On my third day.
August 10 is Quito’s Independence Day, but the celebration started the night before. I was observing a staged reenactment in Plaza Grande until I got bored and decided to walk back to my hostel. One particular street crossing was very crowded and there was a lot of unnecessary pushing and shoving by teenagers. Two thoughts went through my head:
1. This feels like a mosh pit.
2. This is how people get their pockets picked.
I went back to the hostel and noticed my wallet was not in my front pocket. I went through three minutes of panic looking for it everywhere, even in places I knew it couldn’t be at—but it was gone. I always thought I’d feel a pick pocket, but I guess their business is making sure you don’t.
The damage was $80 and two expired credit cards I was using as mugger bait to distract the respectable stash hidden in a pouch next to my crotch. My innocence as a traveler has been lost for all eternity.