Innocents abroad

Jun 25th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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His photos look like Central Square here. We have a Korean and an Indian market and so many ethnic restos.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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Couldn't agree more. I just do not get all of this fear.

I've been to europe more than 70 times between business and pleasure, always carry a purse with my wallet, credit cards, etc - and have never had a problem with theft or crime of any sort.

Now, perhaps since I'm a native New Yorker I do things automatically that some other people don't - but I really think that so may people go to europe thinking they are entering a war zone, rather than places with - almost always - less crime than we have here (here in the US, not here in New York - another place people fear for no reason).
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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I think the reason some tourists become victums is because they walk as if lost and maybe stop to look at their map.
In any bid city most of us walk with a purpose.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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I agree with kerouac.

Most cities have dangerous areas. Most are safe with reasonable precautions.

For someone who lives in downtown Detroit to buy a money belt for a walk down Champs Elysees, Paris (France) is not so smart.

More importantly - Can you drink the water in France ?

mpprh is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Methinks the little rant is bone-headed, and bound to attract smug cheerleading.

No, people do not think Europe is the third world (oh, heaven forfend).

They think -- correctly -- that tourists are targeted by pickpockets in tourist areas and when they, often by necessity, engage in some tourist behavior (ie, dragging a suitcase through a train station, looking at a map, taking photographs of things locals pass by without a glance.

But anything that lets you feel superior? Hey, knock yourself out.
zeppole is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 07:11 PM
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I still see a lot of fear here.

Naturally if you are in a known high crime area - such as the Ramblas - you will try to be more aware.

But walking around Paris or Rome at night after dinner is certainly no more scary - or dangerous - than doing so in New York - and I would never hesitate to do so in any city I have been in in Europe. We walked from the ballet back to the Hotel Europa in St Pet - just to stretch our legs after sitting for so long. there was one street that looked kind of dark and deserted - so we went to the next, which was busier - but certainly had no hesitation.

I agree a lot is attitude - if you look confused or timid you can make yourself a target. One should always be aware and look assertive and confident (but, as I said, this is standard for New Yorkers from the first time your mom walks you to school). IMHO something that all kids should be taught - a very useful and basic life skill - as is the ability to tell a dicey or truly dangerous situation that should be avoided.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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You're right. There is still fear in between the sentences.

Actually, there is no way fear can prevent something like theft. It only makes you look uneasy and calls the thieves in.

Europe may not be the safest place on earth but there is no big city in the world that is crime-free.

The ony thing that a traveller should is to be aware. Just know in which part of the world you are, understand that it is possible to encounter a mugger statistically and keep your valuables safe. And of course don't stress yourself with this possibility, just be aware.

If you are planning a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, check this page, it might be handy for you:
zozlem is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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I do use an underclothing pouch - but not out of fear, but rather to avoid unnecessary inconvenience in the unlikely event that I would lose my purse or be subject to a crime. When traveling, my most valuable "possession" is time, so if I can minimize the time I'd have to spend replacing items while traveling by carrying my spare credit card and some cash and my passport (when I don't need it) in a safe place under my clothing, why not? And of course I don't do that in the large city in which I live - I leave my passport and spare credit cards at home.
kja is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 09:39 AM
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I live in San Francisco, and in 20 years I've never been a victim of a crime, although several times I came home shaken up either for myself, or seeing something.

When I am at home, it's routine. I know even which bus route is safer, which block or side of the street is safer. I can tell a tourist from a local in many cases from far away.

When I am on vacation, I am more of a target. I will more likely have a map or a camera in my hand, I will ask questions and stop to gawk at something. I will have a bag with souvenirs in my hand. All this will geopardize my safety more than home-turf.

So while not becoming paranoid and running away from everyone who is in front or behind me, I will be more careful on vacation than at home - and if a money belt helps me, so be it!

After that, I will right a report that money belts are useless
Dayenu is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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I think it's more a matter of what makes you feel comfortable. It's not a matter of being macho or paranoid. I take precautions more so when I'm traveling overseas than when I'm traveling in American cities. Am I being overly cautious? Probably, but I would hate having a trip ruined by not taking these precautions. I take risks in investing that many others would never consider taking because I understand and can evaluate those risks. Even though I have traveled to Europe many times, I still don't feel confident in being able to evaluate the risks in unfamiliar cities.
bumper is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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thank you kerouac...

