To know or not to know… yours truly, Confetti

To know or not to know… yours truly, Confetti

Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

’Tis the season to celebrate, (safely), mate! 

reaching delphi, confetti
Confetti blessings and celebrating life.


Confetti is just small pieces of coloured paper thrown to amplify any event's spirit. That's why you see them rain down during sporting victory ceremonies, entertainment finales and festive celebrations.


Ever wondered how this idea of paper throwing started?


Well, the tradition of throwing things (like mudballs and eggs) began in northern Italy long ago. According to records, it was in the late 19th century when paper confetti was introduced in Milan by an Italian businessman, Enrico Mangili. 


One of the things Doc and I enjoyed as much as watching colourful confetti was our visit to see Antoni Gaudí’s astonishing work at Park Güell in Barcelona. Just as expected, we were both absolutely mesmerised by this architect's style and structures. Everywhere we turned, we saw something refreshingly unexpected and welcomingly unusual. 


Note: this article is not about Park Güell, but I have included some pictures from this trip.

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Our everyday Gaudi  cookies . 


Wow! What was Gaudi thinking, we asked each other enthusiastically as we headed back to the metro station with the other mesmerised visitors. Along the way, we noticed many souvenir shops and cafés. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon, so naturally, we were incredibly grateful for the shade these shops provided.  We stopped at a couple of them for a bargain or two.  Whilst here, I took the opportunity to put my limited Spanish vocabulary to use. Doc showed off his too, which by the way, was far more advanced than the ten words I knew.

reaching delphi. park guell, gaudi, coffee
A playground for everyone.


We decided to grab a bite at one of these local cafés.

 

Buenas tardes.

 

Dos cafés por favor.

 

Si.


The waitress (thankfully!) understood our order for we got the coffee we requested. 

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Can you spot Sagrada Família?


After some warm sandwiches and two cafés con leche (Spanish hot espresso and milk), Doc performed another round of the usual travel health-check. Money. Keys. Camera. Passport. Backpack. Nothing lost, Uma. So far, you are doing well. We continued our descent to the station. 


reaching delphi, park guell, Gaudi
Mesmerised at Park Guell.

"Hold on!" I heard Doc call out. He kept touching his head. 


"Something wrong?" 

"Something's on my head."

"Confetti?" I looked up.

"No! Pigeon dropping?" 


I realised that there were many apartments with balconies on the next level. Families and friends occupied the tiny outdoor space, basking in the Mediterranean heat—reading, chatting, sewing, sipping coffee and beer. I noticed happy heads bobbing from some balconies. And true enough, there were hordes of pigeons above.


Just then, I realised that my back and head too, were wet. Doc's new beige backpack (the one you see in the first picture was after it was cleaned up), where he had our passports and money, now looked like an amateur’s mosaic piece. Unlike Gaudi's art, this wasn't pretty—it also smelled rotten. The two girls behind us too stopped as we stepped aside. They looked just as puzzled, their jackets and scarf also stained. It looked like someone from one of the apartments above had dropped something on us.


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People watching you watch people. It works both ways.


The nice girls offered us some tissues and said something more complicated than uno, dos, but we understood when they mentioned agua pipe about 30 meters away from the passing crowd. We followed them to a nearby park. Agua is water by the way.


At the park, these nice girls were very eager to clean up Doc’s backpack instead of their own belongings. We noted that the only water pipe did not have running water.


"Policia. Policia!" Doc shouted when he suspected something was amiss. 


The girls did not expect this. They immediately stopped offering their tissues, took their things and left. That's right, they just walked away! 


There were a couple of other people watching us around at the park, but they appeared unfazed.


reaching delphi. travel alert, watch, pigeon poo
Unfazed else where. This was not at the park.

I later found out that this incident was not uncommon and that usually syndicates worked in split groups. We could have lost a lot of valuables that day. Luckily, we realised the foul play early and were able to avoid it. But this incident left us both in shock for a long time. Hard lesson learnt, not everything that falls is confetti! So do watch out!



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Picking a yacht to Reaching Delphi


What I have learnt:

  • Laugh if you wish, but the sad fact is that pigeons do poo on our heads.  
  • Not every dropping on your head is party confetti . It is essential to distinguish what is and what isn't. 
  • Not all strangers who offer help are scammers but do be cautious when one takes you to a remote corner or tries to establish physical contact with you or your belongings. 
  • There are both good and bad apples in a basket. Most people in the world are generally sincere and nice. It’s sad that a few bad experiences can change our perception of the world altogether.
  • If being nice is your first nature, exercise it with caution.
  • This incident is what we classify as premeditated and organised crimes. They operated in split teams. Reread my experience—you’ll note several players. 
  • Keep within the public crowd and avoid being separated. Do not follow strangers asking for or offering help to a remote location, no matter how near or safe it may look.
  • Do not allow any stranger physical access to important belongings like your backpack or handbag.

reachingdelphi, travel alert, watch, coffee
Stay safe, stay focused, remember the landmarks.


  • Be aware of the nearest police/security personnel or station. Report such incidents. 
  • Know a few handy local words wherever you travel—in this case, verbalising aqua and policía at the right moment allowed us to stay safe. 
  • Pigeons are found everywhere and so are incidents such as this. So, watch out! 


Be jolly. Be safe. Fa-la-la-la-lala-la-la-la.  Watch out, be alert always! Wishing you safe and peaceful confetti travels, and remember - pigeons do poo on our heads. Do wear yours masks and practice social distancing when you are in public areas. Enjoy your coffee, and here is my very own latte art. 


reaching delphi, latte art, coffee
Yippee....my heart!





Footnote:
Regardless of whether you are a business traveller or vacationer, a one-time or frequent traveller – if you travel, you are exposed to risks. It’s important to understand that some of us are easier targets than others.

This series is dedicated to Doc, SV, who constantly reminded me to 'Watch Out!. Doc was a sensible traveller, while I, quite the opposite. Through Watch Out! Travel Mishaps from Reaching Delphi Travellers Alert series, I will share some of our travel misadventures with you. My aim is to create an awareness of such incidents and some useful suggestions to reduce the occurrence of unpleasant events. 

Follow Coffee Trail – Counting Stars, Reaching Delphi for travel updates and tips.

reachingdelphi, travel alert, watch, coffee
Stay safe, have peaceful travels.