Do you speak English? Non, nein, nee. I don’t…except…

She saw me, and knew I was a tourist right away. She knew we all were. Thirty something tourists, one Canadian in the bunch, one American, twenty-nine Aussies, four Kiwis.

One tour guide.

This girl was holding a piece of cardboard, a piece of paper on it, accosting everyone she could.

“Do you speak English?” She burst out, staring at me and aghast and confused I shook my head no while our tour guide approached separating the girl from the group.

I’ve now been asked this question quite a bit, one after another converging on us in the tourist areas of Paris. They’re waiting for a yes,wanting to explain a fake cause,wanting to separate us from our herds, literally and figuratively.

And before you know it something is missing. A wallet. Some cash. Your camera. Your passport.

Now I don’t tell you this to scare you because I find barring any severe incidences that travel is wonderful, even with its risks.

Paris might be your city that you fall in love with. It’s culture, architecture and history wrapping you in a warm embrace.

Or it might be Barcelona, it’s markets lively, people passionate and good delicious.

But don’t take candy, flowers or petitions from strangers. Don’t open your wallet in the open and don’t wear a backpack if you can help it. Trust me. But don’t trust them. And if someone asks if you speak English, you don’t. You never do.


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