Walking back from the gym yesterday, I stopped by a travel agency near Highbury & Islington Tube station, about 1 mile north of our flat. We're planning a trip to Australia for next year, so I occasionally stop by travel agents for brochures and check airfare prices. The shop was not very busy, so I sat down at the counter and placed my gym bag on the vacant chair next to mine whilst I chatted with the agent. During our conversation, several customers came and went, but it never really phased me. After about 15 minutes or so, I got up to leave, reached out to grab my bag and...nothing. The chair was empty.
I just stood there dumbfounded. The agent apologized profusely and called the police for me. In hindsight, he remembered that somebody had walked into the shop, grabbed some brochures next to my chair and walked out. Looks like he got more than just my brochures.
My ratty old Timberland backpack contained my beloved iPod (a sentimental leaving gift I received from my former colleagues), my mobile phone and my house keys attached to my favorite carabiner keyring (purchased about 15 years ago from Britches Great Outdoors store in Georgetown, Washington D.C, a clothing chain that no longer exists). They also nicked my sweaty stinky gym clothes. It could have been worse.
I was gobsmacked. It's one thing to get robbed in a pub, nightclub, crowded street or metro train, but a travel agency?? In broad daylight!?! The police frankly told me I'll never see the bag again, but they kindly took a report and called me back later that night to go over the details. I wasted the rest of the day canceling my phone and arranging for the locks to be changed, just in case.
I'm guilty of having become complacent. It just goes to show you that you cannot let your guard down for one minute. Mrs. Crab gave several tips on protecting your stuff, like always staying vigilant event in your own neighborhood, keeping physical contact with your bag even in a secure location, placing your bags between your legs, etc.
That's life in the big city.
On a completely different subject, The Two Crabs, Blushing Whale and Miss San Fran spent the weekend in Liverpool. It was mainly a Beatles pilgrimage tour and we hit all the sites including the Beatles Story museum, the Cavern Club, and took the Magical Mystery Bus Tour to Penny Lane, Strawberry Field and the childhood homes of John, Paul, George and Ringo. We also toured the new International Slavery Museum (very emotional and fascinating) and the wonderful Albert Dock, which reminded us of Baltimore's Inner Harbor with its posh restaurants, shops and pubs. Click on the Flickr icon to see more trip photos.