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Be very careful in Barcelona

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Yeah, in Barcelona 2017 at La Rambla some guy wearing (believe it or not) a black and white striped t shirt walked up to DW's travel purse to check if it was zipped up. I gave him the expletives in English, he backed off!

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10 hours ago, johnjen said:

Yeah, in Barcelona 2017 at La Rambla some guy wearing (believe it or not) a black and white striped t shirt walked up to DW's travel purse to check if it was zipped up. I gave him the expletives in English, he backed off!

My anti-theft purse just arrived today! Will definitely have to remember to get in the habit of using the locks on it. 

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On 5/27/2019 at 12:02 AM, erby2283 said:

My anti-theft purse just arrived today! Will definitely have to remember to get in the habit of using the locks on it. 

Always good to have. DW's has a steel cable in the strap, RFID lined, locks only she can open, etc. What kind did you get? She might shop for another one soon.

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On 5/27/2019 at 12:02 AM, erby2283 said:

My anti-theft purse just arrived today! Will definitely have to remember to get in the habit of using the locks on it. 

 

 

The shoulder bags and purses with zipper locks are a nice deterrent as long as they are engaged.  Sometimes it's easy to forget the extra snap lock or it gets tedious to keep using it.  Got to make it a safety habit!

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3 hours ago, johnjen said:

Always good to have. DW's has a steel cable in the strap, RFID lined, locks only she can open, etc. What kind did you get? She might shop for another one soon.

It took me forever to make a decision. I'm used to carrying a backpack so I was going to go for a anti-theft backpack type  but I felt that would add to my insecurity bc I can't see behind me and bc we are taking so many tours, I didn't want to constantly have to take it on and off when sitting down when getting back on the vans or sitting down to eat. So I went with this one. Nice size - I like it. Not too big and not too small. And I also like the additional zipper pocket inside for my cards and passport (not that I'll be carrying my passport when I get to the cruise portion of the trip). https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B9VQL9R/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

44 minutes ago, evandbob said:

 

 

The shoulder bags and purses with zipper locks are a nice deterrent as long as they are engaged.  Sometimes it's easy to forget the extra snap lock or it gets tedious to keep using it.  Got to make it a safety habit!

Yes! I just have to remember to use it but I think I am so paranoid about it that it won't be a problem. My boyfriend just wants to use a safety pin on his front pants pocket. I was trying to talk him into a belt I saw that had a zipper on the inside that he could put a credit card and cash in but he wasn't feeling it. lol

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Just remember slash proof bags can still be grabbed.   Better to keep your valuables in a money belt under your clothes.

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It's so sad that people have to protect their valuables on their person while on holiday. We spent over 2000 euros over two days during our stay in Spain. Got robbed (as you know) and will likely never go there ever again. I hear that this happens ALL OVER Europe and there is very little that is done to the thieves if they are caught. So, they won't get my money anymore, whether I hand it over to them willingly or not.

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We saw lots of "backpacks" being carried frontwards in Barcelona as a deterrent.  

 

I can't agree with the comment about this "happens all over Europe".  That would be like saying I got robbed in Miami and I hear it happens all over the US.  We spent time in Italy, Greece and Croatia, and never heard or witnessed any elaborate scams like the bird crap ploy.  Some pickpockets plied Rome, but we weren't affected.

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On 5/28/2019 at 11:12 AM, bennybear said:

Just remember slash proof bags can still be grabbed.   Better to keep your valuables in a money belt under your clothes.

See I just don't feel as safe with money belts. Especially if I am wearing something that doesn't have belt loops. Wouldn't they only need to unsnap the clips and away they go? I know it can be worn under the clothes but still, would seem easier for them to just unsnap and run versus trying to slash an anti-theft/slash resistant purse. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, evandbob said:

We saw lots of "backpacks" being carried frontwards in Barcelona as a deterrent.  

 

I can't agree with the comment about this "happens all over Europe".  That would be like saying I got robbed in Miami and I hear it happens all over the US.  We spent time in Italy, Greece and Croatia, and never heard or witnessed any elaborate scams like the bird crap ploy.  Some pickpockets plied Rome, but we weren't affected.

