Lost in Brussels, . . . or Berlin, . . . Prague
If you are any kind of decent traveller at all getting lost is a regular and necessary part of the process. You may begin the morning with a general idea of a destination in mind, but something over there looks interesting. Then, hey, what's that tall spire over there. Soon it's, I didn't know zebra were indigenous to Estonia. Before you know it, the language people are speaking has changed and you find yourself in a smoldering bunker pretending you're part of the militia in a country you've never heard of gunning down a guy that looks surprisingly like the one that served you a cappuccino yesterday.
I, being a clever man, almost always realize I am lost before it reaches this point. But even if the day doesn't end up in police tape or treason, at the very least you could wind up in the Bad Part of Town. And don't get smug thinking that your town doesn't have one. It does. Even if it's the red necks across the tracks with the recliner on the porch or the cast of anyone from any reality TV show ever.
When you wander into one of these seedy parts of town I have found it helps to look like a bad ass yourself. I discovered this rather serendipitously one cold morning in Berlin. I wandered into one of those neighborhoods that never make the photo section of travel guides. Not so much because there is nothing interesting to see so much as no photographers who go in ever make it back out to share their work. I, however, found no difficulty as people seemed to avoid me. I didn't realize why until I caught a glimpse of myself in a storefront window and uttered a little frightened shriek before recognizing me. It was a bone-chilling 48 degrees out so I had donned two sweaters and most of the other clothes in my collection making myself quite large and menacing. I hadn't shaved in several days either due to an inability to remember to buy AA batteries and looked remarkably like the love child of Hagrid and, oh, I don't know, somebody else who looks like Hagrid.
And finally, I had a bit of a crazed look in my eye because, well, frankly, I always have a bit of a crazed look in my eye. My wife says it's because I'm crazed. Which could be true because I don't have a wife and yet she keeps telling me things.
So anyway, try to look like a bad ass. When in a really scary area I carry around fake body parts and gnaw them to keep people at bay. Occasionally this is going to backfire and the inevitable jail time results. At this point it may be wise to ramp up the crazy and gnaw on real body parts. Not because it will keep other prisoners away from you but because one might want a bite. If you want to piss off a deranged, sociopathic cannibal one sure fire way to do it is pretend you're offering him human flesh and then it's not. Unfortunately in these circumstances real body parts are hard to come by. Which explains why I am currently down to 8 fingers and 7 toes. Small price to pay for the security of not having to worry about the potential for bodily harm.
But say you can't pull off menacing. My advice is - mug someone. Be reasonable. Target someone less menacing than you. You don't even need to be successful; just show the willingness. When was the last time you saw a mugger get mugged? Of course, part of the reason you haven't may be due to the fact that aren't on a first name basis with muggers and have never been in a conversation that included, "Hey, Fingers, you know that big goon that works the corner of 5th and Dunbar? Jack ass mugged me last night. Yeah, took all my mugger money." So it's entirely possible it happens. Still worth a shot though.
Same idea as if you know there is going to be a riot, start the riot. Few things in life are more empowering than being in control of your own mob.
So get out there. Experience the joy of senseless wandering. Just be sure to look bad while doing it.