Normally my situational awareness is pretty good, but this technique caught me unawares for a brief moment.
On our first day touring Quito in Ecuador, we stopped at the edge of a park to consult a map. Suddenly I was sprayed by a brown unpleasant smelling liquid. Looking up I saw nothing, but a nice man pointed out pigeons and offered me a tissue. This pigeon would have to have been the size of a pelican considering the volume that hit me. Out of nowhere, two other men offered to help clean my shirt since I was suddenly struck again. All three men were very swarthy, albeit short. One was nice enough to bend down in front of me to clean my pant leg. He nicely proceed to feel up my right front pocket and moved over to the left. Never put things in your back pocket.
The Mountain Equipment Co-op pants happen to come with zippers on both front pockets. This undoubtedly saved the situation somewhat. This lightly upset their highly polished routine. But they managed to grab my iPhone and were working on the wallet. Since the leader was still in front of me bending down and attempting to grab my wallet from my now unzipped front pocket, I reciprocated and firmly and not gently grabbed the nape of this neck. This allowed him to drop the phone and back away and revert to his normal helpful persona.
We were aware of this splash and grab technique from Spain. A younger group by-passed us and splashed coffee on the older couple a few seconds behind us. They made off with wallets and passports before we could do anything.
As they say. S**T happens.
#Quito #travel #theft