The very first year I visited Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, I had my phone and cash lifted from my jacket pocket. I still kick myself from time to time for the temporary lapse in attention that gave opportunists in the world’s pickpocket capital the chance to snag my stuff.
Of course, I was aware of the local pickpockets’ reputation. And all week, I’d been careful. I kept a watchful eye out. And all week, I’d held onto my belongings. But on the last day, at 5:30 in the morning, in front of the airport, I let my guard down. I paid the cabbie and absent-mindedly shoved my phone and unspent cash – maybe 30 Euros – into the side pocket of my coat. And by the time I got to the airline counter, they were gone.