I try on just about every tour to warn people about the pickpockets in this city, whom are many and effective. Not to make them paranoid but just to be aware. It’s a problem in this city, and every guide book will warn you, but still, it happens.
Yesterday, I had a 10:00am tour. I left the house a little after 9:00. Running late, I rushed out of the door, quicly locking our giant front door and heading downstairs and out the front gate at the end of the ramp leading down to the door of our building. It was only as I was going to catch the bus that I realized I had forgotten my cel phone at home. Strange! I never forget my cel phone, Chiara would be quick to remind you. I’m too dependent on it.
So I ran back to grab it, repeating my departure procedure in reverse, and doing it all over again. I wasn’t late though, in fact I had enough time to ggrab a cappucino before meeting the clients for a tour of the Ancient City and Colosseum.
As we walked from their hotel to the Roman Forum I thought about all the things I could do when the tour was done. Things I had meant to do in Rome but hadn’t gotten around to it. Go up to the Palatine Hill, (the former homes of the Emperors, from where we get our modern word Palace) and on top of the Vittoriano Monument, known as the Wedding Cake colloquially.
I accomplished these tasks, like a tourist. I went there, I saw them, i wandered around shirtless (which a local would never do) and I took some pictures of the Wedding Cake from on top. Then I put my mobile phone back into my back. 10 minutes later when I arrived at the bus stop, my phone was gone.
I panicked at first, ready to start crying and crap my pants. But then I picked myself up and went back around the corner to the Wedding Cake and asked some police officers if anyone had found my cel phone which I had thoughtlessly tossed onto the stairs after taking those pictures. (At this point I was still imagining I had somehow lost my phone). They told me to go upstairs to where I took those pictures and see if my phone was there. It slowly began to dawn on me that I had been like a zebra with a broken leg. Earphones plugged in, dazed in the sun, I took my phone out (not an amazing space phone, but theftworthy) and snapped some photos,. then put it back into the outside pocket of my bag. At some point the thief just walked by, even the sound of the velcro wouldn’t have penetrated my Brother Ali earfunk.
And gone it is. And I am pissed. At the pickpocket fro sure, but mostly at myself, for being an oblivious prick. I’ve been so pickpocket proactive while here, planning how exactly to break the hand reaching into my pocket. Instead the opportunity was squandered. And all my condescending admonishments to the tourists I escort around the city fell on deaf ears. My own.
I thought I was streetwise. The pickpocket thought otherwise. He (or she)was right. And away they get without me quickly and silently snapping their handbones. Also, they have my phone.
The bolg pictures I took with my phone…it’ll be ahile until that happens again. especially seeing how I broke Chiara’s camera a couple weeks ago. But that’s another (embarassing) story.