Archive 08/04; 7 Months and all the travel wiser

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I suppose after 7 months and nothing monumentally bad happening I should be thankful.  I can honestly say that in my 32 yrs., 7 in NYC and 7 mos. on the road I have never been conned or pick-pocketed.  That was until yesterday.  I will preface this story by saying that my “sexual predator radar” is in such overdrive right now that I suppose my “robbery radar” was on the back burner and will perhaps explain how a woman in a bhurka was able to con and rob me right under my nose! That’s right, a woman in a bhurka.  Now I know why the Muslims invented the stupid things.  Anyhow, I have to give the pertinent info in order to somehow explain how I could be so stupid…or perhaps that is the explanation.  I had one day to spend in Chittagong and that one day ended up being a washout…but I decided not to let that stop me from seeing the town.  I got caught in the downpour in the morning and my theft-proof bag got soaked in the process along with all the contents.  So I returned to my hotel and removed the contents trying to dry all the important papers out.  Eventually it did stop raining and therewas a lake i read was very nice and relaxing to
go to and had a hill that “afforded grand views of the city and the bay of bengal”.  I wasn’t going to go, but since it was my onely day and i was going stir crazy from the confines of the morning rain i decided to go.  since everything was wet i shifted everything into my waterproof (but not theft proof) backpack and headed out with some money and my camera.  the lake was very nice and at the top of the hill i met a couple, the woman being a young “muslim” woman wearing a bhurka.  she started talking to me, which I have never been approached by a woman in a bhurka before (stupid move #1).  I couldn’t understand what she was saying and went about walking the hill.  then she made a motion to take a photo.  well what an opportunity i thought, they never let you take their photo. (stupid move #2). her male companion took a photo of us. in which she removed the mouth vale which i thought strange. (stupid move #3)  then i said i would take a photo of them and she said no.  then i said thank you and good by and walked away but they kept following me
and i thought they were saying they wanted a copy of the photo.  anyhow, i did politely try to get rid of them but they kept walking with me.  then there was some sort of altercation between another man and her male companion and a guard and i didn’t understand what it had to do with, but she  grabbed me by the hand and led me out and it seemed like some kind of sisterhood.  then her companion caught up with us and we walked out of the park and i kept trying to say goodbye.  then she motioned to a photostudio just out of the park and led me in. It  just seemed to me that she really wanted a picture with me.  so we were led in the back to a photospot and she immediately started removing the bhurka and cloak top and out came the hair and on came the makeup and i have to admit that i was a little shocked, but what do i know? (stupid move #4,5,6) so we had our photos taken and then she says to me that I would pay.  Well, I was a bit upset in that i never wanted to go to the studio in the first place and had been trying to go my own way and now i was going to have to pay for a photo i didn’t want and would never see!  but then my conscious came in
telling me how it’s a poor country and what’s 50 thaka to me if she wants a picture with me, since everyone in india wanted a picture.  so then i had to pay for this picture and i saw her looking in my change purse and tried to turn to the side.  then we left and she kept holding my hand and led my to the main street and it all gets a bit blurry here becuase i was trying to find a rick-shaw to get back and then as i realized that she was gone i also realized that my bag was open.  i don’t know how she did it. all i know is my money was gone, my camera!!!! (that’s number 2 for those keeping track. sorry mom, i’ll make it up) and 180 photos.  As soon as i realized i started screaming and trying to get the crowd to help me locate them, but all they could say was they were gone and professionals. Now they tell me.  Fool!  Looking back it all seems so clear and I so stupid!  What can I say.  The moral of the story is the next time a woman in a bhurka at the lake approaches you for a photo…tell her to jump in it!

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