Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Pickpocket Incident

For the next few weeks, Jack Sh*t is chronicling his adventures on his recent trip to Italy as well as including tips to help you plan your own international travel. It is his special way of saying "Nanna nanna boo boo, I went to Italy!" to all his loyal readers. 

 They warn you about pickpockets on the subway in Milan, but how can you know they mean you?

We’re bumping about, standing room only, in the subway on the way to the train station and a young pregnant girl is parked behind my wife Anita.

We’re still in a travelers daze, trying to figure out which stop will land us at the train station. Next thing I know, Anita is stooping to pick up her wallet, which the girl has dropped trying to ease it out of her backpack. She slinks back, away from us, and takes a seat on the subway. If she feels any remorse or shame, it doesn't show in her eyes. It’s just another day at the office for her, I suppose.

Anita buries her wallet and phone deeper in the pack and starts wearing it front-ways. I move my own wallet to my front pocket after briefly considering shoving it down in my underwear.

We’re both a little shaken by the near-disaster, and I continuously feel a little panicked when I can't immediately put my hands on my wallet. As if traveling in a foreign country isn't stressful enough...

At the train station, we purchase tickets to Venice at a self-service kiosk, but the machine won’t take my credit card or chip-and-pin card for some reason, so I wind up having to feed it most of my remaining euros. A day and a half in and we're already more over budget than a Lord of the Rings movie.

The kiosk allowed us to pick the seats we wanted, but somehow we’ve managed to put
ourselves a dozen rows apart for the 3-hour train trip. I settle in and hold my wallet with
both hands.

Next stop: Venice.


  1. reminds me of standing outside the louvre watching the gypsy's beg. My guess is that quite a few people got their pockets picked that day. I kept my money in my bra. I am a cynical person, what can i say. Glad they didn't get you.

  2. Something similar happened to me on a bus in Rome in 2004. I'd heard about pickpockets, so I had my zippered handbag in my lap, arms wrapped around it like it was a newborn child. A youngish guy came on the bus and squatted right next to me in the aisle. I thought it was pretty odd, but I was far too polite (and not nearly proficient enough in Italian) to comment. I turned and looked out the window so as not to miss the sights of Rome.

    Next thing I knew, I felt something cold on my arm. I looked down, and it was the zipper on my purse, which had mysteriously opened about 6 inches.

    I gave the squatting guy a death glare just as he was standing up and moving to another part of the bus. He'd been unable to relieve me of my wallet, thank goodness. But at the moment we made eye contact after his attempt, there was not a glimmer of shame or embarrassment on his part for getting caught red-handed.

  3. Oh man that sucks!!! THank goodness pregnant girl was a bad pick pocket. Safe travels!

  4. Hi Jack, loving your vacation for different reasons. 1) I'm from Istanbul, and been to Italy 3 times. 2) I spent my honeymoon there just a month and a half agoo!!!

    I gotta share this with you:
    The first time I went to Italy was with my mother and a friend of hers. So one day, after our long museum tour in Rome, we sit at a cafe for a late lunch. The spot on our table left from the three of us, we laid the very very expensive museum book, which we had to wait for a half hour line to purchase. When we got out of the cafe, the book wasn't with us anymore. I was suppose to carry it, so when I noticed the lightness I went into panic mood and we run back to the cafe. Of course no one knew anything about it they claimed. After we took our cold showers we started to imagine the scene and now we know what happened. And here it is: The waitress sits down her tray on top of the book while serving our plates. Then very easily she lifts the book up with the tray. Imagine she got caught? She can just easily claim "Oh how silly of me. Would you like some tramisu after your meals?"

    This happened in 1997. I won't go back to that museum ever again. I'm still pissed!!!



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