James Stanley

Stories from the Mongol Rally: Mongolian Black Market Pickpocket

Wed 19 November 2014

After completing the rally, and during our time as regular tourists in Ulaanbaatar, we visited a large market known as the "black market".

I had $200 in cash in my wallet, so I had intended to stash it somewhere at the hotel. However I forgot, and arrived at the market with the cash still on my person. I moved my wallet from my back trouser pocket to my front pocket so that I could keep an eye on it better.

After we'd been perusing the market for some time, a man pushed past me rather rudely (which wasn't unusual in the black market - the locals were extremely rude). I immediately checked my pocket and noticed that my wallet was gone!

I turned around and the guy was still near me due to the density of people in the market. Without thinking, I thumped the guy in the stomach (as hard as I could at such short notice). He turned around and looked at me, and I demanded that he return my wallet. Even though he obviously wouldn't understand English, I was pretty sure he'd get the gist. He shoved me in the stomach with both hands, and pointed at the ground. My wallet was there on the floor, so I picked it up, thanked him, and carried on.

I guess he must have shoved me with both hands as a way to direct attention away from the fact that he was dropping my wallet on the floor.

Anyway I felt like a god and continue to tell people that I once beat up a hardened Mongolian criminal for $200.

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