Okay, I know the title is a bit dramatic, but with 3 days left of a 2 week trek around Vietnam, I got pick pocketed at the Hanoi night market. Here’s how it all went down.
I was standing on the sidewalk browsing a rack and my purse flap was closed but not “locked”, when I felt something move inside my purse. I turned and faced a couple in the street on a scooter, pulled open my purse to see if what I suspected actually did happen, and then for some reason plainly asked them in English, “Did you take my wallet?” The girl just stared back at me, saying nothing, so I looked in my purse again, confirming my wallet was gone, and then I just started screaming and chasing after them as traffic moved. My head scarf was down, and I was sprinting down a busy street screaming that they took my wallet. My dad continued to shop, not having any clue what happened, and my mom yelled at me in Farsi to go get them when I yelled at her that I just got pick pocketed. I think she expected me to jump on the back of someone else’s scooter and take off in a high speed chase like in the movies. It all happened extremely fast and was complete chaos.
I realized that they were gone, and I started to walk back towards my parents, pretty much in a state of panic and terror. Nobody on the street did anything to help us, except another couple who were obviously tourists asked us what happened. I stupidly had not cleaned out my wallet before traveling, so literally EVERYTHING was in it (but at least I had my passport in the hotel). Unfortunately for the thieves, though, there was also only $2 worth of Vietnamese cash in it. We started walking around, trying to get back to our hotel, but I was too busy using my phone to Skype my credit card companies than to try to navigate us back, so we were basically walking in circles with me still panicking. Fifteen minutes later on one of the side streets we ended up on, I hear a thud on the ground and a scooter speed off. I look down, and it’s my wallet. THEY THREW MY WALLET BACK AT ME. WITH EVERYTHING IN IT. INCLUDING THE CASH. WHAT.THE.HELL.
So thank God, Alhamdulillah, I got it back, but it actually made me more paranoid and scared that there was some underlying con I couldn’t even comprehend, and they were out to get me. What kind of pick pocket is kind enough to return your wallet back to you? It didn’t help that the two local women on the street when the wallet got tossed back at me said it was probably “Mafia”. Um what?! I don’t know what it was or why they returned it to me, but it definitely made me leave Vietnam feeling very unsafe, angry, and basically every other emotion. But here are some photos of the trip anyway, and I guess at least I came back with a weird story to share.