I wrapped the blanket around my hula hoop like a tortilla around the fillings of a burrito: out of sight, out of mind. Hiding the hoop, hiding the calories.
I hesitated at the door before I shrugged and walked down the hallway decorated with pink plush pillows and black walls.
No one is going to steal my hula hoop, I thought as I sauntered into the crippling heat that felt like two massive hands around my throat.
It’s not even in the shape of a circle, I thought again an hour later as I sipped my coconut milk coffee, better known as ‘addiction in a cup’. The thought immediately drifted out of my head as I lost myself in the world of writing. I headed back to my hostel when my fingers started feeling stiff and achy like the onset of the flu.
And then the inevitable happened.
Similar to my love life, my hula hoop had vanished into thin air.
I blinked several times and grabbed the duvet cover, throwing it into the air like an overenthusiastic wedding guest with rice.
Someone had stolen my hula hoop. My dancing tool, my pride and joy, my expression of art.
Why anyone would steal my hula hoop is beyond me, but why anyone would steal anything baffles me. This was the first thing that had ever been stolen from me- and it most certainly wasn’t going to be the last.
I ran downstairs to reception and pleaded with the staff.
“My hula hoop, it’s gone. Someone stole it.” The looks on their faces expressed confusion and bewilderment. For the staff members who couldn’t speak English, the language barrier caused their confusion. But for the others, I probably sounded like a 13 year old stuck in a 22 year olds body asking for a hula hoop.
“A hula hoop?” said one of the women, shaking her hips like a 16 year old at a homecoming dance to confirm what I was looking for.
“Yes.” I tried to position my face to express anger, sadness, and frustration, but probably ended up looking like a dehydrated camel.
“Okay, we will look for it,” she said.
I knew it was hopeless. Someone, somewhere, was twirling my hoop around their waste without the slightest clue as to what they were doing.
I tried to push the anger aside when a group of (cute) guys invited me out for beer. Yeeeeea!
Except my night only got worse.
Free beer that tasted like puddle water, gasoline infused rum, and the same “so where are you from?” conversation proceeded the incident.
My saving grace appeared when it started pouring rain.
This is what traveling is all about, I said as I took off my shoes and ran out of the bar. I threw my shoes and my bag onto the ground and danced around in an empty street, barefoot, in the rain.
An English guy joined in, and together, we ran up and down the street, laughing and screaming as the rain soaked my hair, my clothes, and my soul.
I felt so alive.
Until I turned around.
Empty pavement replaced my bag, consequently making my stomach flop and my arms sink to their sides.
No, no, no, I said as I pictured myself slamming my head against a wall.
Seriously Monica, how dumb can you be?
Let’s take a look at the items in my bag:
- Debit card
I ran inside of the hostel looking like one of those inflatable air dancers that are always in front of car dealerships.
“My bag, my bag!” I said, waking up the security guard. Ironic, right?
“Someone stole my bag!” I said.
He stood up in his dream like state and dragged his feet outside. I followed him out the door in shock.
Seconds later, a Vietnamese woman appeared from the darkness and waved my bank card and all of my cash around in front of my face.
I thought I was hallucinating.
Oh my god, my money. My debit cards.
“Thank you, thank you,” I said hugging her. She shriveled up like a raisin and backed away, probably terrified.
“My bag is gone though,” I said to the security guard. The woman led me to a plastic bag on the side of the road that had my bag, mascara, and various receipts inside of it. Everything except my cellphone.
“Cellphone is gone,” I said as I grabbed the other items. She waved me off as the security guard translated.
“She doesn’t have it,” he said.
I ran over to her bag and rummaged through the items before coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t in there and that she wasn’t the robber. Why wouldn’t she have taken the cash?
“Cam on, thank you,” I said in Vietnamese. She nodded and walked off down the road to continue collecting various items from the sidewalk.
I spent the rest of the night on “Lost My iPhone” even though I knew it was a lost cause.
Some sneaky rascal probably ran up to my bag, realized they had about ten seconds before I turned around, grabbed my bag, took out my phone, and threw the rest down the road.
As a result, I am now the proud owner of a $70 Samsung Galaxy that takes ‘quality’ pictures and is definitely not archaic in comparison to the iPhone.
Lesson learned: Keep dancing in the rain, because sh*t happens.