Seeing as we’re all looking back at travel photos and stories during this COVID19 pandemic, thought I’d share this one…
We’d arrived at a souvenir store of sorts in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Generally I avoid these stores because I find them boring and tacky, but this time, I reluctantly agreed. “I’ll just wait here” I said, looking down and trying to avoid eye contact with the sales clerk. My wife went on to check out bracelets or whatever.
Eventually a local guy who seemed to be stalking her caught my attention. I noticed he slowly followed around close enough to make me uncomfortable but distant enough to be stealthy. At first I thought he was going to pickpocket her. Then I saw his shaky hands steal an awkward photo of my wife, then another and another in quick succession.
I grabbed him by the arm and commanded “give me your phone!”. Not realising he was being watched, this already anxious creeper was taken by surprise. I was about to smash his phone right there and then, but first barked to see the photos. I deleted the photos of my wife one after another. Then I saw the others.
Pictures of countless girls, mostly tourists, backpackers, europeans some locals too. All of them unaware. Too many to delete. His quivering become more noticeable with each photo. My feelings of rage and disgust were subsiding to pity. What should I do with this guy? I thought.
I yanked the memory card out and handed his phone back. “Take it but I’m keeping this. Now get out of here.” It was enough to send him off. He was gone in a flash.
On our way out I explained what had just happened to my wife. We threw the memory card in the bin like an unwanted souvenir.
What would you have done in this situation? Should I share more short travel stories? Let me know in the comments.