Saturday, October 24, 2009

Welcome to Athens: pick-pocketed

While we have met some of the most incredibly kind people along the way, we also have now experienced some of the world's worst: pickpockets. Throughout the world we have encountered folks who told tales of taking precautions and being on alert for criminals and still were crime victims. Guidebooks tell you to be on the lookout as well. We have usually been obsessive-compulsive about theft prevention. But we've now joined the ranks of pick-pocket victims.

Subway trains, tourist attractions, crowded shopping areas are all ripe for the picking (pun intended) and we usually are on high alert when in those places. I have a lock-hold grip on camera and purse, with bag clamped under the arm. Joel has hand in pocket and similar grips on bags. But we weren't on high enough alert in Piraeus as we caught the metro into Athens.

Hindsight is 20-20. I thought the man that blocked my way out of the doorway and down the isle was simply being rude. He continued to be 'rude' to Joel not letting him move past with suitcase and bag. I was so focused on Mr. Rude that I didn't pay attention to his two sidekicks; one of which removed Joel's wallet from his pocket so swiftly that he didn't realize it was gone until they had hopped off the train at the first stop out of the port.

I can tell you I am no longer the nice traveler on metro trains or buses; look at me for more than 30 seconds or glance at my purse, and I am likely to start swinging my umbrella at you.

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