It was cold and wet. Everywhere. Masses of damp bodies dashed for the slowly approaching bus. A traffic officer yelled from the median in a local Kunming dialect for everyone to clear off the road. Mayhem. Nathan darted from his spot across the street and Mom pulled her jacket's hood over her head. Rain drops dripped off the top onto her nose and glasses.
"We gotta get on this one!" She yelled above the frantic shouts and squeals. Grandmothers clung onto grandchildren elbowing and body checking anyone in their way like a quarterback in the forth quarter. Other children only knee high squirmed and wove their way underneath the crowd to the front doors of the bus. I felt an elbow jab me in my back and turned around on my heels soaked and annoyed only to see young girl dash ahead of me. I could spot my Mom's tall dark hooded head with Nathan not far behind. I resumed normal bus boarding posture. Purse zipped and in front of me with my hand over top for safe keeping, nose to the wind, and shoulders firm with my elbows slightly extended. I joined the masses and pushed to the front. Faces appeared from both sides of the bus door and almost in unison the crowd pushed forward. I could see out of the corner of my eye a group of men and women approaching from my right. To create a barricade of sorts so that my Mom and brother could get on the bus without a shove from the side I put my hand up on the door and leaned. I scrambled up onto the bus behind them and grabbed a handle to hang on to as more bodies herded themselves on. I felt like livestock. Each man for himself. I peered wide-eyed out of a steamy window watching as bodies continued to swarm the bus doors. I suddenly realized that my water bottle was still tucked underneath my arm so I opened up my bag to place it inside.


In the chaos of shoving and elbowing someone had managed to get under my protective arm, unzip my purse and steal my wallet. I was instantly furious. I glared and eyed suspiciously at the wet bodies and faces that surrounded me. Then I was hurt and I felt used. My chin started to quiver and I rummaged around for a tissue.

My Mom made her way beside me. The bus soon took off again and everyone began swaying to and fro with the starting and stopping at each light.

"My wallet's gone." I finally managed through teary eyes. A Chinese woman sat staring at me.
"WHAT?!?! Are you sure?"
"Yup. It's really gone."
She extended an arm to my shoulder and furrowed her brow.
"Ok, now I'm angry. I want to stop this bus and interrogate everyone on this thing." she said trying to console me.

I only had what is equivalent to 15 CAD but my drivers license and bank cards disappeared with it. I was more angry that someone targeted and took advantage of an already stressful situation, taking off with something that belonged to me.

Last night we called my banks to cancel my cards. They all sounded sympathetic and polite. I just wanted my stuff back.

Thankfully we are safe. Thankfully it was only a silly wallet. Thankfully we can just use Arden's set of bank cards until we arrive back in Canada.

It drove home a point that Mom and Dad had already wisely mentioned upon arrival to this country.

"Hold all things loosely."

I am far too attached to my belongings for my own good.


Cass said…
That sucks!!! At least you didn't actually lose too much, but still...
Carla said…
OH, Erika... I'm sorry. That's so lame! That's such a horrible feeling. But... after traveling for a lot of weeks, making it through a wad of countries with a lot of pickpockets in them - you have done really well!
Carla said…
And - I'm glad it wasn't your camera! eek!
Amber said…
Sick, the wallet bites the dust again. : (