From Vietnam with love: it's all about people - Dal Vietnam con amore:la gente soprattutto

Friday, October 27, 2006

It could happen anywhere…

…but unfortunately it happened to me here. On Monday morning I was on the sidewalk of a busy street when a motorbike suddenly zoomed up next to me and the guy on the back grabbed my purse. I held onto it and was pulled back and fell and hit my head on the sidewalk. It made a loud cracking noise, and I started to feel very afraid once I realized what had happened. I went to a doctor, who did some tests and found nothing immediately wrong but asked me to come back if I had any of the danger signs he described.

I had been warned about purse-snatchers, by ex-pat women who wear a lot of jewellery and look a lot richer than I do. I figured I would be less of a target, but then all Westerners look rich to the Vietnamese. I also thought I was street-smart, but realized the hard way that I could play it safer. Since this happened, I’ve found out by talking to other foreigners that this type of thing is much more common than I realized.

Mrs. Kich told me that two of the women she worked for before were robbed, and their experiences confirmed to them that all Vietnamese people are untrustworthy and bad. My experience didn’t change how I think of the people here. Two bad people tried to rob me, but three good people – shoeless, toothless motorcycle taxi drivers – rushed over to help me. The doctor who looked at my head was exceptionally kind and concerned, and our landlord sent his daughters to the house to see if I was okay. It’s true that a purse-snatching can happen anywhere, but I don’t know if the same is true of the kindness shown to me afterwards.


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