Robbery, pickpocketing, deception – when traveling you should always be aware of the risks that may occur in the areas your going to. Sometimes it’s better to ask someone if a specific neighborhood is dangerous or not. Personally, after visiting several countries – including almost all countries in South America – I had only one incident. Luckily only one.. and I wasn’t really in danger. But what happened..
I was walking in the streets in downtown Montevideo, Uruguay, when out of nowhere a guy showed up. He started talking to me and warned me of pickpockets in the area. Well, I had my camera in my back pocket of my jeans so he was referring to that. It was actually a nice gesture of the guy who was rather small and in a suit (Yeah, that’s what they want. They want you to trust them). Anyway, we continued talking a little bit because he noticed I wasn’t from there. After he asked me where I was going I told him the direction where I was headed (more or less) and he insisted to walk with me for a bit because he had to go the same direction – that’s what he told me. Anyway, we had been walking for a little more than 30 minutes. Talking about this and that. Sports. Countries. Music. He said he was a DJ in a club in Montevideo and I should pass by if I had time on the weekend. He talked a lot. During the entire half an hour that we had been talking I was kind of in a dilemma. My mind was like „he is suspicious. Do I trust him?“. But right after I was like „don’t be so narrow-minded and judge so quickly“. It was like that. Forth and back all the 35 minutes we had been walking together.
As mentioned, we also talked about sports. About futbol. Actually, mostly it was him talking. He did talk a lot. But he was very attentive to everything and he noticed that I like futbol. So he asked me if I was going to the game that night. „Which game“, I replied. Then he told me there was a game between the national team of Uruguay and Brazil (these teams actually played against each other – but it turned out to be one day later..). Obviously I didn’t know about it nor did I have tickets. He was like „listen, I have good connections in the entertainment business here in town since I am a DJ. If you want I will see if I can get you a ticket. A very good seat. Actually, I am on my way picking up my tickets for my family and me.“ I wasn’t convinced yet.. again my mind: trust him or not? Eventually, after he had made a few calls (who ever he called..) I told him I was interested and I wouldn’t mind to make a little detour to pick up the tickets with him. So we went a little outside of downtown to a rather abandoned area. To a big building where he apparently needed to pick up the tickets. There was only one problem though: he could only purchase this tickets for family members. This is why I should wait outside the building and give him the money. I was like: „hmmm.. I can give you half of the money now and the other half when you come back with the tickets.“ He was okay with it at first. So he entered the building but came back again a little later and told to me that he needed all the money right now because he didn’t have enough on him to buy all the tickets. I figured since he came back once he might come back a second time. So I gave him all the money. It was not that much.. only like 30 USD. But 30 USD that I have never seen again. Neither the ticket. Nor the guy.. He must have left the building at another exit while I was waiting there for like half an hour. And there he was gone.
Well, shit happens. But I was glad to only pay 30 USD for this lesson.. and nothing else happened. One may say I was kind of naive. And when I look back: maybe I was. But honestly, these guys are good at deception. At talking and making you feel comfortable. You’re good in your job. They’re good in theirs. But hey.. lesson learned.