Perhaps your opinion would be different if you were affected. Don't get me wrong, there are areas in every state, province and country that this stuff  happens. Should it? No, it should not. We absolutely LOVED our cruise - it was the best time we have ever had. The food. The people. The sites. All were amazing. Not being able to let your guard down for fear of being robbed should never happen. Anywhere. The fact that a state, province or an area of any country is "notorious" for this type of behaviour is just wrong in my opinion.

Edited by above sea level cruiser

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I just read on a roll call today that a woman was pick pocketed in Kotor.  She said she let her guard down bc she wasn't in one of the cities more known for this type of activity.  She and her husband were climbing the fortress and on the way down, a woman slipped in between her and her husband on the steps. When she got back to the ship, she noticed her wallet was gone - DL and some euros were gone.  

 

I am of the opinion that I will be so worried about becoming a victim that I will not enjoy myself. I hope that not to be the case. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, erby2283 said:

See I just don't feel as safe with money belts. Especially if I am wearing something that doesn't have belt loops. Wouldn't they only need to unsnap the clips and away they go? I know it can be worn under the clothes but still, would seem easier for them to just unsnap and run versus trying to slash an anti-theft/slash resistant purse. 

 

Honestly a real money belt is around your waist under your clothes and there is no way a pickpocket can get at it.   They won’t even see it!    It’s not a fanny pack!  

 

We we have been travelling to Europe since the 70s and have never lost anything from our money belt.  You put it on and forget about it!  Nothing to worry about,  you need money go to a restroom and carry a throwaway with just a small amount of cash. Easy and I too think Europe is safer overall than the US.  

 

Just be be prepared and you will have nothing to worry about.  It is the people with wallets that are easily accessible that are the victims.  

809D6720-F6A1-4C01-9290-CD023DD5CA19.png

Edited by bennybear

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46 minutes ago, erby2283 said:

I just read on a roll call today that a woman was pick pocketed in Kotor.  She said she let her guard down bc she wasn't in one of the cities more known for this type of activity.  She and her husband were climbing the fortress and on the way down, a woman slipped in between her and her husband on the steps. When she got back to the ship, she noticed her wallet was gone - DL and some euros were gone.  

 

I am of the opinion that I will be so worried about becoming a victim that I will not enjoy myself. I hope that not to be the case. 

Don't be worried to the point that you won't enjoy yourselves. Just be vigilant and make sure that you don't carry any more things than you need. I know it sucks. Its just not right and its not normal for most of us. 

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35 minutes ago, bennybear said:

 

Honestly a real money belt is around your waist under your clothes and there is no way a pickpocket can get at it.   They won’t even see it!    It’s not a fanny pack!  

 

We we have been travelling to Europe since the 70s and have never lost anything from our money belt.  You put it on and forget about it!  Nothing to worry about,  you need money go to a restroom and carry a throwaway with just a small amount of cash. Easy and I too think Europe is safer overall than the US.  

 

Just be be prepared and you will have nothing to worry about.  It is the people with wallets that are easily accessible that are the victims.  

809D6720-F6A1-4C01-9290-CD023DD5CA19.png

To say that Europe is safer than the US is a bit of a stretch. Especially if we are talking pickpockets. I have never ever encountered a pickpocket in my life, until we went to Spain. That said, It's quite obvious that Europe views thievery as a petty crime and chooses to do very little about it. We don't see it that way, we see it as an invasion of our personal space and stealing from us.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, above sea level cruiser said:

Perhaps your opinion would be different if you were affected. Don't get me wrong, there are areas in every state, province and country that this stuff  happens. Should it? No, it should not. We absolutely LOVED our cruise - it was the best time we have ever had. The food. The people. The sites. All were amazing. Not being able to let your guard down for fear of being robbed should never happen. Anywhere. The fact that a state, province or an area of any country is "notorious" for this type of behaviour is just wrong in my opinion.

