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|Travel Saftey - Using Intuition
"We've been robbed," I told Ana. "All of it." I grabbed the
thief, who was no longer acting drunk at all. It was a lesson in
It started when both my wife and I had a strong feeling we
shouldn't get on that bus in Cuenca. Neither of us said
anything, because a taxi was two dollars, and the bus cost only
twenty-five cents. It seems a bit TOO frugal now.
Ana found a seat, but there was no seat for me. I was packed in
with the other commuters standing up. I noticed the drunk
pushing his way through the crowd, randomly going this way and
that, and I knew somethimg was up. I instinctively reached into
my pockets to check on my money. I had just visited the ATM. The
$170 in my pocket was the most cash we had carried during the
entire trip. Still there. The old guy pushed against me like he
was trying to find a place to stand comfortably. I checked my
Five minutes later some space opened up near Ana, and I moved
over to her. When I reached into my pocket again, it was empty,
and the other pocket was empty too. I never felt a thing. I told
Ana, and saw that the old drunk was still on the bus.
We got off at the next stop, dragging the thief with us. An
officer appeared, and a crowd formed. The thief was sober now,
pulling his pockets out and insisting again that he was inocent.
Search him, he said, and I did, but I understood now that his
associate was long gone with the money, probably off the bus at
a previous stop. His role had just been to distract me and push
me into the right place on the bus.
He begged to be let go, and we knew we couldn't get
back. Nonetheless, 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. Filing a complaint
at least meant he would spend the night in jail, and though he
would be released in the morning for a lack of evidence, his
finger prints are on file now.
Travel Safety Lessons
Most likely, a money belt probably would have prevented the
robbery. Closing pockets help too, although I had a wallet
stolen from a zipered pocket once, and I didn't notice until
forty minutes later. Fortunately it was a decoy-wallet, put
there for just such an occasion - another little travel safety
Other travel safety tricks? Put your money in at least three
different places, like under the sole of your shoe, in a pocket
you pin inside your clothes, and in your shaving kit. Carry two
credit or debit cards in separate and secure places. Carry a
list of "lost or stolen" phone numbers in another place. In
areas with much crime, leave expensive watches and jewelry
Learn a few tricks and you can travel more safely. Our
experience also shows the importance of learning to trust your
intuition. That was our lesson in travel safety.
About the author:
Steve Gillman hit the road at sixteen, and traveled the U.S. and
Mexico alone at 17. Now 40, he travels with his wife Ana, whom
he met in Ecuador. For more on travel safety,
plus travel stories, tips and a free e-book, visit: