Beware of the Rosemary

Though I’m sure most of you reading my blog will not be touring Granada anytime soon, I know at least one of you is. So this post is both for you and for everyone else just to learn about because I find it interesting and so maybe you will too.

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
You see (or maybe I just see because TLC is a staple among my friend circles and therefore is always playing in the background) these Gypsy shows on television all the time. Crazy, scandalous, flashy women and cat-calling, macho, sex-addicted men who marry into their community and have gypsy children who become duplicates of their parents. It’s so easy to get an image in your head of what a gypsy is because of how the media portrays them that you could be staring an actual gypsy in the face and not even have a clue. Well, it happened to me and luckily I was able to shed the image of what the media tells me a “gypsy” is and develop my own.

The Cathedral
My favorite places to explore in Granada are the streets and shops surrounding the cathedral. Not only is the building magnificent in its architecture and it’s stature, but the streets surrounding it are filled with a blend of different cultures, with a particularly heavy Arab influence. The people sing and play music, vendors have very unique shops, the tea shops smell incredible, and there is something colorful and interesting to look at in every direction. For that reason, I like spending time on the streets surrounding the cathedral.


The Gypsies
Today, like usual, I was wandering the streets around the cathedral and paused to listen to a gentleman who was playing a steel drum just for a moment. Out of the corner of my eye among the many other people crowding the streets a woman dressed in a colorful top, grey sweater, and long braided hair approached me faster than I would have liked. She was carrying a basket filled with dried herbs and was clutching a handful of rosemary sprigs.She shoved the sprigs in my face telling me that they were a gift and that I should take one. Luckily I remembered back to my first day in Spain the advice of one of my API coordinators, Lydia. The “gitanos” (gypsies), she told me, will try to give you free rosemary sprigs, trying to convince you that it will bring you health. They seek tourists and once a person reaches to grab a sprig, the gypsy will grab your wrist and won’t let go until you let her read your palm, she told me. Then, because she provided you with tales of your future, she will inform you that you owe her an obscure amount of money- sometimes up to 50 Euro. Beware of the rosemary.

Luckily, I immediately remembered that these women were up to no good, trying to con non-Spaniards out of money, and I simply replied “no, gracias” and quickly moved away. These women aren’t dangerous, scandalous, or flashy like the media would have you believe. They are simply women looking for money. Sure, it’s not really just- conning unsuspecting visitors out of money by giving them a palm reading that the didn’t even ask for…but they’re not nearly as crazy as what I’ve seen on TV. At least not the gypsy women in the south of Spain.

I’m glad that I was able to at least form a new opinion about what an Andalusian gypsy is and also that I wasn’t scammed out of money. But my purpose for writing this post is to inform unsuspecting visitors of the same advice I was given in my first days in this beautiful country: Beware of the Rosemary.




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