My Life Adventures, Travel Experiences and Reflections

Wednesday

Paranoid in South America


Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption got me a little on edge but I was determined not to let fear dictate my itinerary. So I made it my business to prepare for the worst...

  • Criminals work in teams. One distracts you while the other steals from you. A well-known distraction is to have an older person fall into you while his/her accomplice steals your bag. Another one is when someone spills a drink on you and as they are helping you to dry off...well, you get the idea.
  • Pickpockets are everywhere.
  • Tourists are profiled by the clothes they wear - tennis shoes are a dead give-away..
  • Your chances of being kidnapped in South America are slim. 
  • Wearing jewelry is an open invitation to thieves.
  • Cell phones are hot ticket items in South America.
  • Hotel safes are not safe. The staff have keys.
  • Knives and broken bottles are weapons of choice. Rarely guns.

Was I paranoid? 
  • Our stash (for Passports/Cash etc.) was the toaster of the adorable little place we rented. I thought it was ingenious. 
  • Only enough money for the day, a credit card and drivers license were tucked securely in my (ahem) bosom.
  • My cellphone was in my other (ahem) bosom.
  • Nothing of value were in our pockets.
  • My camera was too large to be concealed - so I didn't take it.
  • Being on "high alert", I walked purposefully with a keen eye for suspects at all times.
Yes, I was paranoid. 

Fortunately, our month in South America was without incident. We witnessed extreme levels of poverty - unlike I have ever seen before and gained an understanding of just how enticing a foreigner wearing bling, carrying handbags on their shoulders and cameras around their necks would be to someone without shoes on their feet or food in their stomachs.


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