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Illustrations: Xia Qing/GT

 

I was robbed on my last night in Casablanca, Morocco.

My friend and I finished dining at Rick's Café at 9 pm and hailed a taxi back to the hotel. It was quite normal to see the front seat taken because Moroccans like to carpool, so we thought nothing of it and got into the car. We expected to arrive at the hotel in 10 minutes. We guessed wrong.

I started to get suspicious when the car headed to an area with empty streets and asked the driver what went wrong. He didn't answer. Then he stopped the car all of a sudden and the guy in the front seat got out. He took out a watermelon knife from the trunk and sat beside us. We didn't have time to run away. We realized that we were being robbed but were too shocked to move.

I told the guy that he could take everything except our passport and ID cards. He was a local and didn't quite understand me. He thought I was screaming for help, so he started to hit me. I got the message and quickly shut up.

We were already out of the town and had no clue where we were going. But I still tried to figure out how to get all my ID cards back. I pretended to cry to make the guy feel sorry for us and mentioned the word ID several times.

Finally, he understood what I was talking about and agreed that we could have our IDs back. He started to give my friend her passport back but then changed his mind and threw her bag into the trunk. She didn't have time to get anything. I looked at him with my teary eyes, and he got my bag for me. I took out my ID, my bank card and even my transportation pass. Then I got my passport. I hid some US notes inside it and showed him that I got my passport. I was terrified that if he found out my trick, he would hit me again. Thank God he didn't.

They left us in a suburban area and ran away. We hailed a bus and told the passengers what happened to us. They helped us find a police station. The police took us back to the hotel.

It was the worst traveling experience I ever had. But I learned some valuable lessons. First, if you like to travel to exotic countries, buy a proper travel insurance package before you set out. If you get robbed, go to the local police station and give a statement. Ask for an original copy of your statement as well because it will be critical for your insurance claim form. Second, don't try to play brave. Just surrender and give all the money to the robber because your life is more important. Last but not least, I suggest that you dress to fit in when traveling in foreign countries and leave your precious belongings in the safe of your hotel.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.