.). My friends were wondering what I was doing so I said "this kid has my phone!" and freaked out a little (a lot). So Kate told me to look through my purse quick to make sure it wasn't in there and so I let her take over the shirt grabbing responsibilities (the kid is still not moving) and Sarah was smart and called my phone really quickly (this whole situation really all happened in a matter of about 20 seconds) and sure enough his pants lit up and started vibrating...my phone! Thanks kid, for stealing my phone and shoving it down your pants. So he gives it to me and in the heat of the moment I might have kicked him in the back and smacked him on the side of face. Ok, I definitely did. I don't know what got into me. Surprisingly, this didn't phase him much so I made him get up and leave. Sarah got a picture of me making the guy leave and we'll call this the after picture...
Well that's only the first part of the story. Not very long after this, Sarah noticed him sitting above our group now and she saw that he had a wallet in his hands. It turns out that he had been digging around Sara's (not to be confused with Sarah with an h) backpack and he had her wallet! So we got her wallet back and he left. Again. Shortly after this, some guy came down to talk to us and it turns out he was an undercover cop and he wanted to make sure we had everything. Well we thought we did until Sara realized she didn't have her phone. So a few of the girls ran to find the police and in the meantime Kate had called Sara's phone and the police answered. And at this point, it's off to jail for Kate and Sara...the police needed someone to file a police report so that they had enough dirt on this guy to arrest him finally. So the rest of us headed home and the other girls got to hang out with the cops for a little while and were driven home in their squad car eventually. Unfortunately, Sara did end up losing some money but in the end everything worked out. This was my first time being robbed in Paris so I was surprised when it happened. I feel like Paris is pretty safe, but like anywhere, you have to keep a close eye on your things (especially in tourist areas).

Here's a video of the awesome pyro guys who were inadvertently keeping onlookers nice and distracted: