camera stolen on night bus from merida to palenque
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Nov 25, 2012 4:24 PM Last Post By: mazgringo
Nov 24, 2012 7:52 AM
camera stolen on night bus from merida to palenquefirst time i lost something (valuable or not) on a trip.
last night i took night bus from merida to palenque. two small size backpacker was stored over head close to each other. some time at night i felt a slight touch on the head and i stood up to check, two bags ate still there but the one with camera has moved slightly about 10 inch away. at that moment i thoght (brain function slow) maybe bus speeding and make the bag move, so i stay put- i really hope i open it to check at that time. now i think back, i remember a person sat right behind me seems awake most of times during the trip when i turned my head back because her cell phone or some sort of led light was bright blue in the dark. for some reason, i looked at her couple of times and i feel she stare back straight at me too. With a slr camera inside, my bag is stuffed and i had to push it into the rack when i boarded the bus early. so it is not possible that bag move by itself, i feel the theif was stealing right at that time when i feel my head was touch slightly (most likely theif has already took the came and put the bag back, or just moved the back behind so it beyond my sight ). there are 10-15 folks on the bus, two western at way back.
I didnt notice until i got off at palenque and store my bag in ado before i head to ruina. i tried to talk to some folks in ado to explain the situation, simple spanish (camera was stolen on the bus, policia necesary, where is policia station ) most folks seems got it but kept silent or turn their head away, or walk away, the 10th folk took my ticket and spoke with another guy then told me nothing they can do and it is my responsibiliy to watch out my stuff. i realize camera is long gone and i left.
i started to visit mexico last dec and have been here 4 times since then, i took night bus couple of times, in oaxaca and chiapas, read extensively in TR about the security and precaution. recently just before this trip i read one post about not store valuble on rack or under seat. i always put my camera around my neck but not this time because there is extra space in the bag. and at begining of the trip, i took camera out to get some clothe to keep myself warm, maybe that caught some interest.
i invested carefully in this camera and accesary in last two years and my mistake and stupidity cost me roughly 2500 us dollars. and the photo i took with my wife in merida and uxmal are lost. ironically i plan this trip, part of the reason is to convince my wife that with precaution, Mexico is safe place to go, no need to worry about drug war, killing, or Zapatist. then i forgot the basic thing - how to avoid pocketpicking.
A painful lesson learned. a potential trip to oaxaca this christmas was put on hold. need to start to save a few dollar here and there to recover the cost.
as that said, palenque and san christbal are as charming as i saw last time. walking around without camera is another experience. this morning a mother and daughter pray in iglesia del cerrillo, not sure if it is tzotzil language. i was moved by their sincerity. the around market is vivid, remind me of my childhood in a mountain village.
Nov 24, 2012 8:02 AM
1Sorry for your problem. I travel on that bus often and fortunately, never a problem. I always put my laptop in the overhead and I have little else because I check my bag. I do check the laptop from time to time and , at stops, never get off without it. Not really surprised you could get no police help in Palenque.
One thing I am curious about is if you had the camera out of the bag during the trip so others could observe where you put it?
Edited by: RobertSDF
Nov 24, 2012 9:52 AM
2I am very sorry this happened to you. Do get a police report so you can collect from your travel insurance. I am a photographer and often travel with many expensive cameras and I never let them leave my body, I have them in a back pack in my lap at all times. You can chain your bag to the overhead rack but it can still be sliced open. Many have made fun of me over the years for what I do but I still have my cameras.. Never ever let them leave your person. I never take my lap top on he road at all as there are just too many cheap internet places that it would me it would be another thing to watch, Many love the night buses but I hate them as I like to see where I am going at all times. I would also never store anything at the bus station either. I stored my bag once at /Chichen Itza in their storage area and it was pilfered of some stupid stuff as my cameras were with me.. Dont shoot digital as that way when camera stolen you lose it all. shoot film and each day finish that roll and store it. No one ever steals a roll of exposed film. Have been doing this for bast 22 years. Always have travel insurance and always insure your cameras. My website is wolfcalls.com and when you have expensive equipment insure it. and guard it well.
Nov 24, 2012 9:52 AM
3Sorry to hear about your camera being stolen. I have had 7 cameras stolen in 5 years in Mexico but all of mine were stolen from my house in two burgles. Its enough to piss a person off, but I still love Mexico.
Edited by: heyduke
Nov 24, 2012 9:57 AM
4Buy a heavy safe and have it bolted to the floor. that is how I keep my cameras hete in USA also a big crime area.. Maybe if they hold you a gun point they will get you to open the safe but otherwise your cameras are safe.
Nov 24, 2012 11:08 AM
5I had my camera bag with two good cameras taken on a bus when I was traveling in Oaxaca ... during the daylight hours. So it's not just at night these things can occur and the thefts are experienced by many of us who consider ourselves too experienced to fall victim. I no longer place items in the overhead bin. Whatever I carry-on is on the floor in front of or next to me and tethered to a leg.
