Leipzig. A medium sized city with a university, large green spaces and lots of nice people. Who would’ve thought that you’d have to pay attention to frauds there? I mean I’ve been to giant cities where you pay attention to pick pockets and frauds, but I thought Leipzig wouldn’t be like that.
I thought Leipzig would be a nice little city full of history. Old buildings, each with it’s own story….
Well, I was proven wrong…
Let me tell you the story of my birthday in Leipzig. Well part of it…the rest of the story of the day will be up soon:-)
For the complete guide of Leipzig on “How to spend 48 hours in Leipzig – History, Architecture, Art, Food and Fitness included!” click here! Don’t let this daunt you, Leipzig is a great city and worth visiting…when you keep my story in mind, you’re 100% on the safe side…
Anyways to the story now…it goes exactly like this….
I was super pumped. It was my birthday after all and I was in Leipzig, a city I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. Who wouldn’t be pumped about that?
Plus the sun was out shining and it was all so beautiful. I hadn’t seen the sun in quite a while and so that made me extra happy.
After breakfast, we started walking into down town, just down the main street where we’d walked the night before. We looked at buildings, I snapped away with my camera which was now charged…
we just walked around and got to know the city a little by foot. It wasn’t long after we entered town that we were on this giant street where all the big companies have their huge stores. I found an enormous flower shop there and was just marvelling at all of natures beauty so perfectly put together into arrangements in pots and baskets. I was just so alive in this moment, so happy, dressed in a dress I had last worn in Toulouse, France last year, when it had been warm enough. It had not heated up enough to wear it the rest of the year back in Germany, so the dress had been in my wardrobe for a long time.
But now the sun was shining, the flowers were gorgeous and it was my birthday. It was a perfect day.
Because when I left the flower shop I’d lost my other half. All alone I’d been so caught up with looking and adoring the flowers that I hadn’t noticed the time passing. (Note to anyone who’s going to travel with me and wants see things in a short amount of time: don’t let me into or near a flower shop, it’s only a matter of hours until I find my way back out;-) The same applies to bookshops…very dangerous;-))
Anyways, I just kept going down the large street, not worrying too much. There were a lot of people with me on it and I stopped shortly to clap for some street musicians. I was happy. I really was. Enthusiastic.
Then walking on the street, it started getting emptier. There were only a few people on it now. I stopped a short time to take a bunch of photos (it’s now not a matter of zoom and click anymore, I’ve changed to manual mode and changing the F-stop and shutter speed takes a little longer than just shooting in in auto mode. But it’s fun and the pictures are much better now! If you want me to do a post on how I shoot in manuell mode now, let me know in the comments!!) and when I turned back to keep walking, a man of maybe 25 years, a tiny little bit shorter with me walked into my direction in a very fast pace. I didn’t know whether he was heading for me or not so I just walked straight forward. But he was heading for me. And he didn’t hesitate just one second, he walked in the very direction I was walking, just towards me, his arms wide open. This all happened in a matter of not more than 10 seconds.
So fast that I had no time to think and therefore had no idea how to react.
I was taken by surprise, when a second later he had me half in his arms, well his arms were still spread wide to stop my way of walking and eliminating any possible way I could have avoided him by just passing by.
He was close, real close. I felt uncomfortable. Taken aback. By surprise. I had that what you would call by an animal “state of shock and no movement”. He stood right in front of me a sly smile on his face. I was perplexed. I didn’t know what to do. My first instinct was to escape, go away, keep on going straight on, but his arms were like those of a cage for a wild animal that needs to be tamed. He looked at me and then showed me a piece of paper and mentioned towards it. He didn’t say a word. He mentioned at his ears.
I was still too perplexed to do anything so I read what was on there. It said “Petition for a house for deaf people in Leipzig, please sign and donate below.” Having spent a part of my childhood in class with disabled children and people, I have a sensitive spot for them in my heart. The guy smiled at me and put a pen on the paper motioning me to sign it and then holding it right into my face. He didn’t say a word.
Just kept mentioning at his ears.
