Robbed On A Bus
We knew better. Both me and my wife had a strong feeling we
shouldn't get on that bus in Cuenca, but neither of us said
anything. A taxi was two dollars, and the bus cost only
twenty-five cents. Ana sat down, but there was no room left
for me, so I was packed in with the other commuters standing
up. Almost immediately I noticed the drunk pushing his way
through the crowd, randomly going this way and that.
I knew somethimg was up, and instinctively reached into my
pockets to check on my money. We had just visited the ATM
that morning, and the $170 cash in my pocket was the most we
had carried in one place during the entire trip. It was
still there. The old guy pushed against me like he was
trying to find a place to stand comfortably. I checked my
A few minutes later some space opened up near Ana, and I
went over to her seat. I reached in my pocket again, and it
was empty. The other pocket was empty too. I hadn't felt a
thing. The old drunk was still on the bus. I looked over at
"We've been robbed," I told Ana. "All of it." I grabbed the
drunk, who was no longer acting drunk at all.
At the next stop we got off, dragging the thief with us. A
police officer appeared, and a crowd formed. The man was
very sober now, pulling out his pockets and insisting again
and again that he was inocent. He said we could search him
if we wanted. I searched him, but understood now that his
associate was long gone with the money, probably off the bus
at a previous stop.
Despite his begging, and the impossibility of getting the
money back, we had the officer take him to the police
station on his motorcycle while we followed in a taxi
(Paying with a twenty from under the sole of my shoe). We
filed a complaint, and he would spend the night in jail,
then be released for a lack of evidence in the morning. At
least his finger prints were on file now.
Travel Security Lessons
A money belt probably would have prevented the robbery.
Pockets that close help too, although I had a wallet stolen
from a zipered pocket once, and I didn't notice until forty
minutes later. At least it was a decoy-wallet, put there for
just such an occasion. My real wallet was safely hidden
elsewhere (another little travel security trick).
Carry your money in at least three different places. These
can include; under the sole of your shoe, in a pocket that
you pin inside your clothes, in your shaving kit. Also carry
two credit or debit cards in two separate and secure places.
Have the "lost or stolen" phone numbers in another place.
Dress properly. If the area you're visiting has much crime,
leave expensive watches and jewelry behind.
How About Romantic Africa?There are many things you can do to travel more safely. Of
Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasurs.com is pleased to have as a guest, travel writer and author Deanna Swaney.
course, the biggest lesson of our experience was obvious.
You have to learn to trust your intuition.