WP Blogger Cheri says ~ A place reveals itself on its streets, from pedestrians strolling during lunch time, to performers entertaining tourists on sidewalks, to the bustle of local markets, and more. A snapshot of a street (or road or path) can tell a tale.



Barcelona specializes in bustle. Like crowd fave shell games.

I visited Barcelona’s main pedestrian drag. It goes from rich (the elegant main square) to rough (the docks and port area).


The Ramblas is an endless current of people and activity ~

CIMG3951 the grand opera house, elegant cafés like El Fornet,

CIMG3915prostitutes, artists, street mimes, outdoor bird markets, and gnarly thefts, cons and street scams.

Pickpockets and tricksters find rich pickings here.

When you watch the “performance”, you are not aware of the 10 to 15 people involved. The tourists (and shills) all gather around the person shuffling matchboxes.  The mark is then attracted to the crowd to see the performance. The ‘tourists’ bet on where the pea is. The mark watches, amazed to see that he can guess correctly where the pea is every time. Other ‘tourists’ (more shills) pass by and join in – some win, some lose, but then win again and walk away with money. Each time, the mark thinks he guessed correctly where the pea is. The host of the “performance” invites the mark to bet. (I can say with certainty that the pea is almost never under any of the matchboxes.) The mark puts down his bet and, sure enough, he’s wrong and loses his money. If he should “win”, you’ll see the muscle ~ an easy-to-spot Big Big Man ~ follow him and get the money back by intimidation or theft.

The best thing that you can do

when you see this street “performance”?  

Walk on by.

Toni 3/28/14

See MORE streets come to life here.


  1. I’ll finally get to visit Barcelona in November, so I’ll pass on the word–no shell games! We tourists know enough to cling to our purses, but as a newbie I recall thwarting a pickpocket in Nassau as he circled back to where we were standing after asking about the time. No more traveling with a wallet in a back pocket! Luckily, my hand was faster than his that night, so Larry got to keep our cash. Wonder woman for a day–ha! M.


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