If You Are Robbed ...

#1 Aug 28th, 2011, 09:41
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  • Big Texan is offline
#1
A few months ago, I was robbed twice, yes twice, in a period of one week in Quito, Ecuador. The second time, the bastards got my passport, cash, credit cards, and the copies of the documents you are told to keep with you in case you get robbed. (In addition to robbing me, they stole my luggage.) Not too much help if the copies get stolen along with the originals.

Frankly, it was a nightmare - but like all good "learning opportunities", I learned a lot. Let me share:

Do NOT carry copies of your passport, birth certificate, credit cards, health insurance info, driver's license, visa, etc. with you. Instead, scan all these documents along with a list of emergency contact information, bank contact information, cell phone provider contact information, etc. into your computer and then place the documents in a password protected folder in your personal email account. You can then access these beautiful color facsimiles from anywhere in the world where you are able to access your email account. You also don't want copies of these documents in your luggage when you are separated from your luggage each day.

Include with the scanned documents a listing of all prescription medications that you must have. However, don't just include the name by which your medication is marketed at home. The same medication will be marketed under a totally different name in other countries. Have your pharmacist give you the scientific/chemical name of the medication which a foreign pharmacist can then fill. Did I tell you the bastards also stole my prescription medication?

Be sure and secure a police report at the time of the loss no matter how useless you think it will be - and it will be useless. However, you will need it to get a replacement passport. In the USA, most homeowners insurance policies have coverage for "off premises personal property" that is stolen - you will need a copy of the police report to file a claim. Did I tell you the bastards also stole my Nikkon D70 camera?

If you lose or are robbed of your US passport, go onto the web and look at the US Embassy site in the country where you are stuck. It will give you a list of all the documents you will need in order to obtain an emergency passport good for 30 days (during which time you must apply for your regular passport). One aggravating requirement is that you provide 2 passport photos. So scan a couple in and place with your documents. A good color copy might work avoiding you having to search for a photographer in an unfamiliar city.

The following tip is pricey but could be necessary in an emergency. In addition to the robberies, there was speculation that I might have been a target for kidnapping (welcome to South America). The local police provided no assistance - in fact, they were scarier than the robbers! When things went from bad to worse, I checked into a JW Marriott Hotel (5 star). Large hotels of this type (Taj, Oberoi, etc,) have well trained security personnel whose job it is to protect guests of the hotel. Additionally, they have in-house business centers providing you working phone, fax, computer services, etc. Likewise, they have access to decent medical care and safe transportation. If the situation warrants it, I suggest you get yourself out of the guesthouse or hostel and head to a large, upper end business hotel.

I'm still traveling - including a subsequent trip to Ecuador! Travel safe - don't let the bastards get you down!
"I am in love with India...where I find the heat and smells and oils and spices, and puffs of temple incense, and sweat and darkness, and dirt and lust and cruelty, and above all, things wonderful and fascinating innumerable." Kipling 1893
#2 Aug 28th, 2011, 11:30
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  • professorm is offline
#2
Big Texan, hello from Austin, Texas. You are blessed to survive, they could have killed you. There may or may not be something that you are telegraphing to attract these miscreants. Take a good look -- the way you dress, flashing $ around etc.

Based on your posts about India, I have an impression that you take chances or perhaps you are a lot more fearless than I would be.
#3 Aug 28th, 2011, 11:57
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  • capt_mahajan is offline
#3
I learnt, after I got knifed and mugged (or was it the other way around?) in Buenaventura (Colombia) in 1978 or 9, to always carry documents (and some money) in either a) my underwear or b) my shoes.

Wrapped in plastic, of course.
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#4 Aug 28th, 2011, 23:49
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  • Safari-Pena is offline
#4
I`m so sorry for you Big Texan, but i noticed that you are a positive person
and you have a right attitude!
I wish i can be cool as you if something like this happens to me.

