This was not my first visit to Istanbul for business firms. He stopped this time, as before, at the hotel “Troy” on the north bank of the Golden Horn in the Beyoglu district. The hotel is inexpensive and comfortable, located three minutes walk from the central street of the district - Istiklal Dzhadeci, with all its tourist attractions.
So, having eaten a traditional continental breakfast, I left the hotel for a walk. In stock I had an hour and a half or two before the estimated time of departure. I decided to go to the Flower Passage to look after the silver jewelry for my daughter. She asked me to bring oriental-style earrings for my taste.
I was dressed in a summer jacket, unbuttoned on the occasion of warm weather, a small purse with several zipped compartments was fastened to my belt. In the bag lay: passport, return ticket, notebook, mobile phone and a few hundred dollar bills neatly wrapped in a standard sheet of paper. In the inner pocket of the jacket - the rest of the local Turkish lire, paper and metal.
After a bit of bargaining, I successfully bought elongated silver earrings decorated with black agate from the tray and, in a good mood, headed towards the hotel. On the way, I thought about the upcoming departure to the airport, the purchase of perfume, whiskey and gin in Duty Free, wondering how I would report on the results of the trip to the chef.
Went out to the street where the hotel is located. Before it was no more than two hundred meters. Suddenly, somewhere on the side of me, a street vendor suddenly appeared. Some tablecloths hanging below the waist were thrown over his left hand. Leaning and looking me straight at the side, he began to obsessively offer his goods. I did not stop, but I answered him in the correct Turkish language that I did not need his textiles. The merchant obviously did not expect to hear a native speech from a foreigner. A little embarrassed, he nevertheless continued to praise his tablecloths thrown over his left hand, bringing them close to me. I, still not stopping, verbally fought off his intrusive sentences. So we walked along the sidewalk, probably no more than a couple of minutes. The seller disappeared as suddenly as it appeared.
I went to the hotel. Its facade with revolving glass doors is already visible. Suddenly I was shocked. Where is my belt bag? Oh, there she is. But why is the zipper open? Get out the contents. Passport, ticket, phone, book ... And where is the paper bundle with a dollar nest egg? Alas, no.
My first reaction was swift, but not thought out enough. I turned and ran backwards, looking around. I had a hope that I would see a merchant, since not more than a minute had passed since the theft. Sgoryacha ran into some repaired staircase, climbed to the second floor, where the Turks-builders laid out their plain food on the newspaper. Stop, I thought, I need to calm down. I myself can not find it in this labyrinth. We must act differently.
Out on the street. Lucky - I immediately saw a policeman. He told him about the incident that happened to me here five minutes ago. Policeman, thanks to him, treated me carefully. He asked about the appearance of the "suspect", what he was wearing and what was missing. Now he, as a professional, headed the search. We looked into the nearest eateries, then into the gambling room, where the baleen Turks sat at the card tables. Alas, who we were looking for, was not there. Hot pursuit to find the thief failed. Of course, he prepared in advance reliable escape routes.
The police advised to apply to the station. “You are lucky that you have a passport and a ticket,” he added. “Otherwise, the problem would have been much more serious.” Thanking him for his participation, he returned to the hotel.
There, in a relaxed atmosphere, he counted the remaining Turkish cash, which was quite enough if not by taxi, then by bus and metro to the airport, for sure, thanked Allah for the safety of the passport with the air ticket and left the hotel. If the documents had disappeared, I would have to contact the Russian Consulate General for a certificate of return. It might take a few days.
Back in Moscow, I read on the Internet that pickpockets using cover screens in their professional activities (usually a jacket or raincoat thrown over their left hand) are called thief-shirts. And for some time everything did not cease to be surprised at what skill one must possess in order to detect by touch in a tightly filled belt bag under a jacket money wrapped in paper and quietly pull them out! Circus, and only ...