Regarding travel insurance: most people do not travel with it and many of the policies have so much small print it's tough to make a claim. Homeowner insurance may be more helpful. Might. And the suggestions in #4 are another example of the odball comments from someone (not commenting about travel) who hasn't traveled in Mexico in many years.
Hard lesson learned. Many of us have been in the same place. And it's not a nice feeling.
Nov 24, 2012 11:41 AM
This works for me...
Nov 24, 2012 11:43 AM
7I don´t think her claims are oddball. My biggest camera loss was during a break-in in the US, that would have been foiled by a good safe. Its relatively easy to knock doors off their hinges, this was in a "good" neighborhood but of course everybody was out at work.
My biggest safety measure here in MX is my friends my neighbors, one of whom is an ex Police Captain, but many of whom have people at home all day long who would signal any odd behavior.
Travelling by bus in MX and usually by train in Europe (where pickpocketing is arguably lots worse than here) I keep my pack on my lap or under my knees/feet. Its not comfy but I really do not want to lose camera nor stuff shot. I would recommend the same for any electronix and of course wallet/passport. Its very ugly that people have to steal, but I guess they have always done this given it is one of Moses´commandments. Its hard for me to NOT want to cut their hands off.
Nov 24, 2012 12:06 PM
8I agree with #7 that this kind of pickpocketing is way, way more rampant in Europe, as well as other CentAm countries with more theft-friendly buses. Most quality Mexican buses are built in such a way that if you have your bag directly in front of you, it's hard, if not impossible, for someone to reach it from the seats in front or behind. The few times I've had to put something in an overhead rack I kept a nervous eye on it the whole trip.
Sorry though, this is much worse than my recent bad experience, which involved an old woman waking me up by dropping trou on the Tamazunchale-DF night bus and peeing in the seat across the aisle from me. I asked her WTF she was doing and she said "urinating." Points for honesty I guess...
Nov 24, 2012 12:36 PM
9My first bunch of cameras was stolen by my cleaning lady who had worked for me for 3 years without any trouble. She then came to my house and tried to get them back with some black magic. She found one that she forgot to steal the batteries . My second was some malo hombries who broke into my house in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. They took a 42 inch Plasma tv. my computer and 3 cameras. I never heard a thing. I changed the locks, put motion sensors around the house. Now I am moving to a new house with a better gate.
Nov 24, 2012 1:18 PM
10You don't mention your nationality, but for what it's worth, here is an excerpt from the Canadian government about traveling in Mexico: "Canadians have been robbed on buses, usually at night. Keep an eye on your luggage, money, and personal documents at all times... You should travel during daylight hours and on first-class buses only." I don't see any reason why this shouldn't apply to other nationals.
I don't always follow this advice myself, that is, I do prefer to travel during the day, but often travel on second-class buses. Sorry to hear about your loss.
By the way, if you were traveling first-class, the bus company ought to have the name and seat number of all the passengers on board, this might be helpful, even after the fact.
Nov 24, 2012 1:47 PM
11I'm sorry about you losing your camera, and such an expensive one. For me, my household insurance would cover this loss, but I would need a police report, so think about that.
Almost worse is the feeling it gives you about people. I hope that people's kindness on the rest of your trip will help redeem your feelings somewhat.
I have to travel with life-essential medical equipment and medicines. Once that started, I didn't worry about losing money or other valuables so much, as your life and health are the most important things. But I would still be plenty angry about being robbed of anything.
Nov 24, 2012 1:49 PM
12"By the way, if you were traveling first-class, the bus company ought to have the name and seat number of all the passengers on board, this might be helpful, even after the fact."
One might think so, but experience proves otherwise. As the OP mentioned, there were only about 10 to 15 people on the bus. When this is the case, people rarely respect the seating assignments. Furthermore, I would suspect that neither the police in Palenque nor the fine folks at ADO are particularly concerned about a tourist losing a camera on a bus, making any further inquiry impractical. As the OP already stated, the ADO people le dieron el avión, which should pretty much be expected in such circumstances.
It is an unfortunate loss for the OP, and I am sorry to hear about it. Though I rarely travel by bus these days, when I did I was never very cautious with my things, but was fortunate to have never had such an incident. I do, however, sometimes think about the minimum wage equivalent value of the goods I carry. For example, on a daily basis I usually carry about a year's worth of minimum wage in electronics, jewelry, and cash here in Mexico City. The OP's camera was the equivalent to about 1.5 years minimum wage. When we take this into consideration, it is not so difficult to understand why theft occurs and the extent to which we should go in order to protect our goods.
Nov 24, 2012 2:11 PM
Nov 24, 2012 2:19 PM
14I was shocked to read that I hadnt been in Mexico for years when I just arrived back from there in mid September. . I was a guest at the Royal Mayan - in the Cancun Hotel Zone - not my typical place to hang out. And yes I was dragging my cameras. I had hoped to tour the new museum in the hotel zone but it wasnt open yet..
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.03 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$130.37 per night
Cancún & AroundBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$294.00 per night