Years ago when I was living in Cochabamba, Bolivia…
I was working for a local NGO that worked on improving contamination issues in the city…
By building portable toilets.
As you can read about here.
Either way, in that time, I met plenty of other foreigners from other countries.
Be it the US, Canada, Australia, Germany and more…
Well, there was one German guy I remember in those days who told me a funny story…
A story with a positive ending in this case.
Well, this German guy, whose name I don’t remember but let’s call him Adolf….
Sorry, that’s literally the only German name I have ever heard in my life so don’t crucify me for the bad name…
I promise I’m not a Nazi!
If he was Colombian, I’d call him Pablo, I swear!
Adolf had a story for me that was interesting.
While in Cochabamba, Bolivia, he went to the most popular market in the city.
After some research, I think the market was a place called La Cancha but I’m not 100% positive after all these years.
More like 60%.
Either way, here’s a description of it here.
Well, he was walking anyway with some other foreign friends through La Cancha…
And it is a very popular market – apparently one of the biggest ones in South America.
When all of a sudden he had a weird feeling…
Like something was wrong…
As he felt someone touch him from behind…
He checked his back pocket where his wallet was…
And found that it was gone!
He immediately turns around and just points at the first guy he suspected of stealing his wallet.
Where he points his finger at this much smaller Bolivian dude…
And I say much smaller because Adolf was at least 6’5 foot in height.
White, 6’5 foot with a bald head and being a fairly young guy as well in his late 20s more or less.
Whereas, given most Bolivian dudes are relatively small…
Well, Adolf said this guy was quite small like a lot of folks down there in Bolivia.
So he points at the guy and goes “you! You have my wallet!”
And keep in mind that Adolf didn’t really speak much Spanish – he knew some basic words but that was it.
But he did know the word for wallet in Spanish – Cartera.
And he knew the word for you – Tu.
So he points down at the guy and immediately goes “Cartera! Tu! Tu! Cartera!”
And probably mixing in some English or German in there like “give me my fucking wallet back!”
Now, from his story he told me, the guy didn’t run away for whatever reason.
Even though, in hindsight, it probably would have made more sense.
I mean, there’s a 50% chance he could have ran away and gotten away with it since he would know the neighborhood better.
But given how much taller Adolf was, if he wanted to, I bet he could have caught him.
Well, the Bolivian thief – let’s call him Meza – after the Bolivian dictator Luis Garcia Meza here.
I mean, if Adolf gets a bad name, it’s only fair if the Bolivian dude does as well.
Anyway, Meza starts defending himself going “no! no! Soy inocente!”
And Adolf responds in his best Spanish – “Tu! Tu! Cartera! Cartera! Ladron! Ladron! Tu! Cartera!”
To which Meza responds “No! No! Inocente Soy! Inocente Soy!”
And now they are repeating each other basically…..
Plus, according to Adolf, a real crowd was starting to form very quickly around the two.
Which might explain why Meza wasn’t able to escape by this point if they had a crowd surrounding them…
But then, according to Adolf, he grabbed the guy and started checking him for his wallet.
And found it in one of his pockets – either a pocket in his pants or his jacket but I don’t remember that exact detail.
Either way, he gets the wallet from the guy by grabbing him and searching him for it.
The guy probably resisted a little bit but 5’5 Meza just couldn’t fend off 6’5 Giant Adolf over here…
And according to Adolf…
Once he got the wallet back and the crowd realized it…
They apparently started applauding the scene…
A bit like a “yeah! Fuck that thief! The good guy won this time!”
Which is basically where the story ends right there.
An intense encounter between German Adolf and Bolivian Meza over a wallet with the good guy standing up for himself and winning.
But some reflections on the story….
First, I don’t know how much of the story is true or not.
I wasn’t there.
This is all what I was told according to my notes that I took of my travels and from memory for some minor details told to me.
Granted, it could be the case that the story was false but it seems believable enough.
The only issues with the story I find – and they are minor ones.
First, why didn’t Meza leave the second he got the wallet?
And why didn’t Meza pull a weapon on Adolf when confronted?
However, both issues are not major.
On one hand, it could have been that Adolf caught the guy in the act right then as he did it and that he caught the guy by surprise.
Maybe Meza was new to stealing and was simply too intimidated in fear by the giant 6’5 foreigner looking down at him.
Second, it’s also entirely possible that Meza didn’t have a weapon.
And entirely lucky for Adolf as well that Meza didn’t have a weapon.
Because if Meza did have a gun or something, then Adolf would probably have been sent to the hospital if I had to guess.
Either way, you can believe if the story is true or not.
I personally think too – Adolf didn’t seem the type to make shit up and his story seems believable enough.
Funny as well I suppose and also some good news for once that the bad guy lost.
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