It’s our last two hours in Ecuador and Miles and I are enjoying a nice, quiet lunch in a restaurant just outside the Quito airport in between flights. We finish our meal, Miles leaves the table for a few minutes, and a woman asks me a question in mumbled Spanish. As I struggle to understand, she seemingly gives up and leaves the restaurant. I’m still puzzling over the interaction when Miles returns and that’s when we notice the missing bag. Miles sprints outside and talks to the security guard who had been giving a passerby directions and therefore only vaguely aware of someone walking out past him. And just when we thought we’d made it out of the country without our own theft story, we’ve been hit by a three-man sting operation.
Fortunately for us, these Ecuadorian thieves are not as smart as they are ubiquitous. I’m not sure exactly what they intended to do with a backpack full of damp and dirty traveler’s clothes but it’s lucky for us that they opted for that bag. In the end, Miles lost his clothes, gifts, and apartment decorations that we’d bought but retained passport, iPod, camera, and wallet. He managed to remain very Zen about the loss of his material possessions, but I’d say we were more than ready to return to the tranquility of our home in “big, scary Medellin.”