Chiclayo is not so awesome

August 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm | Posted in crime, travel | 3 Comments

The site visit went great up until the last five minutes. Right before hopping into a taxi to get to the bus station, my pals and I were walking back to our hotel to get our bags, chit-chating and killing time before getting on the bus. Now, I have been warned about this numerous times and usually am really careful with my bags and about being aware of my surroundings, but I was definitely caught off guard when a man walked up next to me, grabbed my purse and yanked it away. I grabbed the strap before he could take the whole kit-and-kaboodle and started fighting with him and screaming. In English. Though, at that point I was yelling so loud I doubt the language mattered. People on the street started nearing us and people were running out of the stores nearby to see what was going on. I think it was the right reaction. He finally gave up and ran off and hopped on the back of a motorcycle that was driving by. I guess they work in pairs. I won. Hooray. Anyway, I was pretty lucky because my passport, all my money, my phone numbers, my iPod, my camera, my bus ticket and my firstborn child were all in that purse. Just kidding on that last one, but if I had one, I probably would’ve had him in there too. Dumb; dumb to keep everything in one spot and also dumb to walk with my purse on the shoulder that faced the street. Though at the least, this experience will always stay with me, and a couple of my friends saw so hopefully they will walk around with more care as well. So maybe some good came out of the whole unpleasant experience.

When I was a lot younger and Steven and I would get in little arguments sometimes they would end up being physical. You know how siblings are. I remember the feeling of getting so frustrated, mostly derived from the fact that he could then and still can outsmart me in arguments, and just wanting to *hit* him. I think the worst that would happen was some pulling hair or missed swings. Anyways, I think its been 20 years since I’ve felt the desire to cause physical harm to someone, but I have got to say, after that guy ran off, it took everything in me not to run after him and tackle him and beat the crap out of him. In the end I’m glad I did not do that because I am quite short and have small muscles and probably could not have ‘beat the crap out of him’, so to speak. I have a little better idea now of what people mean when they say violence begets violence. I really had to talk myself out of a lot of anger.

In the end, I consider myself lucky, and even if I had lost my purse, I still would have had my health which is the most important thing. And, I still think Chiclayo is awesome, I now just think it is an awesome place where I’ll have to be much more careful. So my helpful hint to all you world travelers out there is to keep your money in separate spots, to walk with your purse crossed over your body, to keep the bag on the side of your body that is furthest from the street, and to beat the crap out of anyone who tries to mess with you.



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  1. Wow, I can’t believe you held him off. It is a little disappointing that you did not chase him down and tackle him, but I guess it was your first time being robbed so we’ll cut you some slack.

  2. I never knew that you and Steven fought like that. Did HE pull your hair? When he gets back from California, I’m going to ground him for a week!!!

  3. I am so happy you are okay! And that you didn’t get hurt or get anything stolen! And lucky for that attempted robber you are not bigger and stronger, because I know you would have taught him a lesson he didn’t soon forget. Also, the mental image of you screaming your head off and causing a scene is fantastic. And so unlike you 🙂

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