Getting your backpack, wallet, passport, and camera stolen really ruins your day
by, 03-04-2014 at 05:12 PM (530 Views)
After my wife, son and I returned to mainland Ecuador after our eight day cruise to the Galapagos Islands, my wife continued home and my son and I took a bus from Guayaquil to Cuenca, a National Heritage Site. We arrived in the evening and the next day found a travel agent to help us decide what we wanted to do for a few days. Among the things we were interested in were a few days in the Amazon, exploring a local national park, and gradually making our way up to Quito for our flight home.
The travel agent was listed in Lonely Planet and we had to get beeped in in order to enter the small office. There were two agents in the office, both facing the door and sitting at desks that were perpendicular to each other. My son and I sat on stools with our back to the door.
After approximately 45 minutes of discussing our options with the agent, I reached down for my backpack, which contained my new Canon DSLR camera, waterproof camera with all of our underwater photos from the islands, wallet and backpack. It wasn't there.
My son and I searched the office and it was no place to be found. The agent who wasn't taking care of us told us that three men had entered the office and asked about flights to Santiago. I'm convinced that two of the men shielded the agent while the third bent down and took my backpack from between us. We were so engrossed in our conversation that we didn't even notice that anybody had entered the room.
Instead of going to the Amazon and national park, we booked a cheap flight up to Quito, went to the U.S. embassy, and had emergency passports issued. I could tell that my son was not at all into Ecuador because of our bad experience, and I gave him the option of going home early. He gladly accepted. In order to get an emergency passport, we had to find a LAN office, change our flights, and bring proof of our flight change to the embassy. Although were very fortunate that the embassy was able to issue replacement passports overnight, our last couple of days were occupied with going to the embassy, the LAN office, back to the embassy, and then back to the embassy again to pick up our passports.
While the Galapagos Islands are an AMAZING destination (more in another post), we weren't too keen on mainland Ecuador.