First of all, I am not quite sure this should be referred to as an Amateurism on my part, I believe a more accurate description would be a disgusting, thieving bastards quest to try to ruin my day! Ok and breathe………even though it has been nearly three months since this event took place, just thinking about it still makes me so incredibly angry!!
So with that in mind I’m gonna get straight to the point and present to you our (possibly more my) third AMATEURISM!
3.BIG CITIES ARE DANGEROUS!
Throughout our six months of travelling we have been to many big cities but we have been extremely lucky and have hardly had any issues whatsoever. Obviously my genius plan to stay in private double rooms with our own en-suites, generally with a safety deposit box has seriously reduced our risk of getting robbed (see Steve I told you it makes sense!)
However your belongings are actually most at risk when they are with you, not when you leave them alone, locked up in your room. We have heard horror stories of pick pockets, bag snatchers and even full-blown muggings so we counted ourselves very lucky to have travelled for nearly 4 months with not one problem………until we reached……HO CHI MINH CITY.
I must reiterate here that I am not sure we should be calling this an Amateurism and I do not take any blame whatsoever for the course of events I am about to explain to you all……
We had just arrived in the Capital City of Vietnam off a long 10 hour trip from Phu Quoc. After getting up early, getting a taxi, followed by a ferry, followed by a local bus for 6 hours we were happy to arrive at our destination and all we wanted to do was pass out! It was around 5pm when we got to the Bus Terminal and 30 minutes later we were pulling up at our Hotel in the City.
We were a little bit hungry and decided to take a walk around the local area. Without even unpacking anything we dropped off our big backpacks and set of with just our ‘day bags’ Steve’s being a pretty big back pack carrying all the heavy stuff and mine a cute little floral cross body bag carrying all the very important light stuff.
For anyone that has ever been to HCMC (as the cool kids say) you will know that the traffic there is absolutely crazy, at all times of the day! Thousands of motorbikes are speeding through the city, cutting each other up and dodging in and out of foot traffic, some even opting to drive up on the path…….which is how I come to the main part of my story about that disgusting, thieving……and breathe……man.
We had just crossed the road outside our hotel and were walking along the make shift path to avoid being run over by the stream of motorcyclists. Generally I stand on the inside and I cross my bag across my body so that me and my things are safe, however due to the fact we had just stepped out of the hotel, I hadn’t yet adjusted my bag into the correct position………Now I know what you’re all thinking……..that if I wasn’t following these steps then whatever happens next is my fault, well I’ll stop you there!
I was walking on the inside, however in my trusting state, after three months of no issues, I guess it’s possible that I could have let my guard down and trusted that myself and my things were in a safe situation….NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN FOR A SECOND! Out of nowhere that disgusting, thieving……..guy on a motorbike drives past me ON THE PATH and grabs my handbag. Now at this point logical thinking doesn’t even come into the equation, it all happens so quickly that your subconscious and natural reflexes do all the work! Lucky for me somehow in my sleepy state my reflexes were extremely fast and I clung onto that bag with everything I had and apparently (Steve tells me, I don’t remember) that I started screaming at the guy and luckily this seemed to scare him and he let go of my bag and drove away.
Looking back now it’s kind of all a blur and I am not quite sure how I held onto my bag, but I definitely learnt to always keep my guard up and always keep my bag tightly across my body and thank god we haven’t encountered the same problem since.
So the main things to learn from my mistakes are;
1. Always stand as far away from the road as possible
2. Always wear you bag safely across your body and in the direction that is also pointing away from the road
3. Do not wear a cross body bag with thin straps that can be cut
If a disgusting, thieving character somehow gets a hand on your bag;
1. Scream as loud as possible – He will not be used to this and it should scared him enough to let go
2. Hold onto it with all your strength
If you are ever faced with something more dangerous than a typical snatch and grab attempt and the situation becomes more dangerous, then of course I would say the best thing to do would be to let the bag go, however if you have a safe in your room and are just popping out for some food only take with you what is absolutely necessary, because we were very lucky but if that man had got away with my bag we would have literally LOST EVERYTHING!