The group of American Tourist I was with had a camera stolen in Cuzco, so Peter the Brit that caught up and traveled for 20 some days together in Iraq with me could not stop himself, so he sent me a commentary.

I keep trying to get him to set up a blog, but he resist.


I was really sorry to hear about that camera getting stolen. I am getting to hear so many of those type of stories. Baggage getting stolen from buses, armed theft, countless scams etc etc. I have to admit that if it wasn't for Anne coming over in May/June, I'd be sorely tempted to skip Peru and take a bus straight through to Ecuador (where it may be just as bad!!). I also have to admit to getting a bit jerked off with those who say things like "theft happens everywhere and South America is no different than anywhere else on this planet". I believe that theft/scams etc can of course happen anywhere on this planet. The point that almost everyone seems to forget it that (for whatever reason), tourists/backpackers/westerners are seen as far more of a target than they are in almost the rest of this world. Therefore, the odds of one of us being a victim are greater in South America. I know that there are things that happen in Asia and other parts, but I have never been to any part of this planet where there is so much crime against people like us. I have never read any range of guidebooks where there are so many warnings against these type of criminal activities. I believe that we are a far greater target in South America (especially, it seems, Peru) than in most other parts of the world. This is mostly because we are seen to be "rich" and therefore, a legitimate target. Naturally, we do not have that particular situation in our own countries. Obviously, we can be victims in our own countries, but not because we have been targeted because we are "rich". It seems to be more random in our home countries.
Also, let's not forget that there are probably dozens of robberies every day against folks like us that are not being publicized.

I find myself being a lot more wary about chatting with locals. To me, an important part of traveling is to meet local people and interact with them in a positive way. I am finding myself shutting myself off from meeting people as I doubt that I'll trust any of them. This is all rather unfortunate. PETER COMMENTS STOPS

Being an easy target, this is why you get robbed.
It is obvious you have a camera, gold ring, airplane baggage tags, dressed too nice, rented a car, just lay your stuff around anywhere.

Note though, I have only been robbed in Madrid Spain of my passport and coming off the island of Koh Samui, Thailand of 50 plus dollars. Sophisticated robbers have got me, not the average, I am trying to figure out and working diligently to make a backpack that would protect people. Especially the older people, I am going to try again here in Peru or Bolivia to make another bag as the snap, buttons, zippers are low quality in Nepal.

Both time though I made a strategic errors in my beliefs on how a person could rob me or how I should protect my valuables. I still lose more than I am robbed, but my guess is one in five travelers is robbed of over 200 dollars of valuable or more.

Why do you not hear about tourist being robbed in Europe?
People will not admit they have been robbed, similar to the stock market, do you ever hear a person say,
"I lost 10 grand on the stock market."
The no lose face syndrome
People hide their humanity, now that is the ultimate stupidity.


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My husband, a white South African, took me back to his hometown of
Cape Town for our honeymoon about 3 years ago. He told me that the
black people there never bothered him (and neither did the blacks
ever bother his fellow white South African friends and family) even
when he had to walk in the local train station (which is typically
full of blacks), and wherever he went, they never bothered him. Until
I was there with him. I am a Chinese girl from Singapore, and the
moment I stepped into any public place in South Africa with my
husband, we got mobbed literally by a cluster of black guys, some
possibly dangerous, some maybe not, but all were very "determined" to
chat us up, find out where we're going, what we were doing, etc, and
often also offering to take us to some "nice" place with great
scenery. My initial suspicion was not to answer too much to strangers
who appear too friendly and "helpful", but these guys were really
hard to get rid of. They were stubborn, a lot of them, and we often
had to walk briskly on, as we put on our friendliest smiles to them
we refused their offers politely as we could.

Since Chinese-looking people are a rarity in South Africa, and since
I was stupid enough to bring along clothes which I normally wear when
I go out shopping with my girlfriends in London, Singapore and Tokyo
- nice trendy places, we concluded that I was obviously becoming a
target for robbers and thiefs because I was so well-dressed.

