Fortune Telling Near the Cathedral

Around the cathedral and in the Alhambra car park there are a number of gyspsy fotune tellers who offer a fortune selling service. It goes like this. They hand you a sprig of rosemary, you take it. You feel too embarrassed to give it back or throw it on the floor. They tell you your fortune although you don't understand a word. Then you feel so embarassed that you give then a euro just to get out of the situation.

A year or so ago there was talk in the newspaper about giving them free language classes and tourist information so they could maybe offer a better service. Nothing came of the idea.

It's an unusual way of making a living and the psychology of how it works is an interesting phenomenon. It's not a threatening or dangerous situation. If you don't want to get involved just refuse to take the rosemary or even throw it on the floor if you want.

There is an urban myth (which is probably true) of an American tourist who was not used to the Spanish money who gave one of them a 10 000 pesetas note ($60) thinking it was only small change. Rather than being pleased she looked at it in disgust as if to say "Are you so mean you are only going to give me that?". He promptly gave her another 40 000 pesetas. (a total of $300)

Catedral


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