Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A word of advice: Hold on to your stuff!

Yesterday, my friend Emilia got robbed right in front of my eyes, without either of us seeing a thing.

A group of 6 of us went out to lunch to a pizza/ empanada place around the corner from our school (and my house), in happy, shiny, wealthy, "safe" Recoleta. I had my purse on my lap, as I always do because I'm paranoid. Charlotte and Emilia were seated across from me, and Charlotte had hr laptop at her feet, while Emilia had her bag by her left foot on the ground.

As we looked at the menus, none of us paid any mind to the well-dressed gentleman who came in and took a seat in the chair right behind Emilia. None of us also paid any attention about 5 minutes later when he got up without ordering and left. I was totally oblivious. Next thing we know, Emilia has realized that her purse which she'd put by her left foot was now by her right foot. She grabbed it, rummaged through, and lo and behold, both her wallet and cell phone were gone. Just like that. Amazingly, Charlotte's laptop wasn't taken.

It was AWFUL. These guys are GOOD at what they do. I mean, we all literally had no clue, and it all happened so fast. I felt so bad for her, as she had to buy a new cell phone, cancel her debit card, and deal with the general inconvenience, not to mention the utter feeling of violation, that comes with being robbed. I just feel lucky that it wasn't worse- at gunpoint, late at night, etc. I hear stories like that a lot too.

This is not to scare anyone-- I'm fine, she's fine. But I certainly learned my lesson-- never let ANYthing out of your sight! Never let your guard down. Hold on to your stuff, and carry as little as possible. Buenos Aires is lovely and all that, but there is also a lot of crime, and it can happen when you least expect it.