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Yet another reason why I love my Cafe Bags

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  • Jenne
    replied
    I suppose one reason I don't wear a money belt is that I don't really have any money! I also don't like crowds or many tourist attractions. My nationality is not easily discerned (I am a white person of Northern European descent) and I grew up in Germany and Italy, so I "pass" in many parts of Western Europe. I suppose that if I went some place not as comfortable to me, I would consider wearing a money belt, but it would mean changing my whole wardrobe, since wearing a money belt under my current clothes just screams "LOOK! I have something valuable under here!" Of course, the DSLR I plan to get before my next trip might also set me up as a mark! :-)

    Of course, I think I'll be avoiding Charing Cross station!

    Leave a comment:


  • Fat Crip
    replied
    In the '80's I was mugged by three youths in Charring Cross Underground station in London. Well I should say it was an attempted mugging! All they wanted was my cash, and, as I was only 18 at the time, I only had a few quid. I'd have handed it over without question, but it was in my wallet along with my bank cards and train ticket home. The idea of being stuck in London penniless and ticketless and 400 miles from home was far more scary than getting my head kicked. They had pushed me up against a wall and while one held me by my throat the other two held my arms, but one, I was a big and fit rugby player, and two, I had the wall behind me, I was able to through them all off! I then walked up to the first person I saw and asked him for help ... my attackers disappeared!

    I walked off and, quite by chance, met some of my fellow school pupils on the way to the platform ... I've never been so happy to see friendly faces ever! A few minutes later, after I'd separated from my friends, I was standing on the edge of the platform waiting from my friends when I realised that standing either side of me were two of my attackers. I assumed the third was behind me. They had studded belts wrapped around their fists! I turned, shoved through them and ran to rejoin my friends. In order to avoid going back to Charring Cross I ended up going all round London for the next hour.

    I learn't a few sessions from this:

    1. Don't wear a smart jacket and tie when passing through London with rucksack on your back.
    2. Keep a small amount of cash readily available to 'buy them off'.
    3. Keep all of your other valuables on your person, but not all together i.e. if a robber frisks you for your money-belt whilst you are wetting yourself at knife point, you don't want to lose everything in one go. Instead tell them your money is in your trouser pocket - let them have the twenty quid that's there.
    4. To get from Charing Cross mainline station to Victoria, you don't use Charing Gross underground, but instead go out the side steps, walk down Villiers Street and get on the Circle or District lines! (Londoner's will know what I mean) I'd done the journey dozens of times so must just have had a brain freeze!

    Leave a comment:


  • MaggieScratch
    replied
    Heh. I feel sorry more for tourists wrestling with giant suitcases. I see them a lot on the train while commuting--they are going back and forth to the airport or train/bus station. I just want to say to them, "I was you, once! And it can be better!"

    I still love my Cafe Bag.

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    Traveling anywhere entails risks of dealing with people and neighborhoods one is not
    really comfortable with.

    Tour guides for general information and Travel forums and blogs, including Tom Bihn's for up to date reviews and impressions are a must.

    I found that nothing beats the knowledge of locals for real tips on the safest, coolest and better avoided neighborhoods and places.


    To get back to the object of this thread, the Cafe Bag, the design and features are unique and extremely cool.

    This is a sentiment that is shared worldwide, below is a review in French of the Ristretto, the Cafe Bag with padded compartment, rounder profile and clip on Straps.


    TOM BIHN Blog - Test du sac de transport pour iPad Ristretto de Tom Bihn



    That very cool design has even been imitated!

    Leave a comment:


  • Maria
    replied
    So true Maggie and Flitcraft.

    Being somewhat "snobby" at times myself, I would often feel sorry for the typical tourist. You know, the outlandish outfits that stand out as "I'm a tourist" - white runners, shorts, etc. Yet who am I to judge?

    There are those who cannot be bothered to travel outside their own little zone feeling that nothing can compare to what they themselves have at home / in their own country / as if thier own citizens are somehow better people. As someone once told me why they absolutely hated Paris...because the McDonald's isn't as good as at home, and it was filled with French people. (This was an adult.)
    I didn't know what to say in reply!

