Friday, March 13, 2009

The gold ring scam is very popular here

I am woken this morning, and indeed every morning, by the cleaning staff having a knees up outside my room. They talk incessantly and appear to use their mops as fighting sticks. It goes on all day – I am writing now at 3:00 PM and they are banging and crashing about out there.

We saw M the Crepe Maker last night and I had an excellent Montagnarde crepe and a nice chat in a melange of English very bad German and French.

After this Melissa took me on a tour of the bars from which she has been banned or in which she is merely Persona Non Grata. Her drinking patch covers an extensive area within district 18 and encompasses, I regret to say, some particularly unsavoury bars in the Pigalle and Clichy areas.

Melissa says that the bar from which she has been officially banned is the ‘skankiest’ bar in Paris. Its only advantage (as far as I can see) is that it remains open until 5:00 AM.

Well – you know how thirsty a girl can get at that time of the morning.

The photo they have of Melissa in their front window is terrible and I have offered them a new colour one.

OK so this is how the scam starts. On the periphery of my vision a person bends down and pretends to pick up a large ‘gold’ wedding ring and turns to me and says ‘Is this yours’. I say ‘no’ and they start to press me saying ‘you take it’ and trying to get me to take hold of it.

This happened to me in Wien a month or so ago in Beatrixgasse and again today in Rue des Abbesses.

Of course I am a certain mark because I am carrying a camera.

I mentioned it to Melissa at lunch and we weren’t sure about how it worked. Here are two variations.

This morning I forsook Coquelicot and took my business to La Villa des Abbesses.

My heart skipped a beat when I entered the café and the woman almost smiled at me - but I think she just had wind.

It was excellent. The breakfast was cheaper and the service was much, much better. I had my jus d’orange, croissants avec du beurre et de la confiture et un crème within two minutes of sitting down. Formidable.

I was so impressed we went back there for lunch and I had a truly outstanding salad with bits of fish in it.

We went for our daily cemetery outing - to Montmartre today - where we found many graves and almost as many cats. I had of course not taken my telephoto lens so most of the shots of cats have them a fair way away.

There are always tragic sights to be seen in this cemetery which is still used by those who have acquired plots. A young boy of about 6 who was buried there -very recently - as there was green carpet covering the grave.

Also a 26 year old woman and her one year old daughter who died on the same day in June 2000. On the headstone there is a photo of them together on the beach with their dog Gege – who also died on that same day.

As you can imagine, Melissa and I canvassed a number of bizarre possibilities about the circumstances of the woman, her child and the dog dying at the same time. We of course immediately discounted the boringly obvious one of a car accident and focused on more appealing (to us) scenarios such as tidal waves, lions and crocodiles.

Tonight we are going to a local Japanese restaurant where we will focus on raw fish.

Tomorrow – Les Egouts!


  1. I think I may have to cut Merlin's collar - it looks a bit weird and makes me look like a bad mother who doesn't own a pair of scissors.

  2. Scammers / hawkers are very fun to play around with.