Great Wall Marathon 2012: Pickpockets at the Zoo

Introduction and Planning
Training Schedule
Flight, Airport Transfer, Cocktail Reception
Longest Day: Wall Walkthrough, Acrobatic Show
Tianamen Square, Forbidden Palace, and Yuanlong Silk Store
Race Day and Marathon Review
Birds Nest Stadium, Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo, Gala Dinner Race Celebration, Atmosphere Bar
Pickpockets at the Beijing Zoo
Beijing Hutong Rickshaw Tour, Temple of Heaven, Peking Duck Dinner, and Hooters
Flight home and trip summary

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One of the people on the tour got pick pocketed at the Zoo. I mentioned it for a few reasons. First, always be careful of pickpockets since they work anywhere you will be. Second, I wanted to note of how Marathon Tours dealt with it, which was not expected and amazing. She lost her wallet, which also had her passport, money, and credit cards in it. It wasn’t good as she needs a visa to exit the country.

So she told one of the tour guides right away and they reported it to the Zoo security guards and then the local police. The guide left our tour and accompanied her the entire time at the local police station which was a few blocks away from the Zoo. Scott then went to the US embassy with her (US citizens only in Embassies) in order to arrange a new Passport and exit visa from the China consulate. The problem was that it was two days before we all left Beijing. Some people were on the extended trip but most of us along with her were leaving back to the US.

I spoke to Scott the day after about the situation and Scott and Marathon Tours have plans in place if this happens. He has access to funds and other assistance if necessary, which is a great relief. Everyone was more than willing to loan her money just in case and she was genuinely touched by the gesture. We knew she was taken care of here, but we wanted to make sure she had enough money back in the US to get home.

Scott and one of the tour guides took turns accompanying her to deal with the Passport and Visa. Passport at the US Embassy and exit visa from the Chinese Consulate. The local tour guides would be most helpful at the Chinese Consulate. The entire day after we kept wondering if she would get her papers in time to leave the country. I spoke to Scott the day of my flight during breakfast as I had a later flight and luckily, she got a new passport one day before her flight and her exit visa as well. It was about an one day turnout. She had an early morning flight and she made that as well. I would not expect this to happen all the time but it is possible to have it remedied that quickly. We were all a bit concerned that she may have to push back her flight by a day or two to resolve the issue.

After this, I am much more confident and willing to book a tour with them as this could have happened to me and if I was on my own, I am not sure how long it would take me to resolve it.

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