As I’m preparing for a two-week trip to England, husband is on business in Argentina. Lazy blogger that I am, I’m relaying an e-mail of his. I’ve seen all the typical European pickpocketing scams–I’ve had people trying to give me fake gold rings they found on the street. I’ve had babies practically thrown at me. But you gotta hand it to the South American criminals. Read on and let me know if you’ve ever seen this scam before.
Tonight I was the victim of a pickpocket, the first time in my life.
I keep my passport, credit cards, and “big money” in a little folio on a lanyard, and the lanyard is always strung around my belt. Most of the time the folio is actually inside my pants, it is hard to get to, even for me.
I keep “accessible” money folded in a front pocket, with the big bills on the inside, smaller bills outside.
So, on the way to dinner tonight (It was a fine dinner, the restaurant has a gigantic wood firepit in the front window, with various racks of rib and other meats impaled next to the fire), I get the bad luck of bird droppings landing all over me. My colleague was next to me, but it missed him, more or less. A woman was nearby, she was so close that surely she was a victim too. She pulled out a kleenex, and helped me wipe it off. . . yes, it was also on my trousers. Colleague helped too. Indeed, the people here are friendly, just like the taxi driver woman this afternoon who took it upon herself to teach me some Spanish.
Unfortunately, I have some experience with bird droppings. These were odd in that they had a sour vinegar-like smell. Pretty disgusting, and something I wanted to get off of my clothes, . . . PRONTO! Yes, I know, “pronto” is Italian, but that’s close enough, my lousy Italian is helpful here too.
When it came time to pay the bill at the restaurant, that’s when it sank in that my pocket cash was gone. That’s when I quickly figured out that the bird incident was contrived, and that bird shit STILL does not smell like salad dressing, even in the southern hemisphere. I’m trying to calculate the loss, it is somewhere in the realm of $75. Everything in the lanyard-folio is still with me, including my passport and a few hundred US$. That is where I also had some reserve Argentina pesos.
The hotel gave me a new pass card, and said that the old one is now invalid. I told them about the incident, and the young woman at the desk seemed to be familiar with the ruse.