• Getting robbed and going home

Getting robbed and going home

As I write this post I’m on the plane between Mexico City and Houston, slowly making my way back to Australia on a 36 hour journey.

I don’t want to get too sentimental, but after nearly three years away it’s safe to say that I’m feeling rather emotional right now.

You might think that being seasoned travelers we simply stroll into an airport, dump our bags at check-in and then breeze through security before having a cup of coffee while we wait for our plane to depart.

But the truth is, I get stressed before we travel, asking Dave a million times if he packed this or that. He tries to crack jokes to loosen me up but I can’t help it – I’m a stress ball before we travel.

Cocktails in Oaxaca Double-Barrelled Travel

Had the best cocktail of my life on Thanksgiving, prepared by our friend Kristin. Perhaps I should drink one as a de-stress drink before travelling?

But as soon as we board the plane, I go into a Zen-like state, happy we made the flight and then all my stress evaporates.

However… then it’s Dave’s turn to stress. He’s quite a nervous flyer – and even though he’s been on a plane hundreds of times before, it doesn’t make his takeoff or landing experience any easier. Just a minute ago he was hyperventilating due to the turbulence.

As the plane starts gathering speed down the runway, his breathing becomes shallow and his eyes widen as he peers out of the window, gripping the arm rests tightly.

Then it’s my turn to try and calm him down, coaxing him to relax while saying stupid things like, “We were more likely to die in the taxi on the way to the airport than we are during takeoff.”

Anyway, this morning’s collective rush and panic was further amplified by the fact that when I (luckily!) checked our flight details online, I discovered that our flight had been moved forward by nearly two hours and the airline – AeroMexico – hadn’t been bothered to inform us.

Thankfully, due to my attempts of minimizing my pre-flight stress, we’d packed the night before and made the plane in time.

All we missed out on was our pre-flight yoga session. (Yes, I’m well aware of how wanky that sounds.)

Mexicans in Oaxaca Double-Barrelled Travel

Meeting Mexicans in a bar in Oaxaca – yep, lotsa socialising happened in November

Nerves and stress abiding

As Mexico flies away underneath me and the USA comes closer, I can feel the nerves fading away altogether.

Although I’ve written in the past about being nervous about returning home after so long, now all I’m starting to feel is excitement and growing anticipation, especially to see my family.

It may have something to do with us being robbed two days ago.

Yep, I couldn’t believe it – second last day of our 18 month journey and Dave gets pickpocketed on the metro in Mexico City.

We didn’t lose much – only $70 and our pride.

Market lunch in Oaxaca Double-Barrelled Travel

Eating in the Mexican markets. Oh, how I’ll miss you delicious Mexican food

In the rush hour crush on the train, someone put their hand into Dave’s pocket and took his wallet. The most classic robbery style there is.

It was an old wallet we’d bought three years ago in Morocco that was falling apart, so no loss there. There was 800 pesos (around $70) inside, and both our driver’s licenses, as well as Dave’s bank travel card.

The bank card wasn’t such a big deal either, because we had enough cash to last us until home, and we managed to cancel it before any funds were stolen from our account.

Normally Dave carries all the money, but that day – by luck – I was the one carrying about $200 and they didn’t manage to get their hands into my pockets.

The biggest annoyance was our driver’s licenses – they were our British ones and we were hoping to use them in Australia until our new Aussie ones were processed. Now we’ll just have to rely on friends and parental lifts until they come through in Oz – which is a pain.

But anyway, it could’ve been much, much worse. There’s been times when Dave’s walked around with $600 in his back pocket after a visit to the ATM, so thankfully it wasn’t one of those moments.

Old door and street art in Mexico Double-Barrelled Travel

My favourite photo from November

Spending last month

Speaking of money, we were slightly over our budget last month, which was somewhat of a fluke when you consider we spent nearly $500 on flights because we couldn’t be bothered getting an 18+ bus between Campeche and Oaxaca.

We also bought all of our Christmas presents for our friends and family.

Granted, Christmas pressie shopping is a lot cheaper in Mexico than Australia (and a lot more fun too!) but still, I was happy to come in on budget considering that!

Thanksgiving in Oaxaca Double-Barrelled Travel

Standing underneath the AMAZING turkey piñata Sandra made for Thanksgiving

Budget breakdown for November:

Public transport (buses and taxis) $115.17
Accommodation $501.98
Eating out $399.42
Groceries $366.65
Alcohol $95.33
Tips $3.64
Laundry $17.74
Bank fees $18.55
Toiletries $88.13
Other* $955.46
Total $2562.07

Have you ever been robbed on your travels? Share your story below!

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

4 comments on “Getting robbed and going home”

  1. Richard Hunt Reply

    In 2003, my wife and I spent 3 weeks with friends in Costa Rica. I had just dropped my wife off at the San Jose, Costa Rica airport since I was going to stay another three weeks. I drove my rental car up to the Poas Volcano and on the way down I stopped at a restaurant. After leaving the restaurant, I got a flat tire so I pulled over to fix it as it began a downpour. A car pulled up and a fellow volunteered to help me change the tire by getting the spare off the rear holder. Meanwhile I was jacking up the car in the rain. He handed me the tire and I thanked him. After he left, I thought this would make an interesting picture of the car jacked up in the downpour. When I went to get my camera from the back seat, I saw that not only was my camera bag with my Canon point and shoot, but also my Sony handicam was missing. Not only that, but I was also missing my backpack and even my money belt with my air ticket and passport. I took off my money belt because it was uncomfortable to wear while driving. I got a police report on the theft for my insurance company and then called Travelguard–my travel insurance company. They helped me cancel the credit card I had in the money belt, which turned out to be the one my wife tried to use to get our car out of the Seattle airport parking lot. When I had the tire repaired, the mechanic told me it had been spiked with a knife or ice pick. Apparently this happened while I was having lunch at the restaurant and was slowly leaking until I noticed it was a flat tire. Travelguard also instructed me on where to go to get a replacement US Passport and also to go to the front of the long line of people waiting for a US Visa. It took me just 3 hours from the time I got to the US Embassy to get my replacement—they even had a passport photographer there. Travelguard reimbursed me about $2000 for my losses which limited my camera reimbursement to $500. My wife had me pack a bunch of new Tommy Bahama shirts and pants so I still had receipts for those. Travelguard also paid for the tire replacement. Later I was reading the “Costa Rica Lonely Planet” guide book where they describe this type of robbery. I should have been more alert or maybe it was good I wasn’t since they did not beat me up in this stealth robbery.

    Other times of robberies were in Cusco, Peru, La Paz, Bolivia, and Foz do Iguacu, Argentina where I was distracted while videotaping and my pants pocket, and side bags were razor slit open with the contents falling out. Losses were minimal including a point and shoot camera, travel journal and some coins and pens.

    On the Delhi, India subway, I was pick-pocketed during the time the subway system had an audio voice repeating a warning that this subway area was popular for pickpocketers. When I double checked my wallet which I had put in my front pocket, it was missing and when I told my buddy I had just gotten pick-pocketed, he said to scan the carriage and look for anyone that looked guilty and he would jump them. I said forget it and again went to police for a report which took about two hours. I was entertained by a couple of mice fighting for scraps of food. I lost about $75, credit cards and drivers license, and again had to cancel my credit cards and ATM card, but it was the end of the trip and I had enough cash stashed in other places to make it home.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      What stories! Thanks for sharing Richard. Sounds like you’re a seasoned traveller and these are just unlucky experiences. Makes me realise just how lucky we’ve been only to get robbed once!

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