The gem stone fraude, final episode

Kathmandu Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 45 › view all entries

To be honest, I didn't really know what to do. Who could I trust? Who was involved in the fraude? The people from the guesthouse: were they supposed to keep an eye on me, or were they just normal spectators? The first thing I did was making my creditcard useless, with a phonecall to Belgium. After that, is was already 11.45 pm, so I decided to go back to the hotel, make sure my backs were packed, so I could leave asap. My mind was still trying to think of the best plan and all the options. Being back at my hotel, I didn't get any further than my original thought; I have to get out of here! That night I slept for one hour, my heart beating to fast, to much on my mind to really get some sleep. I put my alarm clock at 6.30 am, but it didn't turn out to be usefull, because my hour of sleep must have been somewhere between 3 and 4. I got up at 5 and kept on looking at my options. The people from the guesthouse shouldn't be outside, there shouldn't be to many people on the street yet, but the streets also shouldn't be abandoned. At 5.30 am I heared a door open. Was I too late for my silent escape? Did the owners already wake up? I looked outside the window, and saw one of the other guests leave her room and heading for the front gate. The front gate was still closed, and that was the sign for me to take my bags and leave. The gate still being closed was my sign the owners were still inside their house, because otherwise they open the gate. My thoughts turned out to be right, and once I was on the street, it was a matter of minutes, before I would reach my safe haven, a guesthouse I used to stay before I went to the trekking. Somewhere between five and ten minutes later I arrived in the guesthouse, but everyone was still sleeping. I hid on the rooftop, which gave me a clear view on the entrance as well as the rooms of the owners of the guesthouse. At 6 am the youngest brother got out of his room, and he didn't even seem to be surprised when he saw me there. It was like I was there every morning. A few minutes later his father woke up, and I told him the whole story. He was listening very quite to me, and after I did my story, he assured me I was safe and I could stay there until my Tibetan friend was going to pick me up. Last night I had already send a text message to my Tibetan friends, the people I really trusted around there. Telling the whole story again to the manager of the guesthouse, and one of my Tibetan friends, it turned out the man from the guesthouse knew the owner of the travell-company, where they swapped my creditcard. He assured me he was completely trustworthy, and he was not involved in the whole fraude, him being a very respected businessman in Pokhara. One phonecall to him, and he assured me the money wasen't withdrawn from my account at that time, and it wouldn't be, after he heared my story. He said he knew one of the men I was in the office with, the day before, but never had any problems with him. He told me to come by the office the next day and we would solve the problem. My Tibetan friend took me to his village, as we both agreed I would be safer there. Still we didn't know who we were dealing with, and what they were capable of. In the village, I was threated like a king. I think I never had so much to eat in one day. (well, I propably had, but not this kind of delicous food) The families were all together in one house, and we moved from one meal to another, from one house to another, figure of speech! I got to experience the real life in a Tibetan village, as part of a Tibetan family. Protected and taken care of by them. The whole village feeling sorry for me, and praying. I got to sleep in a room with my two new brothers, after spending the evening in that same room with all the family. It really was a unique, and wonderful experience for me, specially after the tension that had been going through my vains the past 24 hours. I felt safe, and home. A welcome feeling at that time, but I had to go back to Pokhara, Lakeside the next day. I had to try and recover the 2000 USD. Next morning, one of my Tibetan brothers drove me back to Pokhara, on the motorbike. I was instructed to go to the travell agency, return to their shop, they would call me a taxi that would return me to the village. When I entered the Travell agency at 9.30 am, the owner was not there yet. I was told to come back around 11 am. Walking back on the street, I went to send some e-mails, contact the credit card company again, to recieve a new credit card. When I came out of the internet spot, I saw two of the "bandits" passing by on the motorcycle. I turned away my head, so they didn't see me, but all the tension was back inside my body. Were they informed by the clerk at the travell agency? I decided to take a place at the rooftop across the agency, so I could keep my eye on when the owner arrived, as well as who else was entering or leaving the travell agency. After the relatively quiet hours since the afternoon of last day, I was feeling unsure, and therefor insecure again. At 11.15 am, I saw the clerk of the agency leave, which he told me ment his boss was there, so he could go to lunch. I had seen a man going in the agency, which must have been the owner, because I had never seen him before. Even in my logic, one and one is two! After telling the owner my story again, he gave me back the two receipts from the VISA transaction, so I recovered the money. He also confirmed they booked a ticket to Londen with part of the money, which was canceled immediately. The rest of the money, the company was supposed to pay to them. A business they seemed to find pretty normal, so I assume it happens more. The company owner advised me to let go of the 40 000 NPR, after having a telephone conversation with one of the men, asking for some explenation. Their story was they already send the stones, and also had their expenses. I decided to leave it that way, and go back to the shop of my friends, to go back to the Tibetan village, where I could feel calm and safe again. After arriving in the village again, it was an easy day, like the last one. Talking with the family, exchanging stories about what happened to me, and similar cases that had happened in the past. Cases that they only heared about that day, but that made them a worried about my safety. One of the brothers contacted someone he knew that drove a microbus between Pokhara and Kathmandu. They agreed on taking me out of Pokhara the next day, back to Kathmandu. The bus would pick me up, somewhere on the road, not on the normal bus parks. So it happened, that after spending the evening with my new family, I returned to Kathmandu in the morning, in what I would call a little bit western style. Crossing the bus on the road, stopping, changing from the car to the bus and I was on my way to Kathmandu. What happened in Kathmandu is a whole different story. Nothing compared to this one, if you compare it to the tension. Kathmandu had some nice surprises ready for me. A story I might write on later, or maybe even not, We'll see, but this one I really wanted to share with you. Bottom line; I'm ok, and I had a special experience that made me wiser, and more attentive.

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photo by: sharonburgher