A couple of weeks ago, one my friends from high school visited and she’s been saying that their tourist guide has been warning them of people getting robbed in HCMC or getting ripped off. While I acknowledged that there are criminal activities in HCMC, being vigilant and aware of your surroundings when you’re out and about can thwart an untoward incident. And in my 6 years in Vietnam, I’ve never been robbed when walking the streets of Saigon.
Scene of the crime, Notre Dame Cathedral
I am sharing this experience not to scare people from visiting HCMC but to remind everyone that there are bad apples everywhere. And that in spite of being robbed, I still am grateful that what was only taken was a gadget that can be easily replaced (by a willing sponsor of course).
So yesterday, we got out from church at the Notre Dame Cathedral. We were waiting for friends, right outside the fully opened gate. I was holding on to my son while looking towards inside the church because my husband and younger son were still inside. The church attendant was stopping people from entering because the church will close for the morning. There were insistent locals (an elderly man and a lady wearing a hat) acting like tourists pushing me to the sides as churchgoers were spilling out of the doors.
I realize now that the man was distracting me when he spoke to me in Vietnamese while his partner in crime was unzipping my bag from behind. I felt the pressure of getting pushed ease up when the lady behind me suddenly bolted and that’s when I knew. Had I not checked my bag first, I would have caught them. But of course I just had to check. Sigh.
What an unfortunate incident. I am just glad that they did not take my wallet too. And that my phone was not too expensive. It’s actually a bit battered — well-loved and I know that they won’t be able to sell it for much. Whoever uses it won’t appreciate it as much as I do because of its sorry state. I just hope they won’t throw it away.
Instead of going to lunch with friends, we had to go home and change our passwords. Hubby was trying to get me to change my account from his phone but in my mental state yesterday, I could not remember any of my passwords at all. When we got home and I felt more calm, I finally remembered my passwords!
A friend was a bit surprised how easily I moved on from this episode. I am too. I know that the persons involved were desperate and most probably needed the money and I just pray whatever amount they can get from selling my phone would help someone in need.
As for me? It helps that I have a generous and understanding husband who replaced my phone and helped me change all my account passwords. For that, I am truly grateful.