the newspaper that saved me from being robbed

last night we took another one of thos agonizingly long train rides. we’ve taken so many of them over the last few months! anyways, the sleeper cart in the trains just has a bunch of bunkbed type things sticking out from the wall. caryn had the lower bunk and i had the upper. when we went to sleep, just to be on the cautious side, we locked our packs to the railing. i almost didnt bother to do it, i mean, i was sleeping with my legs touching the pack.. what could happen, right?? well, the last thing i did before going to sleep was read the newspaper. after finishing, i didnt know where to put the paper (indian trains have no garbage cans since the passengers just throw garbage all over the floor or out the window). eventually, i just tucked the paper under my backpack.

the next morning we woke up, maybe a half hour before our destination. i folded up the sheet i used, took my camera etc out of my pack, and unlocked the pack from the railing. then i jumped down off the top bunk and sat down w/ caryn. at this point, my pack was only like 3 feet from me… pretty much right over my head on the upper bunk. as i kept talking to caryn, all of a sudden, a newspaper flutter down and fell into my lap.

astonished, i looked around wondering where it had come from. caryn and i wondered aloud if it was the paper i had read the previous night… maybe it had fallen off the top bunk. i was just gonna leave it at that, but then, at the last second, i decided to stand up and thrown the paper back up there. that’s when i noticed…. my backpack was gone. i quickly looked around, and noticed my backpack on the top bunk of the next compartment over, right next to some guy, who immediately jumped off the top bunk and walked away. in the 5 seconds it took me to realize what had happened, the guy had already gotten to the end of the corridor and leaped off the train.

i couldnt believe it!! i was *so* close to having my whole pack stolen. this bastard, had apparently climbed into the top bunk of the next compartment, and just reached around the small wall, pulling my pack into his compartment. all this, *right* above our heads without us noticing. if the backpack hadn’t pulled the newspaper along with it, causing the paper to fall over the edge in the end, we never would have noticed. *so* easy to be robbed. to make matters worse, i had gotten out a bunch of cash the previous night that i would need over the next few weeks, so besides containing everything i own, the backpack also had about 500$ in cash.

i guess now i know just how important it is to ALWAYS LOCK YOUR STUFF!!


7 thoughts on “the newspaper that saved me from being robbed”

  1. Ack! So did you get the pack back? You say you were so close to having your whole pack stolen… does that mean you got it back? I had about $800 stolen out of my pack in Laos. I usually don’t carry so much cash but there was no way to get money for the next 2 months. I felt so stupid, and it was right next to laptop but they didn’t take that.

  2. Dood. You are so lucky. Must be all the karma coming back to you from helping out at that orphanage.

  3. yeah, i really was incredibly lucky. turns out, i’ve heard that the varanassi to calcutta train is notorious for people getting their stuff stolen. *phew*

  4. …and to think of all those times you teased me when I locked up my pack while we were traveling together. Think I’m paranoid now? *Ahem* 😉

  5. Yes, you were fortunate; this time. As someone who’s lost bags in LA(Greyhound bus terminal) and Las Ramblas(Barcelona main thoroughfare); $500 from underneath the seat of my pickup truck, while a stranger volunteered to “feed” my black lab; and finally $2000 cash, in unmarked bag, on Seoul, Corea subway; YES, we ALL drop our guard a few times, but stuff happens. We survive, hopefully learn, and move on. You were inexperienced in such a situation and now you’re not, and you’ve shared it with the rest of us, who, when we ride on an Indian train, will hopefully lock our backpacks. (Note: back in the ’80’s and ’90’s, in Italian and Eastern European trains it was nockout gas sent into the compartment and people robbed.) Oh well. As I said, life goes on. Happy Travels!!!

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