It was first time that I was actually solo on my 10 country backpacking trip.
Basically, I was so solo that when I went to lunch that day, my only companions were two stray cats. And I could tell they didn't even like me for my personality, it was clearly a guise for some free food. (Stupid Peruvian Tinder)
After wandering for a few hours, I got inexplicably lost. And at this point, the sun was starting to go down. And if there's anything you should know..is that you shouldn't be alone in a new city by yourself after dark. Generally speaking at least. My phone had died so I couldn't use it for directions but I knew I was in the right vicinity, so I just kept walking up and down the same street, juggling my leftovers, my huge paper map and some groceries in my arms.
Suddenly, a woman started YELLING at me. A man also started yelling at me, shouting and gesturing that I was stepping on her hat. Sure enough, I look down and she's bent over picking up a hat that was SUDDENLY under my foot.
I apologized and roughly walked away, confused by the whole thing. I was so sure the hat had not been there a second ago. She walked ahead of me and threw some sort of liquid (I'm hoping to God that it wasn't any form of bodily fluid) up into the air. A droplet of the mystery liquid landed on my forehead, and as I went to wipe it away, the same man came from my right and bumped into me trying to stuff his hand into my pocket to steal my phone.
Maybe it was the Brooklyn in me, but I somehow figured this out midway and yelled "YO! BACK THE FUCK UP SON!" and clutched my pocket before he could grab it. They scattered faster than Sisqo's groupies after the year 2000. Everyone, and I mean everyone, turned around to stare at me. I shrugged my shoulders and miraculously found my hostel.
I couldn't believe that I got targeted by a group of pick pocketers. Thinking back, it all makes sense. I was totally the fish at the poker table. I was an easy target. Tourist. Alone. Female. Lost. Stringy looking arms.
I mean, I guess everything happens for a reason because after that I just had to tell someone. And once I got to the hostel, I made friends with Kristine who I ended up traveling with for the next two weeks.
AND if you don't want to get pick pocketed while traveling- don't look lost. Look confident. Hide your map. Guard your belongings and keep them in inside pockets. Or...you can do what I did the next day - which was wear a bitchin red bandanna around my head like Ryu from Street Fighters. Let me tell you- NO ONE tried to pick pocket me again after that.
Keep your NY Spidey Senses on.