Thieving Peruvian beggars in house and streets!

If you google what to be prepared for when coming to peru the harshest stories appear. Muggings, taxi drivers driving off with your luggage, drugs, rapes etc. frightened the life out of me to be honest. I went out and bought my slash resistant money belt, changed some but not loads of money, took note that I should have my bag in front of me, knew not to put luggage in a car with driver behind wheel, and not on my back and thought I was prepared!
You get here and actually feel safe in Cuzco. I wasn’t scared at the airport, and even waiting for my lift for an hour all seemed fine. Model boy when he turned up at the orphanage had his money belt on and when he went to take a picture brought out a disposable camera. Everyone laughed at him, grandad in particular for his daft concerns! Looked like the biggest tourist going, especially with his very pale complexion and 6ft frame! I’m sure more of the volunteers have money belts than let on mind, but just not so obvious!
We’ve all felt safe to be truthful, no one had any complaints or concerns. We got taxis no problem, walked into and out of town in pairs and even on our own sometimes. Even through the dodgy zanzuela area of the boys orphanage!
All good in the hood as they say!! Ah ha, then after about 3 weeks into posh Essex girls stay she mislaid her music iPod. As a scatty girl she just thought maybe it was hidden somewhere. When she went to charge her book iPod she noticed the charger was gone too, that’s not mislaid that’s bloody stolen! Then each day something else in the orphanage seemed to be missing, money, USB sticks, spare phones? Can’t all be lost or mislaid. Having returned from the jungle and realised my new waterproof camera was fab for its purpose but has no real zoom I went to get my other camera out of my suitcase, and charge the batteries. Bizarrely I found the case but no camera. You doubt yourself, can you possibly have packed the case on its own??? So I contact my neighbour and ask her to check but honestly know I’m not that blonde!!! Then I realise my USB stick has gone with all my work on it, my English money as well and a bag of bibs I brought over for the kids. Random!! Now USB sticks and cameras can be replaced but my documents and photos can’t. Gutted!! They did however leave my passport, credit cards and iPad!!! Always a silver lining! Posh Essex girl finds out her English money has gone, and that was in a zipped pocket of a wallet hidden away, and her watch from the draw is gone. Now you start doubting your fellow volunteers, kids, staff. Who can you trust? The items were in locked rooms in locked apartments in a locked house?? Also items that you don’t notice straight away that they are missing. My iPad I use constantly so would know, posh Essex girls kindle wasn’t taken either! Following discussions with other volunteers we find out that watches, more phones, more money, a packet of underwear (I mean really) and a mosquito net have gone? About £1000 worth of stuff we reckon. Feeling pretty shit as can’t trust anyone, don’t want to leave the room in case more goes missing! You just feel so depressed and constantly analyse movements of people. Not great! Anyway had to head to boys for concert so walked over there to clear heads. To top the day of finding all this missing stuff, on my walk over to the boys through town, I take my wallet as need to get more cash out, have it in my handbag and stupidly have it on my shoulder. The streets are so very busy and we bump into loads of people so cross over the road. I then feel my bag pull slightly, so pull it to the front of me turn around and see 2 men that seem to have just stopped following us as we carry on. Think nothing more of it and head to boys. Having been there for an hour I pop back to my bag and notice a bloody great slash in the side. Luckily my address book with postcards was in there and got cut by knife slashing bag, but it blocked off my wallet. Big sigh of relief and a lesson to myself. One don’t carry your wallet with all your cards in and two don’t have your bag on your back. I bloody googled all this anyway! Doh! Pleased with myself that I felt the bag move. And pleased that the stupid muggers slit the side and not the bottom as all would have fallen out!
So you get robbed in your home and robbed on your walks, where do you keep your valuables hey??!!
After a panicked day of not trusting anyone we both settle down, lock valuables in a suitcase and speak to the boss. He didn’t sleep last night for the worry. Devastated that it has happened and he spent all night working out who it could be. He has suspicions of one of the staff as does his mother who is a wise old woman it seems so they just need to catch them. He’s changing our locks, we will have one of 2 keys with him being the other holder and we ask for the rooms to be cleaned at our discretion. Seems like a plan. Off to the police when I return from machu pitchu to get my incident number and therefore insurance claim!
Moral of the story; don’t get too complacent in foreign climates!! 😉

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