So this is for all the americans out there who are travelling in India,
i hope you don`t ever need this: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/

(I`m sorry for that Nikon too, it brakes my heart when camera is.. damn.)
#5 Aug 29th, 2011, 00:03
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  • DaisyL is offline
#5
Thanks for the website, Safari-Pena. It has a lot of valuable information in one place.
#6 Aug 29th, 2011, 00:07
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  • Safari-Pena is offline
#6
You`re welcome.
I noticed that it`s a very good website.
#7 Aug 29th, 2011, 02:26
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  • edwardseco is offline
#7
There are quite a few places to secret money. They even make special socks & bras for that, etc. I try to scatter my money so that pickpockets can get their minimal take and be off. A sacrificial wallet with some money and old or fake ID, cards is handy as well. Something to use for those minor daily transactions as well. Of course, a money belt is de rigueur. But, robbers know that as well.

A password protected file I have to look into. Maybe someone can explain..
#8 Aug 29th, 2011, 02:43
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  • Safari-Pena is offline
#8
I haven`t heard before a password protected file on email, i have own email
for a scanned documents etc. which i only use if something happens.
(actually many emails)
And some " important things.." are hidden on my email/s, and these are tricky/ impossible to find out, so i have complex things to remember.
#9 Aug 29th, 2011, 03:06
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  • Big Daddy is offline
#9
Hope all is well. Sorry to hear about your incident. I consider myself prepared, but you have made me realize that I am less prepared that I should be. I only have a scanned copy of my passport in my email account. Your ideas of other documents is a lot of help.
#10 Aug 29th, 2011, 03:22
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  • machadinha is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari-Pena View Post So this is for all the americans out there who are travelling in India,
i hope you don`t ever need this: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/
Yep; for other foreign embassies in India, check also here: http://india.gov.in/overseas/embassies.php and http://www.goidirectory.nic.in/international_index.php.

In case of lost or stolen passport, see the Indian requirements here: http://www.immigrationindia.nic.in/F..._Passport2.htm (URL may change, it's currently under their FAQ's).
#11 Aug 29th, 2011, 18:10
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  • atala is offline
#11
An important point to save your life is how you react to an armed robbery. In my 8 years that I spent in India I was robbed only once, and it was my own mistake that it happened at all (different story). The first reaction with me was disbelief. In the first few seconds I did not take the country-made pistol directed at me seriously. I thought they are just making fun or something, and that it was probably not loaded. Things got serious when one guy detected my diamond ring on my pinky (I was into navratna at that time). He prepared to cut off my finger as the ring did not come off easily. I suggested to the guy that I would help him and he conceded: I took the ring off and gave it to him.

The guys were visibly nervous and in a hurry. So a good thing is to put them at ease as far as possible and to cooperate. Fortunately I had my passport, money and credit-card in a pouch under my shirt and they did not look for that.

Since we are all very much attached to our belongings, even more so on the road, in case of an armed robbery just stay cool and attentive to the requirements of the moment.

Actually the shock-effects come afterwards when one realizes what has just happened. The learning experience for me was that my previous perception of a hold-up and subsequent robbery as something happening in a period of suspense like in the movies was wrong. That was quite a revelation to me, as silly as it may sound here now. But the lack of any forewarning makes the right psychological reaction so difficult. On the other hand, one is fearless at that moment, and that can be very dangerous, if the robbers perceive that and feel they have to increase the threat by inflicting actual physical harm.

In my case one guy tried to incapacitate me at the end before they left by giving me a heavy blow with a machette on my knee (I was sitting). Fortunately no bone was hit, just muscles.

The sad side for me was that I had always felt totally secure in India, and this incident shattered that assumption so that I started to be more fearful and circumspect in the avoidance of any possibility of making a mistake when on the road in India.
#12 Sep 1st, 2011, 14:38
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  • nycank is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Texan View Post A few months ago, I was robbed twice, yes twice, in a period of one week in Quito, Ecuador.

I'm still traveling - including a subsequent trip to Ecuador! Travel safe - don't let the bastards get you down!
Maybe it was you!!! Similar story had been told to me few weeks ago by someone @ Lobby Bar. Contrary to popular mythology, Quito is rough, Lima is rough, Sao Paulo is crazy and Rio dangerous. Yet I have not stopped going to either of these places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post A password protected file I have to look into. Maybe someone can explain..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari-Pena View Post I haven`t heard before a password protected file on email,

Easy on a Mac Command-P Save As PDF; password protect it when it offers you the options. Upload it to Google Docs or your favorite online storage.

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