Saturday, June 20, 2009

Robbed by Kids in a Playground

Unbelievable. I´ve been in Paris and Marseille, France, for the last two weeks taking in the immense beauty of this place. Logan was here for a conference so I decided to depart Kenya for two weeks and meet up with him and my crazy old Spaniard friend, David Abadia. Do you guys remember him?

Everything had been going in fabulously until last night. I watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the night, I´ve looked up in awe at so many cathederals that my neck is stiff, I´ve oo-ed and aww-ed over true french cuisine, I´ve made new friends, swam in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, and read books under the soothing shade of the park trees. All in all, it´s been a wonderful trip. In fact, it´s still a peak in my days of travel. I´m just lucky to have a new story about being robbed by kids at a playground... or at least that´s what I tell myself.
So, I was in Marseille, sitting at a playground in Longchamp Palace Park just two hours before I hopped on a bullet train back to France. I was taking in the view when two boys about 14 years old approached me (He told me he was 16. Yeah right!). They were just being silly and started talking to me in French. I was bored and I hadn´t met many local folke so I figured this was just all apart of traveling so I just laughed at their antics. I could see a group of their friends in a short distance so I figured they were just bored pre-teens kids looking for a kick- and they sure were! I just didn´t know what kind of kick they were looking for. I let them sit next to me and when one kid motioned to my camera, I though, "why not?" and showed them some of the pictures I had taken. While I was doing that ,another boy came over, and my bag fell off the bench. The 3rd boy picked it up for me and when he set it next to me, I noticed that my wallet(which had my phone in it) and back-up wallet (With extra cash) that I had attached to a plastic bag had been torn away. So I jumbed up and yelled for him to stop. At that same moment the other two boys went running after the 3rd boy. For an insane moment I thought they were chasing him for me when I realised that the second kid was running with my camera. So I grabbed my stuff and jet off after them- Ninja style. I gave them a good chase too. I even jumped a fence and got a little bit cut up :). But they must have done this a gazillion times because they jumped another one that I couldnt jump with all my stuff. So I yelled. and yelled. and well, yelled. That was nice. It didn´t stop them but I felt a little better. I wanted to report it the police and chase down his friends at the park but I had a train to catch that I could miss (especially now that I didn´t have money) so I jetted to my hostel and canceled my cards (With the help of a very compassionate hostel manager). I wanted to burst into tears so badly but I had so little time so saved them for poor Ellise, David´s girlfriend, who met me at her apartment door in Paris.

What a day... I was all stressed cause now I´m heading back to Kenya and I thought I had no money. Fortunately, my banks wiring me cash and my other one is issuing me an emergency visa card that will arrive in Kenya the day I do. Did you know they do that? I wish I knew that yesterday or I wouldn´t have been in such shock.

But the shocker is how much those little pricks got away with and the small decisions I had made along the day that lead to it. Like: putting my phone in my clutch wallet when it had been in my bag the whole day and keeping my backup cash so close to my wallet when it had been at the hostel the rest of the trip (I checked out of the hostel so I couldn´t keep it there anymore.) I can think of a thousand things I should have done differently be ses la vie... no use worrying about it now.... I just wish I still had my pictures :( They even took pictures of me kite surfing in Kenya. Fortunately, I have all my other kenya photos and Logan and my other friends took some in France so it´s all good... Just a little sad...

I want to go home...


  1. WOW! I am so sorry to hear that happened to you. In Paris no less? Hang in there and be safe!

    Sam - Gainesville

  2. ...I want you to come home too!

  3. kari! that's so sad! i'm glad to hear that the bank was able to be so helpful so quickly. but it's still shocking. i have to say, though, the image of you hopping a fence in hot pursuit of the little thieves is pretty cool. i wish you had a picture of THAT!

    char & i watched some guy get robbed in paris by a bunch of little kids when we were there a few years ago. it was totally surreal because it happened SO fast. we were on a subway train, and as the doors opened at a stop, a flood of kids came on the train. they quick as lightening shot straight for this guy and surrounded him, their hands everywhere. they grabbed his wallet out of his pocket in a flash, grabbed something else he had, and then they shot back off the train as the doors were closing. we were standing right next to him, and i just remember me grabbing at my own pockets and clutching my bag as quickly as i could, terrified that their lightening fast hands would head in my direction. there were at least 10 of them, and all had to be between the ages of 8 and 12. they were tiny, which made it that much more crazy. the poor guy just yelled, but it all happened so fast and he obviously was caught completely off guard that the doors just shut in his face as the kids jumped off and he was trying to collect himself to react.

    ah, paris! the city of love, the city of light! what interesting memories you leave us with!

    hope your trip back to kenya went smoothly. and hope you were able to have a great time with logan, david & elise! miss you!

  4. i just realized you had this site! was going through old mail to see if i still had your email and saw this. I love all your pictures, they are amazing. Miss you very much! you gotta come visit in south florida. I'm glad to see you are having a great time. Its a great experience!!! miss you and keep me updated on where you are! i wanna visit you!