Pickpocketed, And Passport Replaced

cruizes

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The way I avoid being robbed is whenever I see a smiling Argentine woman, or worse, a friendly Argentine (!!!) I run in the other direction!
And if they say that we are going to be friends forever, which has happened quite a few times, run faster than you think that you possibly can run.
 

Redbeanz

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And if they say that we are going to be friends forever, which has happened quite a few times, run faster than you think that you possibly can run.
I'm not usually a Pollyanna, but would feel disloyal to Argentine friends if I didn't say how fortunate we have been to have been taken into the family by multiple generous, hospitable, loving Argentine friends. The passing years just deepen our friendships with all of them, and we are grateful that they have opened up their lives to us.

Simultaneously, I wonder what people from other countries must feel when they are in the U.S. and have the misfortune to meet North Americans who are dismissive, or who take advantage. It makes me cringe to think about it.
 

Noesdeayer

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Redbeanz:
True enough.However, there are generous,hospitable people everywhere even in the U.S. Some Argentines can also be dismissive and take undo advantage.It could happen to you sometime.
I have been in 12 Latin American countries and found this to be true in every one.Cuba stands out most in my mind because they had so very little materially to offer you.Just pure human heartfelt hospitality.
It goes around and comes around.
 
Sorry to hear this happened to you. I've had people try to pick my pocket in Paris and New York (and caught them by the wrists) but never here in BA.

That said: In big cities in general, use front pockets and inside pockets for valuables. I see a lot of Americans here with fat wallets or phones sticking half out of their back pockets and think, boy you're asking for trouble. Never, ever take your passport out with you in a foreign country unless you are going to and from a place you absolutely need it, like immigration or the bank. And if you are carrying something valuable, be aware of it, keep your hands away from your face and close to the pocket where it's being carried. This is something I picked up from growing up in LA and New York. I've lived/traveled in 34 countries... it's the same everywhere.


Some countries, like Thailand, have laws that say you have to carry your passport on you at all times as a tourist. Don't do it. Not worth it. When you go out, carry a color xerox of your passport's photo page. You will never have a problem with the police from that. Carry one (1) debit card and as little cash as you need. The only country where local police have actually asked to see my passport, ever, was Germany, and it was a bizarre and rare situation. If you are asked, you explain that your passport is back in the hotel safe, because it's too dangerous to take it out in the street with you. Trust me, the American consulate will respond if they throw you in jail for not carrying your passport a lot faster than they'll respond if you have your passport stolen. Don't ever sign the back of your credit cards, either. Take no guff from anyone that says you have to sign them. You don't. Not signing them gives you time to cancel them and identify the false charges in case they're stolen.

The US State Department has a website at http://travel.state.gov with safety & security concerns listed by country. This particular "mustard on your back" scam is probably the only thing that's copy/pasted for almost every single country in the world for a reason. It's very common. It's also easy to avoid. When someone walks up to you, stick a thumb in your pocket out of habit so you can feel if there are hands are going there.

It's a big world and there are plenty of bad folks but I have to strongly object to the guy who said he runs whenever he meets a "friendly Argentine". People in this country are extremely friendly and they are by and large very nice people. They can come off as almost too solicitous -- "come to my house! Have dinner with my family! Let's camp at the river!" From someone you just met. But they are generally just happy to meet you. That doesn't mean to let your guard down completely, but it's really uninformed if you think everyone being friendly with you in this country is trying to take advantage of you. That's definitely not true, and I hope your view of the country isn't changed by this. Like I said, it happened to me in Paris and NYC too.
 

Girino

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I see a lot of Americans here with fat wallets or phones sticking half out of their back pockets and think, boy you're asking for trouble.
Do you warn them when you spot them? I have been tempted to, but I don't want to sound like a crazy Cassandra (plus, my accent would put them off even more). You do it on the Internet and you're being nice, you do it in person and you sound crazy.

Last year, when my MIL visited I she was wearing a big golden pendant (fake gold, obviously) and it made me uneasy. I told her to hide it under her shirt. But I did it most for my own safety - even if it was a nice pendant with a golden touch, here she looked like Snoop Dogg. She is Argentine but hate it here and has been living away for the past 25 years, she hadn't been in the country for the past 12 years.

[speaking of Snoop, he will be here in San Isidro next March. Last time I read about him he was trying to fly from Calabria with half a million USD cash - should I warn him to pimp down?]
 
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