One of the most common question travellers ask while going to South America is “How safe is it?”
The answer to this question is – It’s almost as safe or dangerous as most tourist destinations in the world. No matter what part of the world you go to there is are certain precautions you need to take in order to avoid undesirable experiences.
I’d like to share a story about an incident that occurred to me and my friends while we were in Buenos Aires.
It was a public holiday in Buenos Aires and we just checked into the hostel after a long bus ride into BA from Iguazu Falls. We relieved ourselves of the backpacks and as a first priority set out to exchange currency.
The lanes were empty and really quite, hardly a vehicle or passerby in sight. As the three of us walked I noticed a hobo who looked drunk and was sitting at the side of the walkway just then I felt something on my neck, I turned behind and my friend, who i’ll call John, was also looking over his shoulder to see what he had on his neck. It was at this time that three men appeared out of nowhere and began pointing upwards and yelled “pigeon poop, pigeon poop…”, the hobo joined them in their chants as well.
The poop was gross and I was desperately looking for something I could use to wipe it off my neck. John had a small backpack and was covered with the most poop! The three guys now wanted to help John rid himself of the poop on the backpack and his shirt. All of a sudden I realised we were in the midst of a lot of commotion – the three men were shouting and pointing, the hobo was pointing to the sky and asking me to look and another lady who entered the street was just hanging out not being affected by this commotion.
John put the backpack onto the ground to clean it, while one of the guys held his head up pretending to clean the poop off John’s neck. Amidst all this, luckily, both John and I realised one of the guys picked up the backpack and began walking. John sprinted to the guy and firmly gripped the backpack. I ran towards the backpack as well and suddenly there was silence! The three men, the hobo and the lady all disappeared into the by lanes.
All three of us were carrying small amounts of money so even if they robbed us, it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference to our trip. However, John made the mistake of keeping the passport in the backpack so had they escaped with the backpack, it would not be a pleasant situation.
While such incidents shouldn’t hamper your spirit to visit any place, you should still take necessary precautions and read about scams specific to your travel destinations in advance so you can avoid any unpleasant experiences.
Today, the incident is actually an interesting addition to my travel stories and I tend have a laugh or two about it since we didn’t lose anything.
And FYI, the pigeon poop was apparently fermented mustard! GROSS