Friday, July 22, 2011

mugged









I'm writing this post with hesitation. Before I start, I'd like to say this hasn't put me off traveling. This hasn't changed how I feel about traveling alone. There are crappy people everywhere in the world; this could have happened in New Zealand, or America, or anywhere else. It doesn't change how I feel about Indonesia. I am considering leaving earlier, but because I could be surrounded by the familiar, wide smiles of my Cambodian kids and I think that would be a wonderful place to process what has happened. As I take it, if I had fallen off my motorbike I'd be in the same kind of position, but with a less awesome story to tell, so; que cera cera.


My friend had suggested that there were some very beautiful beaches around Kuta, but a bit of a distance away. So I hired a scooter and asked for directions from the rental place. The sweet lady said it was a dangerous road and to be careful. She was right, some parts were so badly damaged that it was a constant battle around pot holes. I made it, though, and felt in good spirits. It was beautiful driving so freely through 'real' Indonesia - where the locals lived and where monkeys and lizards ran across the road. The beach was quite lovely, and there were only a handful other tourists. I hadn't brought sunscreen and was getting a bit burned, so decided to head back around 3pm. I knew it would take me a while to get by on those roads.

I struggled with the pot holes, but for the most part I was awesome. I stopped occasionally to take photos as I was taken by how beautiful my surroundings were. I noticed two men on the side of the road fixing a scooter. I asked them if they needed any help. They didn't speak any English, so I went off. They caught up to me and we spent the next few mins overtaking each other. I'd done that with a few local people, most are interested in tourists and excited you're using the local transport. I stopped to take a photo and they stopped further up the road to fix their bike. I went over a difficult part of the road and one of the men got off and helped me by pushing the back of my bike, keeping me up right over the pot holes. In hindsight, it was probably more sinister. I said thank you and drove off a little faster. I kept driving and after a while noticed their scooter next to mine. I said hello and suddenly the passenger started pulling my bag, while i was still driving, resulting in me being lifted partially off my scooter.

I let my scooter fall down and got off. I was so confused as to what was going on and backed away a bit. I thought maybe they would steal my bike. Both of the men got off their bike and pulled out very long knives, maybe 40-50cm in length. The passenger slashed my bag off in seconds and I was shocked. I didn't even process what was happening. I punched the passenger and snatched my bag back. He stabbed my palm. My camera fell out near the passenger's foot. I was screaming "tolong, tidak, tolong, tidak" which is "help, no" in Indonesian. They just got on their scooter and drove off.

I kept screaming "tolong, tidak" and noticed my hand was bleeding, a lot. I freaked out and tried to figure out where all the blood was coming from; I searched my head, my back, and then saw the gash on my hand. I kept screaming "tolong" and finally a scooter with three local people stopped on it. They looked at me, my bag and camera on the ground, screaming and had no idea what was going on. They didn't speak any English and I just kept saying "Tolong tolong tolong". One of the men came over and got on the front of my scooter and motioned for me to get on. I remembered I had my very tacky 'I heart Bali' towel and tried to get it out of my bag. Blood was everywhere. The local man got it out and wrapped it around my hand. I got on the back of my scooter, wrapped my arms around him and cried "thank you thank you - terima kasih" over and over while sobbing into the back of him. I bled all over his shirt. The ride back to Kuta was about 45 mins of difficult terrain. There was no way I would have made it myself. I'm so grateful for this kind local.


I think sometimes the way you react to situations is more important than what actually happened. I consider myself lucky. I'm grateful for the continued kindness I have been shown by the Indonesian people. The local who drove me back refused to take money from me, but I insisted. The staff at my guesthouse were absolutely shocked and offered to escort me around whenever I wanted. I understand that for the locals, a camera such as mine, is an opportunity for a better life. The locals make anything from $40NZD (young laborer) - $400 NZD (Police) a month. So, if they could steal my camera and sell it for a few hundred dollars, that's a pretty considerable sum. It's enough to make a difference in their lives.

I'm gonna need a bit of time to heal, but then I will be back to my excited exploring self. I am sure of it :-)


Ps. If you want to see the damage click here;

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/281501_10150330828821233_618846232_9712650_5713009_n.jpg

9 comments:

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

Oh wow, you poor thing :( What a horrible horrible experience. I am so glad that you're alright and that it hasn't turned you off traveling. You're very brave. And I'm glad you got a punch in too!

Alison M said...

Oh gosh Izy that is such a horrible thing to have happen! So glad you seem ok though... Big hugs hun, thinking of you xx

Anonymous said...

You are blessed and loved.xoxo...

Mallory said...

Oh my gosh Izy!!!! I can't believe this happened! Im glad that you are okay! And that there are kind people in the world. Jeez, how scary though!! I saw the picture. Goodness.

Celia said...

I hope you caused some damage with your punch! I argue this wouldn't happen in NZ unless you took a risk like carrying a camera at night alone, or in a bad area, alone on a dull day.

Sladjana said...

OMG! That is horrible!
I`m glade that you are OK!
BTW lovely photos!

xoxo
-S

Jenni Austria Germany said...

oh my goodness. this is horrible! such a nightmare. :( i'm glad you're able to stay positive... i don't know if i'd be so strong.

Jennifer M. said...

Oh wow - that's scary! I'm glad you're okay. We don't think about roadside robbers here in the States anymore, now that everyone drives around in cars. That's a hard lesson to learn while you're out on vacation somewhere. It's totally awesome that those other locals were so kind to help you out too though!

mike mack said...

OMG that is absolutely shocking. glad you came out of it ok. and congrats on your outstanding positive attitude after the event. many others myself included would find it difficult to be so philosophical about it and actually analyse why somebody would do something like that.