Last Saturday as I was waiting for the green light to cross the street on Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, I felt a sudden tug at my neck and when I looked behind me, I saw two men running away from me as fast as they could. I realized they had taken my gold necklace and leaf pendant. It was broad daylight, around 3:30 p.m. and I was following the neighborhood walk recommended by Frommer's which starts at the Casa Rosada and ends at the Congreso. I was on my way to Congreso when the robbery happened.
There was another person standing there to my left and I told him that the robbers had just grabbed my necklace and he said he didn't see them. When I think back to that moment, I believe this same man was part of that group because he had earlier tried to distract me. I noticed he was fidgeting with his empty plastic bag and I thought what on earth is he doing? No one was crowding me but I was surrounded. And I didn't notice that the man standing to my right a few feet away had moved and either he or his cohort approached me from behind. There was only one other person there, a woman, and she didn't seem to have noticed anything. There were no cops around and the only people I could see where at the outdoor café on Avenida de Mayo, who were too far away to have witnessed the incident.
I walked the short distance to Congreso where I took a taxi back to my hotel. I told the hotel staff what happened to me and went up to my room. The hotel elevator has a mirrored wall and as I turned my back I noticed something dangling from my right shoulder. When I pulled it I saw that it was part of my necklace which had been wrapped twice around my neck. I was glad that a piece of the chain was left but it also made me shudder to think that I could have been choked by the impact as the chain was wrapped tightly around my neck.
The moral of the story is, don't tempt fate. By wearing that necklace and leaf pendant (which latter was not pure gold but dipped in gold), I invited these muggers. I was oblivious to the warnings posted in the guidebook because I had been walking around for three days in Buenos Aires, in unfamiliar neighborhoods and didn't feel my security was threatened.
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Image by Charie