My opinion is that Barcelona pickpockets are notorious and they have even come up with a bird crap ploy that distracted me enough that I lost a shoulder bag to a team of thieves.  More than an opinion - it's a fact I'm sad to admit.  We saw evidence of petty thievery around many Barcelona sites and along their avenues and streets.

 

But your previous statement, and I quote: "I hear that this happens ALL OVER Europe and there is very little that is done to the thieves if they are caught."  is both not logical nor supported by any evidence.  That unsupported generalization is what I called out.

 

Another quote from huffpost states:Comparing crime statistics across countries is fraught with danger, so much so that the international police agency Interpol has stopped publishing the data because the comparisons can be so misleading. Countries have different notions of what constitutes a crime, different social standards that affect which crimes get reported by victims to police (this is a particular issue with sexual assault), and differing levels of confidence in police that may discourage victims from reporting a crime altogether. Tourists, in particular, tend not to report minor crime, and are reluctant to return to a country to give testimony in any subsequent court case.

Edited by evandbob

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I wholeheartedly agree with the previous poster. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the statement that it happens 'ALL OVER' Europe. Barcelona in particular, and another few tourist hotspots - Il Colosseo, La Tour Eiffel for example - in other countries do have pickpocketing/petty crime issues, but to treat the entire continent of Europe as a single entity, when in fact it is made up of over 44 countries, is completely illogical. It's also worth mentioning that although annoying/distressing/unpleasant it is petty crime and no-one is placed in a life-threatening situation with weapons involved which might not be the case on the North American continent.

From a personal viewpoint, we have spent many family holidays in various European countries over the last 40 plus years and have only once vaguely been aware of a possible scam/pickpocketing scenario when a couple of women on the Right Bank in Paris tried to tell me I had dropped a gold ring on the pavement. We just laughed at them and they moved on.

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"All over Europe" probably goes a bit too far.  However, it is more than Barcelona and a few tourist hot spots.  I have relatives in Holland and when we were in downtown Amsterdam they warned us to keep close watch on our belongings.  In St. Petersburg the guide told everyone to leave their wallets on the bus.  She said that robbing us individually had virtually no penalty but breaking into a bus was a big crime.  Also, check out the ABC report on Naples from a couple of years ago.  We plan to make our third trip to Barcelona this summer and hopefully all will be fine.

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We will be doing a Med cruise in 2020 and have been reading all the posts about security.  My question has to do with cameras.  We of course want to take pictures of all the beautiful sites, but I'm very concerned about how to secure our cameras. We have a Canon DSLR and a small video camera. Although each has a case that we ordinarily use, I'm assuming we're going to need something more secure.  Are there slash-proof camera cases that anyone can recommend? And will that be enough? Any suggestions will be appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

We travel in Europe every year and have never been the victims of pickpockets. We usually DIY and utilize public transportation almost exclusively.

I wear a silk passport wallet, worn crossbody, inside my shirt. Other family members wear money belts (worn inside clothing) or use passport wallets. I carry only one credit card and any currency we might need for only that day. We are aware of our surroundings but it never impacts our enjoyment of the wonderful sights to see, food to sample, concerts to attend & the like. I do carry a small purse (also worn crossbody) that holds my daily essentials, i.e., tissues, comb, chapstick, aspirin, etc.  If a pickpocket were to score a hit on my purse they would be sorely disappointed with their 'take'.

Barcelona, Naples, Rome & Rio are cities that are notorious for pickpockets and the thieves employ various scams to relieve tourists of their valuables (but petty thievery can, and does, happen anywhere) - if you wear a money belt or passport wallet under your clothing, you should have no problems.

Edited by dogs4fun

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5 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

We travel in Europe every year and have never been the victims of pickpockets. We usually DIY and utilize public transportation almost exclusively.

I wear a silk passport wallet, worn crossbody, inside my shirt. Other family members wear money belts (worn inside clothing) or use passport wallets. I carry only one credit card and any currency we might need for only that day. We are aware of our surroundings but it never impacts our enjoyment of the wonderful sights to see, food to sample, concerts to attend & the like. I do carry a small purse (also worn crossbody) that holds my daily essentials, i.e., tissues, comb, chapstick, aspirin, etc.  If a pickpocket were to score a hit on my purse they would be sorely disappointed with their 'take'.

