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Nov 5th 2010 8:04PM When we were in Zimbabwe the hot items for trade were sneakers and bras. The money meant nothing to the nationals because even if they had money, there was nothing on the shelves of the stores for them to buy. We left half of the clothes in our backpacks there.. Many without a trade, we just donated them.
Oct 25th 2010 10:47AM As I exited the RER B at the Denfert-Rochereau station in Paris, I struggled through the head-high, tight turnstile, backpack on shoulders when a man got in right behind me. I thought he was trying to jump the gate for a free ride, but unfortunately his goal was my wallet, which he quickly found. He had come up behind me and pushed me tight against the gate so I had nowhere to go. He reached into my Velcro pocket and grabbed the wallet.
Doing a quick, shaky assessment, I determined my wallet to have two credit cards, $25 in US bills, 40 Euro, and a drivers license. Thankfully my passport was deep in my backpack. In the 30 minutes it took to get to a place to report my cards stolen, $3000 dollars had been charged.
After a few glasses of wine I forgave myself and tried to move on to enjoy the Paris setting. The VERY NEXT day, in the same station, it happened again!! I learned my lesson and had all my remaining valuables locked in a big pocket of my pack with a small luggage lock. This time the pickpocket found his way into a small zipper area of my bag which held a map and a baggie with some tampons in it. Needless to say he was quite surprised with this find! I guess it was some sort of justice as he walked away with his friends laughing at him.