Friday, May 23, 2008

Most of you know that the gypsies have been courting me to join their band of merry mischief-makers. I’ve been holding out for a proper dental plan and matching 401K but they want me to settle for some gold ring they keep picking up off the ground.

Walking home yesterday I saw the police harass some of my potential colleagues. I wonder why the police chose to pick on these three young ladies out of the hundreds of people milling about suspiciously in front of Notre Dame? I get the sense that “racial profiling” is not frowned upon here. It’s a shame, the Doyouspeakenglish girls probably work harder than anyone out there, except me*, of course.

*If you consider "thinkin' about stuff" as working.

10 comments:

Katia said...

These three ladies are ALWAYS hanging out here. Every part of Paris has it's "regular" gypsy(ies) begging for someone who speaks English. The police know this and these same police have probably stopped these same three girls 600 times.

David said...

First of all, these gypsies are Romanian gypsies, not to be mistook for the "real" French gypsies that you won't see (or rather won't notice) in Paris.

Then if they're getting controlled by the police and not other beggars, it's because they're constantly harassing people, which is more or less illegal (while simply panhandling is not).

And yeah, the police knows them, knows they'll stay there, but they still have to control them because that's the procedure.

Misplaced said...

I pass the Roma Gypsies at Notre Dame everyday- I have never seen them harrass anyone- they beg money if you say 'no' they move along.

Although I have seen tourists threaten them- one man (I'm embarrassed to say he was American) raised his fist as if to hit a gypsy girl who was asking if he spoke English and then chased her off. He was "protecting" his family i guess. We were all very impressed with his manliness. I suggest the police check the papers on that clown.

David said...

"harassing" might not be the appropriate word in English. In French it's "mendicité active."

There's a distinction in the eyes of the law between normal "mendicité" that is a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk and hoping people will give him money and them who go towards the people.

Thing is that they're not homeless and they belong to networks that exploit people in the most horrible ways sometimes... Look up "réseaux de mendicité" on the web...
The worst part being that these women are more victims than anything else in this whole thing.

nancy said...

You must admit that gypsies are amazingly consistent.

I just came over to say thank you for leaving a comment chez nous. I too just found your blog recently, and you really make me laugh out loud. And, yes our life here is interesting, but we haven't run into any pirates recently.

"*If you consider "thinkin' about stuff" as working." I think that you should keep working, because you have an interesting way of you "thinking about stuff".

Bill and Nancy on Eclaircie said...

Whoops, I forgot to say earlier that you were the very first person, who was not a friend, to comment on our blog, and wanted to thank you for that.

nancy

Tin Foiled said...

My experience was from shepherding a very young cousin through that particular crowded square. She fell for an admittedly transparent scam asking for change for 20€, and walking away while the other gypsy girls crowded my cousin.

I was close enough to grab her arm... even then, she attempted to "negotiate" until I sent my little cousin to fetch a nearby cop.

It is harassment, it is not harmless, and it's almost cruel to imply that these girls add local colour to the place...

Misplaced said...

I disagree, that entire exchange sounded completely harmless and being asked for money is not harassment. The sooner your young niece learns to not fall for these transparent scams the better off she will be. She probably also learned to count her change because some vendors will short change tourists. These are some of the lessons we get to learn when we travel. Whether we like it or not (it certainly isn't cruel) gypsies do add local color, as do the living statues, buskers and the guy who wheres flippers at the Pompido.

Paris police are permitted to ask anyone for their ID papers. Who else should we put on their list of undesirables?

Panic in New York said...

unemployed writers should be rounded up, unless they have rejection letters from legitimate periodicals.

Anonymous said...

I was in La Rochelle yesterday with my girlfriend and as we walked past a group of young girls a small girl held her hand out, this we ignored and were kicked and punched by the girl, not that it had much effect as she was only about 7 years old. The other girls who were in their teens seemed to think it was amusing, I just wondered if this child was being taught such behaviour.