24 September, 2012

How to: get pick-pocketed / Como dar papaya

Well, this week I'm grateful for something that may surprise you: I'm grateful for being pickpocketed!

Last Tuesday I was happily minding my own business (mistake #1) on the way home from work. I got on the right bus (something that still makes me feel proud every time I do it - to the foreigners who've been here longer than I have: does the triumphant feeling ever go away? :D ) and sat near the back doors so that I could get off the bus easily. Nearing my 'stop' (ie: stretch of pavement) a woman got up in front of me and waited with her hand on the bell (on Colombian buses there is only one button to ring the bell, unlike in London where there are buttons all over the place). I asked her to ring for me please, and a couple of guys stood up behind me as if they wanted to get off at this stop too (it's next to a transmilenio footbridge and major crossroads - it's usually popular so I didn't think anything of it). When the bus screeched to a halt there was a polite kerfuffle of the 'you first, no, you first' type. I ended up getting off first, and... now that I think about it... last too. I don't believe the woman or the two guys got off with me. They stayed on the bus - as did my purse (with a pair of earrings that were gifted to me in it - nooooo! ), my diary (Why? What on earth did they think it was? Or do Colombians usually keep their cash in their diaries?) and my beautiful (I made it myself) little notebook in which I had not only tucked my ID cards, but had written all the useful buses, fun restaurants and knitting shops down in.

At this point I invite you to insert an appropriate string of expletives into the narrative. I'd provide my own selection but I know my grandmothers are going to read this. 

So, why am I grateful for this? Several reasons:
  • I didn't have that much money with me in the first place. Yes, it was enough to buy me breakfast for a month, but in English money it was only about £20.
  • There was absolutely no incriminating useful information in my diary whatsoever. For the last few weeks my timetable has been regular enough that I haven't needed to write down my classes in it, and I never got around to putting addresses or phone numbers in it. It had been a present though :(
  • I have several more pretty little notebooks that I've made, so losing just one isn't a big deal. One of the ID cards inside it was from my old job, and therefore useless when not at that particular school, so no big loss to me. The other was, instead of being a real Cedula (official Colombian ID card) just the contraseña - an almost useless piece of paper that definitely won't let anyone open any bank accounts etc in my name. 

So, all in all it could definitely have been a lot worse. I didn't even realise they'd taken my things until two or three hours afterwards - vastly preferable to being mugged, wouldn't you say?

The moral of the story: wear angry boots more often :D

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