I felt the hand in my bag the moment it happened. Adrenaline kicked in and I spun around. ¨Who was it?¨ I screamed into the crowd. I was angry and there had been witnesses. A woman pointed and we began to run. The crowd was moving quickly in both directions. It was useless.
I didn´t start to cry until 10 minutes later. My passport and wallet were safe in my bag. It could have been worse. But still, my camera and all my pictures of our trek--one of the best experiences of my life--were gone. I didn´t even care about the camera--it was just the memory card I wanted.
But it was just pictures. The camera can be replaced and the memories can´t be stolen.
And yet, I feel violated and unsafe. (I´m usually so careful, so vigilant. I mean, I´ve travelled to over 20 countries. I´ve worked in the developing world. In hostels, I sleep with my purse in my arms. I carry minimal amounts of cash. I lock my backpack in crowds. I always walk with my purse in front of me with a hand on top. Except for that one moment, the one I wish I could have back.)
I still can´t shake the feeling of the phantom hand. I´ve been reminded that yes, it can happen to even me.