Barcelona, Naples, Rome & Rio are cities that are notorious for pickpockets and the thieves employ various scams to relieve tourists of their valuables (but petty thievery can, and does, happen anywhere) - if you wear a money belt or passport wallet under your clothing, you should have no problems.

It's so sad that you have to do all this to protect yourself. Maybe if these cities treated theft as a real crime, it might go along way towards curbing the behaviour. 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, above sea level cruiser said:

It's so sad that you have to do all this to protect yourself. Maybe if these cities treated theft as a real crime, it might go along way towards curbing the behaviour. 

Theft, including petty theft, is treated as a real crime where I live. There are purse snatchings, robberies and assaults that go unchecked. The problem is, the thieves are usually long gone before the authorities arrive. I witnessed a pickpocket working the NYC subway on a visit  just last month - yes, sad, but all too common in the world in which we live.

What really concerns me is the proliferation of gun violence (particularly in the US) and terrorism throughout the world.

We protect ourselves both at home and abroad. We have a security system installed in our home and cameras on the exterior as home break-ins are also common. The precautions we take when traveling are really no issue for us -  we just take it in stride.

I am sorry that you had a bad experience but I hope that you still enjoyed visiting the beautiful areas along the Med.

Edited by dogs4fun

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I've said it before and it bears repeating here: the only place I have ever been robbed of my personal stuff was in the city I lived all my life, NYC and I mostly had myself to blame. I put my new designer bag on the long upright back post of my chair because I figured it would have to be lifted up to be grabbed and I'd feel it. WRONG! The straps were easily separated from the body of the bag by the brass clips linking them together. I was in a restaurant bar just after work (we'd not had even one drink yet!) in Midtown with a mostly professional or just regular crowd (translation, not a dive bar) and no one at my table saw either the strap or the bag move. Some people at the bar thought they saw a couple, male and female, nicely dressed, walk close by but weren't sure. Didn't really matter, it was gone fast.

It was still early days of the Disney-fication of NYC but this area was basically fine, especially so early in the evening. And I been coming into the city since the mid 80s, riding the subways which were in a condition that I think visitors now....well, they'd absolutely NOT be visitors now. So I knew the drill and I blew it. I keep my bag on my lap wherever I go now, all the time, since then. 

 

But....it was surely a learning opportunity, for how to adjust myself in my home city and for how to be when I began traveling on a grand scale internationally the following year after the theft. Four continents, don't know how many countries and I think 31 or 32 states, number of islands, it hasn't happened again. I've seen it happened and I've known why, how, it happened. Wrong place, wrong time, right opportunity. That's it. It's random, but it doesn't feel random when it happens to us. 

 

Like any other crime, no one asks for it but there are so many things one can and ought to do to prevent it. It is definitely more of a possibility in a crowded, more populated, area where it is so easy to get distracted. These locations are also the places where impoverished or unemployed/desperate people, to use a kind word, tend to be. Opportunity beckons. It is what it is. I felt I was partly responsible for what happened and I was bummed to lose a new bag I liked and paid a good amount for, plus everything in it, but the fact was, I put it where I put it. 

 

I wasn't held up at knife or gun point or knocked over but I also knew how to do/be in my city. Someone got on the A train with a machete and was walking around with it but it was the A train and it was the 80s. Tough times 😱 I also perfected a scowl (probably more a death stare!) to go along with my rushed walk that might have given off a think better of it vibe to would-be perpetrators. Someone did try to take my necklaces when I was 14 in a very rough neighborhood (yes I wore them!) and I just told him to get lost, sped up my pace and that was that. Maybe it was luck or he didn't expect to be told no but I saw him coming at me and wasn't having it. Perhaps living here gets you ready. 

 

The trip guides advise to keep aware in the busiest places no matter where we visit. Notre Dame was a place I remember reading that and I spotted the scam artists in a minute. Saw someone get picked on the metro coming back from Port de Clingancourt flea market but the woman was standing right at the door with her purse in a place that was perfect for dipping into and running...it happened too fast for me to call out. 

