We experienced our first, and hopefully, the last encounter with a pickpocket on the subway coming back from a very nice day on El Rio Tigre (The Tiger River) the other day.
It was rush hour and the busiest we’ve seen the subway (called Subte in Argentina). Nevermind getting a seat, it was standing room only and you couldn’t have fallen down even with the sudden lurch of the train- the bodies were so tightly packed there was no place to fall, and so a perfect time for the pick-pocketers.
We’d been warned of course to watch out for shady characters pushing and shoving into your personal space, but as I said, it was so crowded there was no way not to be pushed and jostled. For every 2 who exited the train, 12-15 were squeezing in. Standing out like tourists as we do we’re obvious marks.
It was a short guy behind me with a black hat pulled down over his forehead. He kept bumping into me, maybe feeling for a wallet or something to grab quickly. We’d been forewarned so my small day pack was tight to my body and under one arm with all 3 zippered compartments in my vision and not really accessible. Mickey had his wallet in his front pocket and his hand clamped securely over it, so “el creep-o” was having trouble scoring. Actually it was a couple of nearby passengers who caught on before we did. What we did notice was an argument brewing with pushing and shoving and shouting between 2 guys right behind us. Next I hear a nice young lady in her 20s shouting
(careful, careful) trying to warn us. Then she yelled, Policia, punga (police, thief) over and over when just about that time the train stopped and they pushed the pickpocket out the door. Then they checked with us to see if the guy had gotten our wallets, cameras or any cash. Luckily no. We thanked them, they warned us again to be careful and exited at their stop.
A little excitment for a couple of Big Island country bumkins. Are we scared off the Subte? Nah, it’s too cheap, fast and efficient to give up. The average cab fare across the city could be around $8-$10 (30-40 pesos) and the bus fare for the same distance is 1 peso, 10 centavos (about 25¢)! The subway is a little more pricy at 2.5 pesos (58¢) but you get further faster. We’ll just try to avoid rush hour and watch our back trail.
More from our travels in Buenos Aires later.