Thursday, December 14, 2006

Robbery in Sicily

The 2nd day I was in Palermo of Sicily. I took a bus to the town Monreale. It's about 30 mins away from Palermo and have a beautiful church with exquisite motif.

In the guidebook I used (Lonely planet in this case), it has explicitly written "Pickpocket is notorious on this bus". The other way would be to take a taxi but it will probably cost about 30-40 euros vs 1 euro by bus. After some deep thinking I still decided to take the chance and take the bus.

The bus stop is not really a bus stop but just a place where a dozen people standing at a corner of the street. There are a dozen local folks and about the same number of tourist. There were two Japanese in their fifty that took the bus with me. I was mistaken as a Japanese and we chatted for a while. I stay cautious and move around whenever somebody come close.

Just when the bus came, 3 Italians arrived. In a split of second when the Japanese tourist and I boarded the bus, I realized something was wrong - nobody is moving on my left side. The Japanese tourist was blocked by the 3 Italians. He was struggling and it seems somebody has their hands all over his waist. It went on for about 2 minutes before he "escaped" and come close to his wife and me. Nobody helped or even said a single word. I am sure the bus driver noticed it but he didn't do anything.

Luckily nothing was taken as he was warned before he came that this bus has pickpocket. He probably has his wallet hided somewhere... If they were not there I think I might be the victim!

Lesson learned:
  1. Use a money purse and hide it somewhere inside your body
  2. Drive or take a taxi
  3. Probably not a good idea to go alone in Sicily...

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