 

Someone above mentioned turning to look at someone and being called out about it by another "I'm not going to rob you" which perhaps made them feel uncomfortable or not. Who cares. Use peripheral vision and if need be, absolutely turn your head and stare. It'll probably always be no one of consequence but it's a great habit to have, being aware of what's going on around you. Doing that, keeping everything zipped and your cards, cash stuffed in a front. inside pocket are the smartest things you can do to ensure you'll have what you started with at the end of the day. I carry a day pack but I don't put cash or my cards in it. Maybe coins, I don't want them in my pocket. But no one is getting in my front pocket. And if I'm wearing something more dressy, chances are I'm carrying something different so then I'm probably less worried about wandering in the open with my day bag and I can put things in whatever I'm carrying later. If I put my day bag down, it's only ever between my legs on the ground with one leg looped through the straps...depending upon where I am. But even in a country-side type setting, I have a really, really, tough time loosening up. Just as well. OK maybe in New Zealand I didn't worry so much but only in parts of South Island NZ. 

 

I do carry one of those travel type protective money/passport things in my day bag but there's not often much in it except my passport. I always have copies of that back in my luggage. I'm not letting go of my bag and cutting through two things won't be easy. I can also get loud when I need to. 

 

Basically I think it is more of a practice one must have wherever one is. These problems are not specific to any place. Somehow a bias has been attached to a place, Barcelona is one of the places. Every single person I personally know has absolutely loved Barcelona and I haven't heard a word about feeling unsafe or preyed upon. Everything is a mindset, how or what we feel going into something. Common sense rules the day no matter where we are. And some things, despite all best planning, we simply cannot control. We do our best. 

 

These days, if you come to NYC my advice is to watch out for the scuzzy costumed characters roaming around the popular sites looking for money to pose for photos with you. I guess there's a market for pics with a creepy looking Elmo but they get one of my scowls when I see them lurking nearby. People dancing or playing music, making art, I'm down with. The character people should at least wash their costumes, lol. Trains are awesome - except not always on the weekend 😉 , Times Square is so bright so don't need a flash and could read a book by the lights. It's amazing. But, hustlers are anywhere and everywhere. Have so much fun but look around, whether it's Barcelona, NYC, Bangkok, or Catania.

 

And, if travelers are worried, let's not quibble with them. Let's support, educate, inform, suggest ways to overcome perceptions of fear and worry. We are a wonderful community of travels because traveling the world is amazing. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for sharing your words of warning, we were in St. Petersburg and something similar almost occurred to a fellow traveler, who was sporting a very expensive M Kors hand bag and a lovely large tennis bracelet. She was observed by several men, when I spotted what they were up to I grabbed her by the arm and ushered her back to the group, which we were supposed to stay near. When I told her what was about to happen, she looked over to where I pointed and they were seen running in opposite direction. Never, ever were jewelry that will draw attention, our wear something you would be sad to loose, like an expensive purse. I don't even wear my wedding rings, only cheap stuff, that I wouldn't mind throwing at them to get them away from me.

We were with a group in Barcelona, taking pictures of the Sagrada Famiglia, when someone swiped a purse that was actually sitting on a bench, while the woman who owned it was taking selfies with her friends, it happened so fast that no-one saw the thief, it was never recovered (she had passport, etc in the bag) it derailed our tour because the tour guide had to spend time reporting to the Barcelona Policia. Never leave belongings anywhere!!

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5 hours ago, Lorenzago said:

Thank you for sharing your words of warning, we were in St. Petersburg and something similar almost occurred to a fellow traveler, who was sporting a very expensive M Kors hand bag and a lovely large tennis bracelet. She was observed by several men, when I spotted what they were up to I grabbed her by the arm and ushered her back to the group, which we were supposed to stay near. When I told her what was about to happen, she looked over to where I pointed and they were seen running in opposite direction. Never, ever were jewelry that will draw attention, our wear something you would be sad to loose, like an expensive purse. I don't even wear my wedding rings, only cheap stuff, that I wouldn't mind throwing at them to get them away from me.

