Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. I was robbed in Vietnam the most common way and it was the best thing to happen to me.
I write chronologically because it is how I have always written.
But there is a problem with a chronological format. I have never written one of my best stories because it happened 5 years ago in 2007.
Getting robbed was the best thing to happen to me.
Let me explain.
I was a comparatively experienced traveler and had already traveled in France, New Zealand and lived in the Philippines so I felt comfortable in South East Asia.
But I made a ridiculous mistake.
Coming overland from Phenom Penh to travel to Vietnam we were asked to show our passports so many times I had thrown my money belt in my messenger bag.
After we checked into our hotel I forgot to remove it.
And then it happened.
Less than an hour in Saigon we went for a stroll. A scooter came up on the sidewalk to drive in between us.
The Ex let go of my hand to make space and they slashed my bag off my body with a knife and I stood there completely stunned.
I was in shock. So was everyone around me.
You would think this type of devastating situation would leave me despising Vietnam but this story is not over.
Locals on the street signaled for us to stay as they went to get help.
They returned with several more people on scooters who spoke English and told us to get on the back so they could take us to the police station.
They stayed with us for two hours as I wrote the incident in English, they translated to Vietnamese then waited to ensure the police stamped the report.
I was so grateful but knew the real task was to get a replacement passport. As I was only on holiday I needed to fly home to Canada in five days and could not do so without it.
At the Canadian consulate I met sympathetic staff who did not want me to miss out on traveling up through the country to Hanoi.
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I completed a new application and they told me they would process it and send it to Hanoi so I could pick it up when I arrived five days later.
They encouraged me to go and see the rest of their country and emailed me every day with a status update, reassuring me I would be fine.
I arrived in Hanoi and picked up my passport. I did learn practical tips that I now employ when I travel but the biggest takeaway was the generosity of the Vietnamese.
They were kind to me when I needed it the most and went far beyond what was expected. I am grateful for getting robbed in Saigon.
I’m still so thankful that I was robbed in Vietnam because I am no longer afraid.
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