But I know deaf people, they have their own language and he didn’t seem to know that language.
Still, I was as naive as one could be. All the things that felt off, I noticed and didn’t act.
God, I should have just smiled back and kept on going about my day. Nothing of what he was doing felt right to me, but I was in too good of a mood, he had found the right way to get me startled and I’m just a too good of a person to say no to “social” things. So, this idiot right here, aka me, signed this stupid paper and scratched the change left in my pocket together to pay 6 Euros.
Why the f*ing heck did I do that? I still curse at myself…
When I think back now that petition didn’t even have a real logo on it, there was one on the bottom but it looked cheap. Plus, the guy wasn’t even wearing an identification to identify himself – like I know it’s mandatory in my german hometown.
But really this was the most stupid situation ever. He just really used my enthusiasm, my warm heart and his skills of making me feel like a bad person if I’d walked on (which was impossible, because he was blocking the way). And he just didn’t only use those things.
He abused them.
The story goes on. This guy, happy and content now, gives me a spontaneous kiss somewhere into the air next to my right cheek. I stand there perplexed and puzzled. What in the f*ing world gave him the right to do so? He took off straight afterwards.
A few meters further someone addressed me. It was a medical man from Syria, now working in Germany. He asked if I just signed the paper. I answered with a blank yes. He kept on going and said that it was fake. He said he just heard the guy calling to a girl and then seconds after pretending to be deaf. Plus it’s illegal to approach people with such things, limiting them in walking on. You’re allowed to stand there and wait for people to come, but you’re certainly not allowed to cage people in with your arms.
It had been all a fraud and I totally fell for it.
He said we should call the police if I still remember everything. Sure I did. But the moment I turned around there was no trace left of this awful man. We walked in the direction he had left, but it was like he had been swallowed by the earth beneath out feet.
Disappeared into thin air.
And there was no police officer around. He could be anywhere now and laughing at my stupidity. Doing whatever with my money and signature.
I was totally devastated, angry, upset and really, really mad. At me. At him. At that situation.
Firstly, I was absolutely mad at me for falling for such a cheap fraud. I’ve been to so many giant cities, I’ve lived in them and I always knew how to identify and avoid frauds and wrong people. But I was too naive to think that there would be any here as this is a cute city, with a lot of nice people, nature and a huge university. That was just stupid and naive of me. Plus, all the things I noticed felt off and I didn’t react.
But I’m going to try to see it as a little bit positive… It was a huge lesson.
I am never ever going to fall for anything like that ever again. Or at least I will give my very damn best.
Secondly, I was so mad with him. For besetting me. For lying to me. For pretending he was deaf when he was not! There are real people out there who have the huge disadvantage of hearing nothing. These people have dignity and pride too and you just can’t go pretending you’re deaf to earn money! That’s completely using and abusing and disregarding a whole group of people! That’s absolutely wrong and I feel so angry inside. There are people in actual need of help and he’s pretending to be one of them to earn money!! That’s just pathetic and heartless. Plus everything he did was illegal. Oh, how I wish there had been a police officer around. But of course this criminal chose a time when there was none.
Thirdly I was mad at the situation entirely. He had completely used my mood and now it was gone. My euphoric birthday was ruined, because inside of me I kept scowling at him, my own stupidity and the timing. Had I stayed a bit longer in that flower shop, all of this had not happened.
But going about “what if’s” is a waste of time. That’s why I’m going to take this as a huge lesson learned and hope that you will learn from it as well – because one person is enough to make this mistake for a lot of people to avoid!
The lesson is the following: “Always listen to your gut in new and weird situations! Always be sceptical of what anyone is trying to sell you or have you pay/sign/.. anything! Don’t underestimate the possible crime even in “harmless” cities. And don’t let something like this ruin your birthday.”
It ruined it for a couple of hours, but in the late afternoon I had already gotten over it mostly and was able to enjoy the rest of my birthday! 🙂 That as a positive note at the end of this post….and some more flowers!!! ‘Cause I’m obsessed…
Until next time, when I tell you about the rest!