Ecuador is known to have a lot of Petty Thief as far as stealing and dishonesty. And for as long as I have traveled in Latin America and have been to and in Ecuador I have never been a victim of these petty crimes. Unfortunately now I can’t say that I haven’t. Saturday on September 20th, 2014 I was at the Otavalo open air Market. Since I got there around 9:45am the afternoon traffic had not arrived yet.
I started on the live meat market side across the street from the main market. By around 11:30am the market started to get more crowded as locals and foreigners started to arrive by buses and taxis. Road ways begin to get congested with all the tents, food, trinkets and people.
There was one occasion where everyone in the road was gridlocked. I felt a slight tug on my bag and turned around to look behind me. I shrugged it off because it is common to have people in close corridors bumping into one another. About ten minutes later I set my backpack down to put something in it when I noticed my Zipper tab was cut off, but the zipper wasn’t pulled open. I have a top loading Pack, so you can’t just pull the zipper down to open the backpack. Because I have this type of pack I believe this is why he didn’t mess with the zippers, more work. On my pack I lock my zippers closed by connecting two of the zipper tabs together. This way if anyone wants to get into my bag they have to work for it. So after realizing my Severed Zipper Cord I looked down at the front of my bag and saw a 5 inch incision running down my pack. If I were wearing a cheap Jansport backpack my stuff would have been stolen, but since I had a pretty decent pack he had to cut through 3 layers (one being a foam layer) in order for him to get into the pocket he was trying to cut into. Fortunately for me, the bottom layer of those three layers was only perforated and not completely slit open. Unfortunately for him, I’m not a dumb tourist and even if he got into that pocket all he would have gotten was a used a toothbrush, toothpaste and tampons.
Ultimately I was left with all my stuff and just a cut backpack. Nothing of my was taken and in that aspect I am grateful to avoid that headache. I’m not mad that my pack got sliced open, I can always fix that. I’m upset in the fact that I now fall into the statistic of petty thief in Ecuador. Now if someone where to ask if I have had any problems as far was thief in Ecuador I wouldn’t truthfully be able to say “no”. In the long run, I am kind of happy this incident happened to me (crazy I think that, I know). I can learn from it and it keeps me on my toes. It doesn’t change my view about Ecuador whatsoever (I still love it), this could have happen at the Saturday Market back at my hometown. When I told my Ecuadorian friend about what happen he looked at me and said, “Suerte”. I replied, “Supongo.”