Lisbon - Commerce Square
Praça do Comércio
In my previous Lisbon blog I mentioned my experience with my friend at the Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) in Lisbon, Portugal. So here is the story…
My friend Kim and I decided to take an evening walk from our Airbnb to the Commerce Square, not even considering that the walk might get sketchy after the sunset.
We walk into the square and immediately get followed and stared at by a tall tan skinned man. I thought he seemed strange and kept an eye on him as we walked toward the river to get a view of the Jesus Statue. He must’ve noticed I was keeping an eye out for him and possibly took it as cue to approach us. He spoke with an accent and was trying to offer us cocaine, as you can imagine we freaked out, and I yelled at him “no, and go away!”. Before we knew it, his buddy appeared out of nowhere blowing us kisses. This was so strange, awkward, and scary, so we took off to the nearest restaurant and lost ourselves in the touristy crowd. In the corner of the square were a few police officers huddled together in conversation. Kim and I decided we should tell them what these men are doing.
As I replay this scene in my mind, its quite comical. Here are two American girls trying to report to these Portuguese police officers that there are big bad men in the square offering woman cocaine. For a while they just stared at us like we’re crazy. Only one of them seemed to understand what we were saying and answered that its fake cocaine, to ignore it, and not to worry about it… whaaaaaaat! We decided this was useless. So we found some outdoor seating at one of the restaurants facing the square and spied on the men. It didn’t take long for us to discover that there were not only 2, but about 10-13 of these guys working together. They would huddle, one of them would yell and push them around, and then they would disperse and approach people the same way they approached us, but without much luck it seemed. After we had enough of watching this scene repeat itself and the police do nothing, we started walking back towards the Airbnb.
This was the most nervous I’ve ever been walking after dark traveling to any city. What happened in the square continued in the streets. We were so nervous we were speed walking/running home. At some point a guy tried to even reach for me, but Kim pulled me in closer to her. Thank God we did make it safely to our Airbnb and decided we wont be venturing out in Lisbon after dark anymore.
The next day we did get back from Sintra after dark, but we took a taxi from the train station to the Airbnb.