I honestly wonder if European tourists wear money belts in New York?
Are Germans in Paris as much a "target" of pickpockets as Americans think they are.
Do French have their passports stolen in Rome?
danon is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Cigalechanta, sometimes as a first time visitor to a city there is no option but to stop and look at a map. We've done that heaps of times and never been targeted by a pickpocket.

I think it's wise to be cautious for the simple reason that if my credit cards etc are stolen in say, Paris, it's harder for me to arrange to have everything replaced, or to be without cash etc, than if I'm in my home town where I can arrange replacements.

Having said that, we have never used a money belt. Both times we have been to Europe it has been summer, so I have worn capri pants most days and spread my credit card and some cash between the pockets. Passport stays in the hotel room safe.

We travelled with a friend once who was so obviously a tourist it was hysterical - HUGE camera bag slung across his body, enormous wide brimmed hat, sweater tied around his waist, maps out at every intersection etc. He didn't get robbed either, so go figure!

I like your little rant Kerouac and will now resume my normal activities!!
cathies is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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I do not live in a big city and can't remember when I last took a bus or any other public transportation in the U.S. Honestly, I don't think I've been on a bus here since high school and that was many years ago. No metro and no trains here.

I don't wear a money belt at home because I don't carry my passport or much money with me. I do wear a money belt in Europe, because I carry more money and, as Ira wrote, I leave my brain at home. I keep my passport in the hotel safe or locked in my suitcase and carry a photocopy, so just have cash, credit and ATM card with me.

Keeping my cash in the money belt frees me up to gawk at the sights and take a zillion photos without worrying if someone has a hand in my purse or pocket. Sometimes I lock the money belt in the safe and just take a bit of cash in my purse.

I usually travel in cool weather and haven't had the "hot, sweaty" experience but several times I've had to touch my waist to be sure that I'd put the belt on in the morning before leaving the hotel room.
Luisah is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Another rant fan, Kerouac. I have to agree that I wasn't all that happy with the most recent "foreign hotbed of fear and crime" entry.

I have a problem with anyone who thinks Europe is Disney World (or as a matter of fact, who thinks Disney World is 'no problem ever'!). And I have an equal problem with anyone who views anyone other than a second-generation American as suspect.

I have no problem with anyone who chooses to use moneybelts, because I ended up in a few scary countries (none of which were Italy, Ireland or France!) where that probably was a good idea, and quite frankly, when I hop some train routes from a lot of airports into town, I feel a lot better stashing passports in such a contraption until I can stash them somewhere else.

Nevertheless, wearing those money things 24/7 is a pain. They are so darn hot and I have hated having to visit a stinky lavatory merely to take anything out. And here's another thing: IF I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO A PLACE, SHOULD I GO TO THE STINKY LAVATORY TO PULL OUT A MAP?

Get real.

I think everyone who goes to any big city or any big tourist area needs to acknowledge that pickpockets, etc have taken up residence there simply to feed upon you. It's simple supply and demand economics. The fabulous place you are visiting has been visited by a zillion people; ergo, the pickings will be good. Tourists ARE the bottom of the food chain, and like lions, predators are simply looking for the weakest member of the group upon which to feed. If you look dumb--and especially if you ARE dumb--you'll be eaten.

But that doesn't mean that smart and wise people can't be victims. You can. The difference is that you will have been smart enough to have back-up plans (not exactly rocket science) to keep any mishaps from ruining your vacation.

And even more important---YOU WILL HAVE MOVED ON.
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Jun 29th, 2010, 01:22 PM
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cathies so have I but I usually like to stop at a cafe or park bench.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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Cafés and park benches are fine, Cigale. It is more a question of how the person handles the operation than where they do it.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 29th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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I sat tht, kerouac because my first time standing on the corner with map, a guy followed me once I moved away.
One is more relaxed in a cafe
cigalechanta is offline  

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