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Saturday, March 16, 2019

How to Get Pick-Pocketed In Portugal

My first international trip of the year? Portugal! People had been telling me so many good things about Lisbon, I just had to go there to see it for myself. 

In typical Taylor fashion, I booked my airline tickets through Expedia (I'm not sponsored), then decided to treat myself and stay in hotels instead of Airbnb's. I heard that Portugal was one of the less expensive cities in Europe and I totally agree after booking my hotels! All of the hotels were chic, elegant, and two of them had a little balconies where I could stand out on and sip my Portuguese tea. 

Lisbon surprised me. Yes, it's traditional and the architecture is of course beautiful but the city was also upbeat, cosmopolitan, trendy, and largely DIVERSE! When I was in Spain and Italy, I stuck out and received lots of curious "I don't really ever see black people" looks but in Lisbon I could roam without so many people being confused about my appearance. #bestlife


My second night there, I found myself in a park on a bench enjoying the bustling nightlife of Lisbon. I decided to be bold and chat up a group of friends who were hanging out near the bench next to me. They were friendly and invited me for a drink at a bar in Barrio Alto. The streets in this neighborhood are packed with locals and tourists, drinking (outside, yes, you can drink on the street) and chit-chatting. The bar we went to had a good vibe but was tiny and I felt more like I was back in NYC on the crowded 6 train because there were so many people jammed inside. 

I crossed the small and crowed space to get closer to where two of my new friends were standing, then I got this sudden and very specific feeling of "where the my phone??"! I frantically check my left pocket where my work phone was and it wasn't there. I look on the floor and see my case face down on the floor right next to my foot. I picked up in relief thinking I had just dropped it, flipped the case to the front, but no phone. 
Someone pickpocketed me in about 7 seconds.

Around 3:30am, I get back to my hotel after looking for my phone on the floor of the bar. Frazzled and sad, I ask the concierge where a police station was to file a police report. A day later, when I am supposed to go catch the train to Porto, I woke up late, look at my personal phone and see a notification that my iPhone was found! 13 minutes before I need to check out! Just a few hours until my train! 

I get dressed, throw my stuff into my suitcase and struggle out of my hotel room and down to the concierge so they can hold my bag while I run to the police to then run to the jerk who stole my phone. 

I make it to the police station, tell them what's going on and they're moving slowly. REAL slowly. Not exactly the hot pursuit I was hoping for. 

The Police officers at the station walk me to these two guy dressed in regular clothing. I'm confused, but then realize they are dressed this way because they are working undercover. 
Pickpocket special forces unit. This is a thing.

We walk to the location (not sure where their police cars were??) of where my work iPhone was pinned and at this point I have missed my train. The location was an approximate location and we ended up at a bank/corner store/fruit store in not the greatest neighborhood. The corner store worker said there was a guy who bought an iPhone charger. We guess he plugged it in and it came on briefly pinning the location but he was long gone especially after our stroll to the location. 

After I leave the undercover cops, I see that I had a few texts I hadn't responded to from my mom due to the craziness of the morning. I call her, and tell her what happened and why I wasn't responding, and she starts CRYING. She thought whoever took my phone may have followed me and done something since I wasn't answering her and since I didn't use any emojis in the earlier texts I sent. Hearing her upset was gut-wrenching and I explained to her (multiple times) if she thinks I'm in trouble to just call me! Don't just sit in peril! What a morning. Not even 12pm. I need to catch my train to the next city then I need a glass of Port wine and a shot a whisky. STAT. 

I couldn't help to think was it the new friends I just met, or maybe the guy I saw in the bar who was looking at me? I decided to let my theories go. My work phone was gone and I just needed to accept it and move on to enjoy the rest of my trip. It could have been worse. I wasn't harmed and it could have been my wallet with my passport and credit cards. I still had my personal iPhone to use so could still navigate and communicate. It could happen anywhere and I tried my best not to hold too many ill feelings against Lisbon even though I'm just a tad bit salty about it. 

And so...here is your ultimate & very simple

How to Get Pick-Pocketed in Portugal Guide

  • Make sure you stand in really, really crowed places with lots of people surrounding and brushing past you. The more people the better. 
  • Take your phone out and be on it so people can see that you have a nice phone. Hold it in your hand and very obviously put it away.
  • Be sure to keep your phone in your pockets at all times when you're not using it. 



Follow these simple steps and you'll have no phone and be filing a police report in no time.





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