Sleep won’t come easy tonight, I am so on edge. Most of the day went really well. I enjoyed breakfast with Piotrek and Dorothea before seeing them off and getting stuck into my to-do list. The first thing I did was commence organising my code for my Iranian visa application. I then caught up with Whatsapp and Facebook messages before heading out into the town to get some Kyrgyz cash, stock up on food supplies and buy some petrol to fuel my stove. Back at home I started publishing my newsletter about my time in Indian Punjab and Pakistan. At some point I felt the urge to check my money wallet, which had been sitting in my room inside a backpack. To my utter horror, I discovered that US$1,100 was missing. The reason I was carrying so much is that I can’t be sure I will see a working ATM between Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, so I need enough cash to exchange as I make my way through Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.
I immediately panicked, wandering around in little circles swearing and pulling my hair. I soon forced my mind to settle down and think through the situation. I realised that the money must have been stolen sometime today. This meant that in all likelihood the family running the guesthouse were responsible. I knocked on their house and said my money had been stolen. The lady in charge (Eliza) led me to my room and said that someone must have come in and taken it while I was out. I explained sternly that it must have been someone at the guesthouse who took it. As there weren’t any other guests at the time, this meant I was accusing her or a member of her family. I explained that if the money comes back, then there will be no problems, but that if it isn’t returned, then I will go to the police and make big problems. She said she will ask her family about it. After ten minutes of more mild panic, Eliza came back to me with a story that her mother had seen a boy sneaking around. She said she would find out who he was. After another ten minutes, Eliza returned to tell me that she had located the money and it was on its way back. After yet another ten minutes she handed me US$1000. Up until this point I wasn’t actually 100% sure how much US cash I had and how much was taken. At first I’d said $900 had been taken, then I thought it must be $1,000 and this is what I had told Eliza. While the money was being retrieved, I became sure that in actual fact $1,100 had been taken. When I told Eliza I was missing $1,100, not $1000, she had a go at me, accusing me of lying about how much money I had. When I threatened again with hard action, she told me the boy only gave her $1000, so she would find out if he still had $100. Ten minutes later she told me that the $100 was being brought to the guesthouse. I waited fifteen minutes (during which time no one entered or left the guesthouse) before knocking on Eliza’s door and asking about the money. She pulled $100 from her pocket and gave it to me. Was there a boy? I very much doubt it. How heartless can you be? But what a relief! Thus I learned a very important lesson: never leave my cash alone again.
For the rest of the day I was scared of going anywhere. I haven’t left the guesthouse since and I have even avoided going to the toilet. I have moved into another room, one that is not a walk-though area for members of the family. I considered leaving for another guesthouse, but in the end decided it would just be easier to stay here. I’m familiar with the place and it’s unlikely they will take something from me again. I have brought my bike into my room just in case that becomes a new target though. After sorting through this mess and calming down a bit, I returned to my newsletter and finally managed to send it out. It’s now after midnight. The good news is that I got done what I needed to today and so I’m ready to get the hell out of here come morning.
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||19,648km|