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Sep 03 2007

Today’s travel tip: Always take pickpocket warnings seriously…

“The Mothership“ and I are headed backdown to Malmö after a lovely two days in Stockholm…marred only by the fact that I was pickpocketed on a city bus on our way to Skansen this afternoon.

It was very crowded when we boarded and neither one of us got a seat…which concerned me since my Mom just isn’t as steady on her feet since breaking her knee last December, and city buses can be tough to stand and ride no matter how good your sense of balance. After I’d made sure that she had a good grip on the hand rails and a firm surface to lean on, I had to move further back in the center aisle when even more passengers boarded, and ended up literally pressed against several people for most of the journey. One of them managed to unzip my waist pack and extract my wallet without me feeling it.

I realized what had happened almost the moment we got off the bus, but we spent most of the rest of the afternoon back-tracking our steps (and not seeing Skansen) on the outside chance I’d left the wallet somewhere before that…with no luck. I knew we wouldn’t find it. I’d been in and out of the front velcro-sealed pocket of the pack several times to access our Stockholm Cards (which are a FANTASTIC deal by the way) and the main compartment was closed every time…including when we got on the bus.

Fortunately I was able to get all my bank and credit cards cancelled before the thief (who I believe was one of several teenagers on the bus) had a chance to use them, and I only had about $40 in cash in the wallet at the time.

I filed a police report before leaving the city (there’s an office in the Stockholm Central Station…how convenient).  The officer said that most pickpockets toss wallets in the trash once they’ve removed the cash…and that people who scavage garbage cans for recyclables often find them and turn them in. He said there was maybe a 50-50 chance I’d get the other contents back…which I thought was remarkably good odds for such a thing. But of course, I have to carry on as if I’ll never see that stuff again and replace all the bank cards and ID, etc. What a complete and total pain-in-the-@$$.

We’re back on the X2000 now, barrelling toward Malmö at a high rate of speed. For some reason, 1st class tickets for the trip home were actually cheaper than the 2nd class tickets for the trip up…so we’re enjoying the luxury of extra wide reclining seats, complimentary beverages and unlimited internet access…which really helps to pass the time. Oh, and our seats are forward-facing so I’m not nearly as green as I was on the way up. Unless you count the fact that I feel just sick about having my wallet taken.

And speaking of complimentary beverages…I wonder if the pickpocket made good use of my Espresso House Coffee Card?

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Feed my ego!

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