Pickpockets in BA

This item appears on page 56 of the April 2011 issue.

Waiting for our cruise-tour aboard the Norwegian Sun to begin with Vantage Deluxe World Travel (Boston, MA), we spent three days in Buenos Aires in late March ’10. Luckily, on one of our city tours the local Vantage guide filled us in on a tourist scam.

The perpetrators spray you with brown mustard, then rush up with tissue to help clean off the offensive stuff, pointing up into the trees and blaming the birds for the mess. In the process, they pick your pocket or steal belongings.

The next morning, on a walk in Plaza San Martin, that very thing happened to us. We passed two young girls and I felt a drop on my hand, but I also smelled the vinegary mustard odor. Our friends ahead of us also got sprayed.

The two girls rushed up with tissues, but we fended them off, backing away and saying, “No. No.” They sprayed our friends in the back again before running off.

Our friends sent their clothes to the laundry — no lasting stains but a lot of hassle.

Buenos Aires is a beautiful city, but several in our tour group had their pockets picked and one woman had her wallet stolen from her backpack. Luckily, she was carrying only a small amount of money and her passport was in the safe in her room.

Kenai, AK