Sunday, July 13, 2014
A Danger of Travel: Not a Great Day
Well today started out well enough. Slept in. Got a LOT of work done for the classes. Then Cathy and a group of students (and myself) hiked out to a Chinese restaurant about a mile from the dorms. The service was sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow, but the food as a whole was pretty good and fairly priced.
We came back and continued the ever up-hill battle of grading for a few more hours. When dinnertime arrived, we planned on metroing out to a place where we will have the farewell dinner in a few weeks (Cathy wanted to make reservations).
So we metro to Loreto and walk outside to get our bearings. Cathy pulls out her phone to bring up Google Maps so we could figure out the right street. Out of nowhere an asshole on a bike rode right by us and snatched her phone out of her hand. I couldn't do anything but yell "NO!" as loud as humanly possible as Cathy screamed out too. And he was gone. Just took off full force on the bike, wearing a gray hoodie with the hood pulled over his head. I suspect this was not his first go-round.
To say it was a shock to the system is putting it lightly. I don't like feeling helpless and in that moment, looking Cathy in the eye, I felt helpless. I know for myself, a lot of my life is on my phone. I have hundreds of photos, access to accounts/social media and not to mention the most obvious... connection to the outside world. It becomes especially important when traveling.
We turned around and headed straight back for the dorms to lock up Cathy's accounts and remotely wipe the phone clean. Thankfully, Cathy had an Italian SIM card in her phone, so all of her info before the trip is safe on a US SIM. Unfortunately, all she had done in Italy (sparing a few photos that got saved to Google) was gone, along with a running tally of receipts to submit for refunds when we return... that will be a mess I'm sure.
So we wiped the phone and locked it, so the asshole can't do much with it. Not to mention the screen was cracked and it had my uber girly Otterbox case on it... so he wasn't really winning a big prize. However, poor Cathy has to pay almost $400 to replace the phone. It's a Galaxy S4 so they are pretty pricey to begin with. So here's to hoping she can claim it through our travel insurance out here. :(
Regardless, it's a mess and I feel so SO terrible for Cathy. She put on a brave face, but I just know she feels completely violated. Of course it could have been worse. It could have been our purses with our wallets and passports... but that doesn't take the sting out of it. I think both of us will be fairly paranoid for a while as well. You know in traveling that this stuff happens, but it doesn't really soften the blow when it happens to you.
I'm sorry to report such depressing things tonight... but it happened, so what can you do? But both of us are fine and we weren't physically injured in the event. Still sucks. :(