Latin America, Travel, Travel Tips

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?