    Leave a comment:


  • flitcraft
    replied
    Not to worry, Maggie; online communication is a blunt instrument, and tone is too often lost in translation. I think some of the "I don't need no stinkin' money belt" comments carry of whiff of bravado at times, too. Though, I admit with a smile, I sometimes am glad when I see the ultra-obvious tourist abroad, on the theory that, like the limping gazelle on the savannah, they may attract the attention of the predators so that I will go unmolested.

    Leave a comment:


  • MaggieScratch
    replied
    I was trying to be funny and apparently failed. But the point remains--you ARE cautious. I agree, as I said above, I can't imagine how difficult it would be to go through all that in another city or country.

    Leave a comment:


  • Maria
    replied
    Originally posted by flitcraft View Post
    You may be right about travel snobbery, but I think it may be more complicated than that. I travel a fair amount (on the road probably three or four months total out of the year), including Europe, Asia, and the US as my typical destinations. I almost never wear a money belt abroad, but that is mostly because much of my travel is for business, so I don't spend much time in prime tourist zones where pickpocketing is rife. When I am in particularly pickpocket rich areas--say, Las Ramblas in Barcelona--I'm inclined to wear a money belt regardless of whether I happen to be wearing "cool and black and European" clothing or my geeky semi-professional clothing (I personally don't wear shorts or white shoes or waist packs anywhere, so I'm not inclined to make a special purchase just to uphold American traveler stereotypes.) The reason I take special precautions like the money belt while traveling in pickpocket-prone areas but never at home is not because I think I'm not likely to be robbed or pickpocketed at home--Seattle certainly has its share of crime--but because it would be a comparatively minor inconvenience to lose my credit cards and driver's license at home but a super-major pain to lose my cash, credit and cash cards, passport, and other identification while out of town. Replacing stuff at home is annoying but I would still be able to sleep at home, go to work, and live my ordinary life in the meantime; replacing stuff abroad means cancelling all my plans or putting them on hold while trying to get emergency money, contact the American embassy, explain to tomorrow's hotel why I don't have anymeans of guaranteeing my bill, etc.

    I don't think I'm a travel snob so much as somebody who makes choices that make sense to me based on context. YMMV of course.
    Brilliantly stated Flitcraft, plus witty too.

    I take public transportation and am out walking about every day in the city. I don't wear a money belt at home. When I travel - I wear one (actually more of a passport pouch around my neck underneath my clothing) while en route but not necessarily while out and about at every destination. (It depends where I am, mode of transportation, etc.) No matter how I may want to blend in, some things wil make it obvious that I am not a local. Even locals can be scammed, robbed, so one just tries to be sensible and pay attention.

    Leave a comment:


  • flitcraft
    replied
    You may be right about travel snobbery, but I think it may be more complicated than that. I travel a fair amount (on the road probably three or four months total out of the year), including Europe, Asia, and the US as my typical destinations. I almost never wear a money belt abroad, but that is mostly because much of my travel is for business, so I don't spend much time in prime tourist zones where pickpocketing is rife. When I am in particularly pickpocket rich areas--say, Las Ramblas in Barcelona--I'm inclined to wear a money belt regardless of whether I happen to be wearing "cool and black and European" clothing or my geeky semi-professional clothing (I personally don't wear shorts or white shoes or waist packs anywhere, so I'm not inclined to make a special purchase just to uphold American traveler stereotypes.) The reason I take special precautions like the money belt while traveling in pickpocket-prone areas but never at home is not because I think I'm not likely to be robbed or pickpocketed at home--Seattle certainly has its share of crime--but because it would be a comparatively minor inconvenience to lose my credit cards and driver's license at home but a super-major pain to lose my cash, credit and cash cards, passport, and other identification while out of town. Replacing stuff at home is annoying but I would still be able to sleep at home, go to work, and live my ordinary life in the meantime; replacing stuff abroad means cancelling all my plans or putting them on hold while trying to get emergency money, contact the American embassy, explain to tomorrow's hotel why I don't have anymeans of guaranteeing my bill, etc.