We were with a group in Barcelona, taking pictures of the Sagrada Famiglia, when someone swiped a purse that was actually sitting on a bench, while the woman who owned it was taking selfies with her friends, it happened so fast that no-one saw the thief, it was never recovered (she had passport, etc in the bag) it derailed our tour because the tour guide had to spend time reporting to the Barcelona Policia. Never leave belongings anywhere!!

 

I am sorry to hear that a member of your tour group lost her bag, I understand how inconvenient it is trying to replace all of the documents and place fraud alerts on everything, to say nothing of losing the actual bag and the loss of time on holiday. Totally awful.

 

But....there is almost no large city in any country, including the US, where it is a good idea to leave a bag unattended while taking photos and it is especially busy because locals and visitors can all be in the area at once on any given day, as was likely the case at Sagrada Familia. It could have easily happened on Fifth Avenue at Christmas time near Rockefeller Center or at a beach on an island or In New Orleans, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Bangkok....lots of places that are crowded and busy and  it is so very easy to get distracted.

 

When taking photos, it is easy to get distracted because we want to make sure the photo turns out well, we want the memory to be a good one! Leaving anything of value unattended for even a few seconds, this is just city life. Someone who might not even be planning on taking something, is feeling desperate and sees an opportunity which they take. I watched someone last week that I never, ever would have guessed would take something, walk into a Starbucks, head over to the case where the cold beverages were, grab a bottle of water and walk on out! The person was wearing to me what looked like very expensive clothes, boots and it was in a really trendy, kind of expensive neighborhood - I was just attending a meeting there 😉 so, all the talk of "this type of person or that" are the sort to look out for, just isn't true. Impossible to know. 

 

Therefore, the best and most reliable way to ensure that one gets back on the ship with everything they had in the morning is to keep it close at hand, close on the body. Get a bag that feels comfortable wrapped around you so that if there are plans to take photographs, it will be easy to move around while still having the bag on one's person and being able to get the photos.

 

Alternatively, it is alright to put the bag down on the ground IF you place it directly between your legs and it has straps that you can loop at least one leg through so that the bag is anchored to one's body in such a way that a person could not grab the bag and run away with it because it is secured by being wrapped around a leg!

 

Leaving a bag on any bench, table, chair, whatever it is and standing nearby provides a window of opportunity for who knows. In all probability the people who grabbed my bag after work were dressed in business attire like we were and blended right in with the crowd. Or not. Point is, there was enough of a space between me and the bag to give enough opportunity to grab it. Not anymore. It's always where I can feel it. Always.

 

I understand that coming from towns or cities with smaller populations where maybe it's ok to not lock doors, leave engines running, it's a whole different world. In big cities, it hasn't ever been that way and will not ever be that way and I suppose that is as difficult an adjustment to make as it is for me to NOT lock a door anywhere I go. People look at me weird if I do it in a place where it's super quiet but I just don't care. I must do it because I have always lived in a gigantic, crowded city and I always will. And in case a scary monster, or (big creepy bug/bat/critter etc) comes out of the woods when I'm out somewhere in the woods, well, that monster won't get in where I'm at because the door will be locked. 🤣 (The car too!) 

 

Think of it as just some of the adjustments one must make when visiting a new place, such as using new money, hearing a different language and using different words, we implement different practices in the day to day way we do things, whether we are going from a big to small place or small to big place, life is different and it requires a new way of thinking. That's all. Everyone isn't out to take your things, most people are there enjoying the same thing you are and taking the same precautions from being robbed. I worked in a bank for 4 1/2 years, it was something we had to look out for every day and there was no way to know exactly who that might be, we just hoped it never happened but knew how to prevent it, keep loss to a minimum, and stay safe. It's always the best any of us can do.

 

Keep traveling, plan ahead and enjoy!

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On 6/21/2019 at 12:27 PM, marazul said:

Could it be a cliché for a prison uniform?  I believe bright orange is the prison fashion now....

Orange (at least from what I saw at a nearby jail) means they're in solitary confinement. Stripes means general population.

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