When we recounted our experiences at the public places and the train
station to my husband's family and friends in South Africa, they were
all bemused. They've never had that happen to them before. The blacks
in the country were used to the presence of white South Africans
there, and they knew that the white South Africans could be poor
white trash or know all their tricks, having lived there so long, so
the blacks seldom ever bothered the white people for money and stuff,
unless the white person in question looked particularly rich. Perhaps
I should have worn my most shabby, torn clothes in the closet which I
usually reserve for when I am painting pictures or when I need to do
some DIY around the house. It was a big mistake that I had brought
along my usual clothes to wear in South Africa.

We spent about a month in South Africa, and during that time, we
drove around in my father-in-law's car most the time since after our
first few experiences walking in public places and in the train
station in South Africa, we decided it would never be that safe for
to travel publicly and putting ourselves in more vulnerable

Still, after that, we would ocasionally bump into groups of black
youths looking a little menacing with their baseball bats or large
sticks in their hands, demanding donations of money from us - I would
not call that "begging" because begging would mean a certain level of
humility, which they did not display. Once we stopped over at Coffee
Bay for 2 days because it was a beautiful place, but the trip was a
bit overshadowed by the poor, leaking-zinc-roofed, mosquito-infested
backpackers' hostel available to us, and this one black kid who
practically followed us around everywhere we went during the days we
stayed there, determined to secure our trust in him so that he could
take us into this seedy-looking place where we only ever saw loads of
poor black folks going in and out of, where the white scruffy hippie
backpackers in the area never went in to... I had my doubts... If we
had gone in with him, who knows we could have been robbed or
something, since none of the tourists around us even dared venture
And the fact that the kid was so persistent, waiting outside the
fence surrounding our hostel every day... ... it just made me feel a
bit wary.

I personally feel that travelling should not only consist of staying
in luxurious English-speaking resorts all day, shutting oneself from
the real locals who live in areas around or out of the area where the
resorts are. Every country I've been to, I made it a point to really
live where the locals do and try to talk to the locals, get a feel of
how it really is like living there. Unfortunately, my honeymoon trip
to my husband's homeland of South Africa was my first-ever experience
of travelling to a "third-world" country - I say "third world"
because I'm not sure if South Africa is officially considered as one,
since the areas where the white South Africans live are developed
areas with good infrastructure, nice suburban surroundings, and large
modern shopping malls (which ironically, mostly are guarded by black
African security guards whose main jobs are to keep the poor blacks
from entering these malls on the possibly right assumption that poor
blacks have no business in these malls other than begging or
for so many of them are living below the poverty line and/or have no
job or income, they could never afford to buy anything in the malls)..

Its a pity that one has to protect oneself when being in countries
where the poor are the majority of the population, and thus limit
one's contact with the locals, who are ever so ready to chat with
foreigners. Perhaps its because poor people don't have so many hang-
ups because they don't have much to lose (unlike us, people from
developed countries?) and perhaps for the black sheep of the locals,
they want to chat foreigners up because foreigners are fodder for
theft and robbery, simply by the fact that they are in a strange land
and have no relatives there to help them readily. I would like to be
really open with these people, but the fact that I am foreign, that I
can actually travel out of leisure or interest in travelling (which
unimaginable to the poor people in third world countries), already
sets me apart from them. I can understand why they might never view
any foreign travellers in their countries as equals, no matter how
shabby the backpackers might look/dress... Even the poorest one of
the backpackers could still have something more valuable than what
these poor people in the third world have -- an American or a
passport, for example.


If you are interested in meeting locals in the areas that you are travelling who are interested in meeting other travellers like themselves, a good site is I am travelling to Ecuador and Peru and I have been in contact with other travellers like myself through that website who live there and who have been very helpful in offering advice and accommadation. I am looking forward to meeting up with them once I get there.

If you are interested in meeting locals in the areas that you are travelling who are interested in meeting other travellers like themselves, a good site is I am travelling to Ecuador and Peru and I have been in contact with other travellers like myself through that website who live there and who have been very helpful in offering advice and accommadation. I am looking forward to meeting up with them once I get there.

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