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The best laid plans…

Our last day in Copenhagen, we spent the morning exploring the ‘freetown’ area of Copenhage known as Christiana.  It is basically a large commune of 850 or so residents and it started in the early 70’s and continues to this day.  They have finally started paying some taxes, and it is a pretty peaceful community with a few rules like: No hard drugs, No running (it makes people nervous), No photographs, etc.

 

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A “legal” photo taken just at the entrance of Christiana. There is a lot of great grafitti inside

Prime waterfront realestate and interesting architecture abound here in Christiana

Prime waterfront realestate and interesting architecture abound here in Christiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More cool Christiana art - this kind of looks like the creep you'll read about in this post

More cool Christiana art – this kind of looks like the creep you’ll read about in this post

I always seem to be one step behind everyone - I get this look a lot these days.

I always seem to be one step behind everyone – I get this look a lot these days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything went smoothly in Christiana, but we hit a snafu after packing up the apartment and heading out of Norrebro.  Still makes me so frustrated, but it all worked out in the end, and there might be a little info to glean from this experience so I’m sharing it here.  En route to the train that would take us to Sweden, Jon lost his wallet to a pickpocketer.  It was a hot and crowded bus, we were laden with our packs and 4 kids, and apparently Jon had a suspicious bulge in the pocket of his shorts. But the worst part (and the best part, in some ways) is that we had PREPARED for this exact scenario!!

1. Before we left Seattle, Jon had spent time watching professional pickpocketers at work on youtube videos (really).

2. The video freaked him out so he decided not to carry a wallet at all (just a money belt).

3. He also decided to buy only shorts with zippered pockets, as a small deterrant to prying fingers.

4. We purposely brought credit cards in only one of our names (I have cards in my name that he doesn’t have, and he has cards only in his name that I don’t have).

5. We also have copies of all our cards, front and back, in DropBox.  This makes it easy to cancel them if needed.

6. We don’t carry all the cards together in the same place.

Jon broke rules 2 and 6, but that’s not the worst part.  I feel like the biggest idiot because my “creeper sense” was all over this guy that made off with Jon’s wallet….but for the wrong reason.  He was maybe 50-60 years old and had given up his seat to me on the bus, and I thought it was because he was departing the bus.  So at first I was perplexed to see him standing towards the front of the bus, one stop later, when there was really no need for him to be standing there, as the exit door was right next to me.  But then my hackles went up when it looked like he might be pressed against Maggie (I could really only see the upper half of his body because of all the people) – he just looked uneccessarily close to her.  I sharply said “Jon” and both Jon AND this slimey dude turned their heads to me.  The creeper looked startled, and Jon looked a little irritated.  What?, he said, sweat dripping down his face.  I didn’t want to say PERVERT out loud, so I just said, ‘Check on Maggie”.  A few seconds later, the guy is facing Maggie and Jon again and he is looking up and has a really odd smile on his face, and again I yelled, JON, and the dude jumped!  Jon glared at me expectantly.  All I could say was, “Turn Maggie around!” And Jon said that she was fine.  At the next stop, the loser hurriedly exited the bus, and I felt more at ease.

We departed a stop or two later but it was not until we were at the train station that Jon realized his shorts pocket was unzipped and the wallet was gone.  We both instantly knew: the guy on the bus!  Later, Jon said he felt his legs being touched, but assumed it was Maggie and Vivian, both holding on to him during the ride. The perfect smokescreen for this louse.  I was so mad because I had that guy on my radar – I was so on to him!  But I thought the shirt draped over the hand had other sinister implications.

Travel day: waiting for the 5A bus in Copenhagen, which is also carrying the thief that will make off with Jon's wallet.

Travel day: waiting for the 5A bus in Copenhagen, which is also carrying the thief that will make off with Jon’s wallet.

The story has a happy ending.  We caught the bus to Malmo, Sweden, to meet up with an old friend from Seattle who now lives in Malmo with his his wife and young son.  Not only were they helpful in allowing us to resolve the theft crisis quickly, but their familiar presence was the perfect antidote to the frustration and violation you feel after being the victim of even a small crime like this.  Jamal had a hotspot on his phone that I could hook into with my laptop.  For a half-hour or so, Jon made calls on Jamal’s phone, and I made calls using Skype, and we cancelled all the cards and ordered replacements (made easier because of #5, above).  No fraudulent charges were noted, so the guy only made off with a nominal amount of cash.  For the next couple of legs of our trip, we would have my ATM card and my AMEX, so a couple of workable options in terms of credit and cash (see #4).

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The Reimer-Jones reunion in Sweden! Wish we had planned more time, but we were so grateful for the afternoon we spent catching up and meeting Jamal’s family!

We had a great evening catching up with Jamal, meeting Didar and Silas for the first time, and hearing about life in Sweden and their recent trip to Portugal (which they both loved).  Didar is Persian, but grew up in Sweden, and is a general practitioner here – she is fluent in several languages and made our short stay in Malmo that much smoother!  Simple things like navigating the train station or ordering ice cream become so much less stressful when you can communicate!  We had tickets for the night train from Malmo to Berlin, so they walked us to the station and saw us off.  Words can’t express how grateful I am to them for their hospitality and help in reviving our somewhat deflated travel egos.  Refreshed and excited for the next leg of our adventure, we squeezed down the narrow hallway of our train car with our packs, in search of our 6-person couchette.

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Hunting for ladybugs with Silas was all we needed to make us forget our travel woes.

Hunting for ladybugs with Silas was all we needed to make us forget our travel woes.

4 comments

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  1. Tom Preston

    Sounds like you need a code word for pickpockets…when I was in high school, when I guy walked up to you and said the word “Einstein”, you knew that meant your fly was open. : )

  2. Rebecca

    Wow, so much has happened… I’m surprised you have time to update this blog! Sorry about the skeevy pickpocket guy, but I’m glad you got to see the gorgeous castles, hang out with family and friends, and get a picture of the entrance of Christiana. It almost makes me want to move there.

  3. Mark Baker

    Tippy-toe! That is the code word that comes to mind :)

    Crazy story but it will eventually be remembered just as a nuisance and part of the memories. Thanks for sharing you guys, it is great following along.

  4. Siobhan

    Oh my gosh I would have been so angry! But hey the good news is that you two are clearly well prepared and it all worked out. I love all the graffiti, I want to see more of those type of pictures so I can make them artwork at home :o)

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