One of the things I worried about most when planning for this trip was taking an (albeit fabulous) Asperger's teenager along. ASD people typically don't like change - and holidays by their very nature are a departure from the status quo. With no disrespect to my (equally fabulous) Asperger's brother, my abiding memory of holidays as a teenager was of my parents vowing each year never to go on holiday again.
What's changed between then and now is the internet and video games. We have found that the possibility of screen time in the future can render the most unpleasant holiday activity (a walk, for example, or a visit to a museum) bearable.
So to Day 3. We're packing up to leave the hostel in Santiago for the Chilean desert in the North (FYI the driest desert in the world - in some places it never rains - take that Wellington!) and Sam efficiently packs all his important stuff into his school backpack and takes it to breakfast, where he tucks it by our feet under the table. When we get up to leave, the backpack is gone. Video footage from the security camera handily positioned looking directly at our table shows a most ingenious theft by two local girls.
Standing close to our table, but looking in the opposite direction, as if two other tourists discussing what to have for breakfast, one of them hooks her foot through the strap of the bag under the table and gently pulls it out, leaving it a metre or so away. They then wander out of shot of the camera, presumably checking we haven't noticed the bag is missing.
When they come back they nonchalantly pick up "their" bag and head off. Footage of the hostel exit shows them ducking under the security barriers, back into the street.
You have to admire the gall, a consequence, presumably, of plenty of practice.
Unfortunately, Sam's bag contains most of his gadgets - laptop, headphones, mouse, iPod. On the laptop, seven Louis Sachar books purchased no expense spared by his anxious parents to ensure reading as well as gaming and YouTube.
The bag also contains Sam's wallet which, however, contains no money. Still, a HOP card on automatic top-up could give the thieves unlimited access to Auckland's bus and train system if they ever decide to use their ill-gotten gains to visit New Zealand.
Sam, I must say, behaved impeccably.