    I don't think I'm a travel snob so much as somebody who makes choices that make sense to me based on context. YMMV of course.

    Leave a comment:


  • MaggieScratch
    replied
    I think there is some traveler-snobbery in the "I don't wear a money belt" commentary sometimes--like, "You in your white sneakers and shorts and waist pack wandering around gaping like a hayseed at European architectural marvels, of COURSE your wallet will be picked because you might as well hang a sign around your neck that says 'rob me, I'm a tourist'. Whereas I am cool and wear black and look like a real European so I don't have to worry." I know plenty of people who have been robbed in their native place.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jenne
    replied
    While I don't wear a money belt (either at home or traveling-- though I do wear a passport pouch while traveling outside the US) I am as careful with my bags at home as I am when I travel. That's one reason I love my Cafe Bag/ Imago/ Side Effect. It's always either on me, or on the floor in front of me with the strap wrapped around my leg. (I'd rather have it a little dusty from the floor than stolen from the back of my chair!) My stuff is clipped in, so if the bottom were slashed, nothing too important would fall out. It's just easier to be in the habit all the time than try to have different habits while traveling. The passport is my only exception because I obviously don't carry it at home!

    Leave a comment:


  • MaggieScratch
    replied
    Oh, she definitely filed a police report--in fact, the police caught the woman about an hour later. She had already charged $500 in lingerie (!!!). (My question--doesn't the lingerie store person see a BIT OF A RED FLAG there????) By the time they caught her, she apparently had a bunch of shopping bags before and after the incident, and they found a few of my co-worker's things but the wallet was gone, the purse itself, her car keys, her train pass...she had to borrow $10 to get a train ticket home. So I think she's on top of everything, but still, backpack, that's excellent advice for anyone.

    It's funny, sometimes on travel boards and such people say "I never wear a money belt at home, why should I do so when I'm traveling? Are you so careful at home?" WHY YES, I AM. I have had friends and co-workers have issues: one had her wallet lifted out of her handbag that was hanging on the back of a chair in a suburban bookstore cafe, one had a credit card removed from her wallet and the wallet returned to her purse without her knowledge--so that she didn't know it was missing FOR HOURS, and in the meantime the thief racked up charges--there have been purse-snatching and wallet-stealing rings in the city. I am careful ALL THE TIME. My co-worker spent the afternoon looking for the woman, dealing with police, going to the precinct to identify her stuff and file a report, etc. and had no way to get home without borrowing money and her husband meeting her at the train station (since the purse was gone with her car keys). It was difficult enough in a place she goes every day. I can't imagine dealing with that in another city or country. Live your life, but a little caution is not out of place anywhere!

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    I share unpleasant experiences and way to deal with them if I think I can help somebody, even a little.

    The same rule applies for lost cc.

    Both experiences are however, relatively minor compared to an attempted break-in.

    Lesson learned: If somebody unknown keep knocking and ringing at the door, call the authorities right away.

    Seeing one's door and lock busted by a crow bar is not a comforting feeling.

    Leave a comment:


  • Maria
    replied
    Great advice Backpack! Thank you for the details.
    I'll have to remember all this, yet hope I never need to use it!

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    I also feel for your friend.

    Make sure she gets in touch with all her cc companies, banks, credit bureau, the dmv office and file a police report with the description of the thief.

    She should be prepared to follow up all phones or email/web contacts by a certified letter reiterating the circumstances of the theft.
    It is also a good idea to document all phones call with a quick note including date, time the phone call started, name of the person who answered and transcript of what is being said, time the phone call ended.

    The exact time of the theft will be on the receipt of the diner transaction, always useful to make multiple copies of that receipt.

    I have been through the same as she, before, hence the little tips above.


    I love my Cafe Bags for the very same reason they stay on me, visible at all time.

    Leave a comment:

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