And Then We Were Robbed

I have travelled all over the world and have never been robbed.  We came out of Colombia unscathed and unmolested.  We survived Rome without a pick pocket.  We rode the subway in Munich drunker than we should have without a bother.  We managed almost getting stranded on a volcano in Costa Rica.  I made an emergency evacuation out of the Ecuadorian Amazon as the country was shutting down in national protests with all of my travel essentials.  We were lost in Liberty City, Miami in the middle the night in a convertible with the top down and weren’t car jacked (we did almost run over a homeless man though).  We survived a hormonal tranny in Thailand who was upset we took its picture.

Opened our suitcase and...surprise!  Mr.s G's jewelry case is laying open and emptied.

Opened our suitcase and…surprise! Mr.s G’s jewelry case is laying open and emptied.

The closest we ever came was in Saint Thomas on a cruise.  The airline lost our luggage and we had to hit the K-Mart for some essentials.  Already with some clothes bought to survive the next couple of days from the overpriced tourist traps, we boarded an open-air taxi to the K-Mart for underwear and bras.  The open-air taxi was a pickup with benches in the bed.  The driver made a sudden turn down a dark alley and into an abandoned parking lot.  A man jumped out of nowhere and robbed the couple behind us.  We grabbed our newly bought clothes (the only we had) and ran as fast as we could to the tourist area to find a real cab.

My trick to avoiding robbery while travelling is to be smart.  I never wear expensive jewelry.  If I have a knapsack and am sitting, I tuck the strap under the leg of my chair or place it in my lap.  I boldly wear money belts.  In Italy, I bought a TraveOn carrying case for my camera. I lock any valuables in the hotel room safe.  I stay alert and in control of situations.

But I can’t always be in control of the situation or my goods.  For example, once I check my luggage into the airline, it’s out of my responsibility.  This was when we were robbed.  Somewhere between checking our luggage at Charlotte Douglas International and retrieving it at Cancun International, a hapless soul opened my wife’s suitcase and emptied it of her jewelry.  Mind you, it wasn’t of anything of monetary value, maybe a new retail value $200 max.  The point is that while our luggage was in the care of US Airways, someone violated our privacy, opened our suitcase, and searched for anything they could sell on the black market.  Upon arrival at our resort, she opened her suitcase to find her jewellery case opened and empty.

While the items had little intrinsic value, the sentimental value was priceless – jewelry bought in support of our church, earrings bought by her Mom in Penland, a favorite purple jewelry set.  Frankly, I expect better out of two major airports and an airline claiming they are responsible enough to society to undergo a major merger.  Now I begin a battle to reclaim the cost of our stolen items.  A cost that can’t repay my wife and her Mom shopping together in Penland, the town her uncle studied art in, for their matching jewelry.  No, we were violated of memories and the most the burglar will get is likely twenty five dollars.

What about you?  Ever been robbed while travelling?

12 responses to “And Then We Were Robbed

  1. My mother’s friend was pickpocketed in Spain. Luckily her passport wasn’t in her wallet, but all her cash and credit cards were gone. I’m thankful this has never happened to me though.

  2. I’m so sorry. That is terrible. It happened to me once in my hotel room (came back and some items were gone). So now I have a new rule–which is a bummer–women always want to look great and have special items with them on vacation. My new rule became “never leave home with something you don’t mind losing or getting stolen.” It’s not so much the places we went, it was the unpredictability of it. If going out of country bring two of everything, keep one on your person, one in hotel safe. on trains, give them what they need but keep extra copies in your bags and leave copies of ALL docs with a trusted friend at home. Sorry it happened.

    • Great rule on never leaving home with something you don’t want stolen. Overseas I do that always. I never where my good watch, etc. Those stay home. So what if I’m not super trendy in my photos. Truth is, I’m not at home either. Moral of the story here is i would have told my wife to place the jewellery in her carry-on if i had known. But i don’t play, “told you so games”. We all make mistakes.

  3. I was relieved of a purse in Manhattan once. A luckily foiled by my husband attempt happened at the Barcelona, Spain international airport when there was collusion between our taxi driver and the man waiting for us at the airport to take our luggage posing as a porter.

  4. That really sucks. Stuff was taken out of my mum’s case on her way back from Riga. And one of my student’s on her way back from Russia. Seems to be becoming more common. I normally breathe a sigh of relief once I check everything in – yes, I got it all here in one piece without being mugged… and that’s when it happens. Scummy people. It’s usually just silly little things as well like souvenirs and presents but you can’t get them back.

  5. No really robbed, but I got hit with the fortune teller in Granada. I knew I shouldn’t have stopped, but I had been traveling all day. She just kept increasing how many pesetas she wanted and just grab the largest note I had as I was checking my wallet. I saw another group on the other side of the building and yelled obscenities at them. Since then, I show my game face.

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