That Time I Got Pickpocketed in Nepal and Yelled a Man into Submission

I’ve been nervous to post, honestly, since a random “motivational rant” went viral. I feel compelled to post specific things, now… but why? Are we going to pretend I can keep focused on a single topic for more than a few minutes? We cannot, because… cat.

For the record, though, I have been working on a handful of super crazy fucking awesome derby posts which I’ll post in the near future.

In the meantime, I’ll post what I want.

Anyhoo, random story time with pictures! OMGYES!

So, one time, I lived in Kathmandu (Nepal, not Missouri) for three months. It’s a really great place. Kind of like India, but not quite… which often works out in their favor. High five, Nepal! About two months in, I had made a Canadian friend and we often wandered around the city together. We were both living in an area called Boudhanath, which is nice, but insanely touristy because the stupa there is a pilgrimage point both for devout Buddhists, and, moreover, Westerners.

Boudhanath Stupa

Tharlam Guesthouse and Monastery

Aside from the Boudhanath Stupa, there are loads of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries all around, including the one I was living at, Tharlam Monastery. Before you go thinking thoughts: nope. Atheist. They have a nice, affordable guesthouse with a gate and locked doors at night. And tiny frogs that would come out after dark and swarm the alley… I miss those tiny frogs. But I digress, for ADD requires such.

One day, Canadian-buddy and I were hanging around and could hear music and little ladyfingers going off, which is a fairly regular thing in South Asia. There was a small gathering just outside the stupa gates and people dressed as dancing Lakhey (which I believe are Nepal-specific rakshas/demons) were dancing with a small band nearby. The audience was silent, just watching, but Canadian-buddy and I were all “FUCKYESOK!”

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I handed her my neon-green camera and she juked through the crowd. Periodically, I would see her hand come up and snap a photo. Soon, I noticed several people in the crowd watching her hand with my shiny camera click-click-clicking. “WRIST STRAP!” I shouted, and she slid the sad little wrist strap over her wrist, continuing to pop up amongst the locals.

After a few minutes, the music stopped, the Lakhey dancers collected donations, and everyone kind of hung around. We were going somewhere, though. Somewhere else… I dunno, we needed a taxi, for sure, though. I had this bag strapped across my chest which had thin wire mesh running throughout, in case of someone trying to cut it open or off of me. It locked all over and had clips and whatevers so you could secure your things. It also had two PET bottle pockets that did not lock, obviously. In the front, I kept water, and in the back, my room key and my crappy South Asian cell phone.

We stood at the edge of the crowd and I put my camera back in the main compartment, checked my shitty cell phone, then dropped it in the back pocket of my bag. We debated which way on the street to take for a moment, then stepped away. I felt resistance on my bag for just a second and turned around. A young Nepali man stood there beaming a crazy big smile. I squinted at him with my grumpy Western face, then took a few steps… wait. I checked all through my pockets over and over and, what? My cell phone was gone. But… the man was still right there. He even watched me search my things from ten feet away. Why he did not take advantage of the crowd is beyond me.

I walked up to him. Most people I encountered in Kathmandu, especially in the tourist areas, spoke English (at least to a degree). “Give me my cell phone,” I said calmly. He cocked his head, still smiling, as if he didn’t understand. I repeated myself, and he began to speak Nepali, which, I’ll tell you now, I don’t. So, I did what any irrational person would do.



I began to shout at him, inching closer to him with every yell. I am 5’9″, which is a fair bit taller than average in South Asia, and I remember feeling guilt for using this against him. He mostly smiled and said quick sentences in his native tongue. I made hand gestures, indicating what I was looking for, until I was full on in my ref voice. He flagged out his pockets to show me he had nothing. He showed me his own shitty cell phone. I continued to shout at him, all the while thinking “this is not the best plan you’ve had, Sleazer.”

Men came around him, close to him, staring at me with furrowed brows. I shouted “CORA! CORA!” and pointed to the man, hoping for just once, Sanskrit and Nepali would just fucking line up. My friend was standing quite a bit away, looking at me with a completely reasonable “what the fuck” on her face. As the men around the smiling guy looked more and more angry, I thought I was about to get jumped. It was just a $20 cell phone, and it was a prepaid account… I should probably not do battle with a legion of tiny foreigners…

But then, one of the men quietly said something and after a pause, the smiling dickbag produced my phone from some mysterious place on his person. The cops didn’t care a moment later, when one of them finally sauntered by. Whatever.

I was just expecting a call from my Brahmin friend later that day so we could, ironically, continue to recite Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.

I have no way to end this story, so… here’s a ram that busted ass out of a shrine I was standing next to one day.


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