|Subject: Theft (was: pickpockets)|
The Le Petite Café in Hyannis is a wonderful bakery transplant. Simply tasting the morning assortment with your eyes closed magically transports you to any small bakery in France. The owner has a farm in Normandy and on the rare occasion that I am there we compare notes about travel in France and Spain. This last year the owner and his enamorata were in the south of Spain in an area known for theft. After they had checked out of their hotel, they went looking for a place for lunch. They came up to a hotel and asked the doorman where to park. He said he would watch their car while they dined. When they came out the car was there, but the trunk had been jimmied and some $25,000 worth of camera equipment and luggage was gone. The doorman was nowhere to be found. They went to the police who were so enured to such robbery that they would not take a report. Needing a report for insurance purposes, they called the American consulate who finally prevailed upon the police to take such a report. There are several morals to the story: one is travel with only those things that you can afford to lose; two is don't rely on the local police (while they may be good, they are often tolerant of petty theft); and three, choose your parking carefully (asking someone to watch the car is often a tip that there are goodies inside).
Be creative. When we drove across Brazil, we had signs in Portuguese that said, Caution: rare poisonous snakes inside. If bitten, you must call a doctor within 10 minutes. A Brazilian waiter in Massachusetts said it worked every time. We were never bothered.
Keep you wallet and bag close. One evening in Madrid a shopkeeper told my friend that he was advertising his wallet. He changed it immediately.
Walk with brass. If you appear as though you will bust someone's (intentionally deleted), then you may deter theft. Thieves do not want problems. Be courteous, but bold. I onced strolled the Grand Via in Madrid with my eldest daughter on my first trip there. I was somewhat surprised by her attitude and bearing. It was extremely aggressive. She told me that it kept the pickpockets and petty thieves at bay. (She also made friends with the local police by baking them cakes and she never had a problem in Madrid). You do not have to be rude, just confident.
So far, so good.