I have a habit of talking to touts who approach me in a foreign country.  I mean, if someone asks me a question my first instinct is to answer it.  Pat has to keep reminding me that this isn’t always the best or safest thing to do . . . especially in a dodgy bus station in South America.

My natural inclination to be helpful and friendly bit me in the ass while we were in Arica, Chile.  We had just finished a 10-hour bus ride from San Pedro de Atacama and I was tired and fuzzy headed.  While Pat was buying tickets for the next leg of the bus journey I was standing guard over our bags.  A woman walked up and asked me where the bathroom was and, while I was being the helpful American, her partner in crime lifted one of our small bags.

By the time we realized the bag was missing it was long gone.  I suspect the thief was very disappointed when he cracked open the bag, though.  I seriously doubt he’ll be able to off-load a book of partially completed New York Times Crosswords, two blow-up neck pillows, and a 2-year old Irish cell phone.

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