A Video of getting pickpocketed in Kathmandu June 4th 2013

Okay, well, not exactly.

Yesterday I attended Rato Mechhendranath, a festival of Patan, where I live. I took the BlackBerry and my wallet. I put both in my front pockets.

This festival, seven hundred years old, is the backdrop for one scene of my book, The Sacrament of the Goddess.

To make a long story short, this event draws a throng of people. Click here to see the video. while shooting this video, at about the 5:30 mark, there was a mad rush, in which I believe to be when the wallet disappeared. Both my hands were occupied in not dropping the video camera.

I have never felt unsafe in Kathmandu. I know that crime occurs, but for me I don’t go to bars, stay out late, consume alcohol, etc so it doesn’t really occur to me what target I am.  and this, for all the inconvenience, was not a violent crime.

I knew it within seconds. Gone. I went straight home and got on the laptop to report the stolen credit cards. there wasn’t that much cash in it.

Just a reminder that in Honolulu I play Mardi Gras every year and the first thing we do is remove our wallets, because when you are doing a street parade through a crowd, both hands are on your musical instrument. So, I know better.

Obviously, I was one of only a few videshis in the crowd of tens of thousands, an easy target.

Street Address not P.O. Box

My Hawaii driver’s license is useless in Nepal, so it was not in the wallet. My Starbucks Gold Card – ugh, that hurt, not that there is a Starbucks here. My AAA card for auto towing when needed – why did I leave that in there? the only true value was the credit card and the debit card. I had not used the debit card in one month. Got them both cancelled pronto.

So I wanted a replacement card. They can fedex me one in 48 hours. I would like that since I am going on The Road Trip sunday morning. One little glitch: they need a physical street address. For the Guest House? you’ve got to be kidding, even people who live here don’t know the street address. The Guest House is down some alleyways on the edge of Kumaripati.

I sort of knew this, but there is no postal service here, and most companies and institutions use a P.O. Box.  I have sent out queries to friends from here asking them for advice. The US Embassy does not accept packages on behalf of private citizens.

Oh, and the teaching?

It’s been going great. Today we will finish the three-days course at Sumeru Hospital, we had 18 nurses in the class. I asked two of them to film short testimonials as to what they had learned, and posted them on YouTube. I also video’ed the Pinnacle Tech A.T. 35, our shiny simulator toy. In the video it is attached to a heart monitor, one of the ones from the hospital. Yes folks, I teach people to read the squiggly lines of a heart monitor and make some sense out of them, something I have taught people to do since 1980. this setup allows us to do “dynamic rhythm response” during each simulated scenario, enhancing the realism of the training.

Today after class I will go to the police and report the stolen wallet. Even if they were the best police force in the world, there is nothing they could do to retrieve it.




About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

These blogs, and my books, and videos are written on the principle that any person embarking on something similar to what I do will gain more preparation than I first had, by reading them. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add to it fifteen more devoted to adult critical care. In Nepal, I started teaching critical care skills in 2011. I figure out what they need to know in a Nepali practice setting. Then I teach it in a culturally appropriate way so that the boots-on-the-ground people will use it. One theme of my work has been collective culture and how it manifests itself in anger. Because this was a problem I incorporated elements of "situational awareness" training from the beginning, in 2011.
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