Dushanbe – Lost Money (Again, Again, Again… Aaaargh…)

The beautiful Tajik money, Somoni, with picture of a Persian Sufi poet, Mir Said Ali Hamadani

The beautiful Tajik money, Somoni, with picture of a Persian Sufi poet, Mir Said Ali Hamadani

These last few days, I stayed in a hotel named Vakhsh Hotel. It is the cheapest choice I can find in the town, and it cost 10 $ per night in a room with four beds. Of course with such high price, I expected that the room was exclusively for me alone. I always locked the door and kept the key for myself. After staying a night in Bakhriddin’s dormitory, I went to my room in Vakhsh. I was surprised to see that there was a young man sleeping on one of the beds. I just put my small bag in the room, went shower, and then Internet to check the news from my embassy concerning my Kyrgyz visa application.

I didn’t come back until evening, when I saw another man taking another bed. I just realized that this is a shared room, and I just left my luggage unattended for the whole day. I saw my small bag, and just at glance I knew someone had opened it. I suddenly realized what can be stolen: my money collection. And I was right.

A plastic full of brand new banknotes from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, India and Nepal, lost. It was a collection of mine which I got not easily. Some of the banknotes were high values like 1000 Rupee banknotes from India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Nevertheless, these foreign banknotes are meaningless here in Tajikistan so I didn’t expect at all these money could be stolen. Some old money from Afghan war time and Iranian Shah era were in the plastic as well, and the money is only meaningful for numismatic collectors.

The old man in the room was preparing to break his fast, and was surprised to hear I lost money. “No, I didn’t steal anything. Now is Ramazan, and I am fasting.” He worried that I might accuse him. Saying so, he showed me his cash: a pile of 50 Somoni banknotes. “I have money. I don’t steal!” He showed sympathy on me, brought me to the floor lady (dezhurnaya). The lady in charge was also surprised. The theft might happen in the morning, and the dezhurnaya of the morning shift had left away. She promised me to talk with that lady the next morning.

The old guest offered me some food, but I really lost of appetite after losing my collection. It was not easy at all to collect the banknotes and it cost a lot with some big nominal values. But the pain just disappeared, just like that.

“Whoever dares to steal in Ramazan,” the man said, “is really deserved to be punished hard.” I lost my mood of everything.

To my surprise the boy who was sleeping in my room in the morning when I came, entered our room again tonight. Apparently the floor ladies told him about the theft case and he was probably the strongest suspect. The first thing he said was explaining his innocence, and saying, “What is the need of Afghan money? It doesn’t work at all here.” His name is Rustam, a businessman. As the old man, he emphasized that he had money and there was no need at all to steal collection money. I told him we would hear explanation from the floor lady tomorrow, he said, “all of the ladies here are good ladies. They don’t steal.”

I don’t know what made him making the conclusion, as the fact that my money disappeared. I just trusted Rustam not stealing as if he was the real thief, there was no need for him to come back to the same room while knowing that I would investigate the case. But maybe my trust was not at all reasonable.

The next day, all dezhurnayas and cleaner women who got access to the room were investigated. Everybody, just like a choir, swore in the name of God that they didn’t steal the money, and especially now was Ramazan fasting month. “I am fasting, by God, what is the meaning of Ramazan if I steal,” said a cleaner woman.

What was lost, let it lost. I didn’t expect too much my money would come back. Even though it was a high lost loss in value, at least they were only collection money that I don’t use financially. I felt grateful it was only money, not my camera or harddisk which was stolen. I tried hard to calm myself and just accepted my carelessness.

Not to happen again! I am tired of being stolen. Readers of this blog may have impression that it was indeed my hobby to get stolen or I had a sign on my forehead, “Come on, please rob me!” Oh really, not to happen again.

About Agustinus Wibowo

Agustinus is an Indonesian travel writer and travel photographer. Agustinus started a “Grand Overland Journey” in 2005 from Beijing and dreamed to reach South Africa totally by land with an optimistic budget of US$2000. His journey has taken him across Himalaya, South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. He was stranded and stayed three years in Afghanistan until 2009. He is now a full-time writer and based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Contact: Website | More Posts

1 Comment on Dushanbe – Lost Money (Again, Again, Again… Aaaargh…)

  1. Ivan Wijaya // June 12, 2015 at 12:01 pm // Reply

    I am a banknotes collector too, although still can be regarded as an amateur, but such thing like your loss as written above was a true grief.. Nice posting by the way, really interesting

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