So I have noticed gypsies since arriving in France (and also when I lived in Italy for a year) but as an American, it's hard for me to truly understand the social dynamic surrounding these nomadic people.
More or less the gypsies stay in camps, outside of cities and sometimes in cities. You can see their laundry hanging, naked children frolicking and caravans scattered around. But yesterday at the spot, I got a real up close and personal gypsy experience for the StuntBums logs.
I showed up to the spot, where I was meeting some out of towners for a Friday session. Normally our private spot is locked and protected by a huge gate and fence. But curiously the gate was wide open...I pulled in and saw my friends were already there, but were not in the normal riding spot.
Upon arrival, they said there were gypsies in the spot and clearly they were not going anywhere near them...which was odd to me - they're just people right? Can't we still ride...I was soon to learn why we could NOT still ride.
We called the cops, since it's private property I thought there must be something they could do. They arrived in force, two motorcycle cops then a car full of cops. They went to talk to the gypsies and quickly returned stating they "might" leave...but it would be a while.
It was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard as the French cops shrugged and left. We decided to go ride anyway. There were about 5 caravans and 30 people, who over the course of a few days had left our spot littered with trash and fire rubble. I unloaded and started to ride and quickly got harassed and cat-called by a Mercedes (ya, gypsies roll in style) full of men, which got me feeling really uncomfortable as the only female.
After a few minutes the cops showed up again and I witnessed the gypsies yell at them and completely disrespecting them...which left me speechless, mouth open and entirely shocked. Pull out a gun! Call the repo man! What are these frenchies doing getting completely walked all over by the very squatters they are supposed to be controlling!
As tension rose, I loaded up my Kawi and left with all my possessions before it was too late to do that. Clearly if I got robbed there would be no relying on THESE cops. While it sucks we lost the spot for a while I learned gypsies are not to be taken lightly and also the difference between American cops and French cops...but who's to say who is doing it right?