*Some more retrospective blogging. Sorry. Though I think this one is definitely worth sharing.*
London was the first city I ever lived in. I was born and raised in a town in South Africa and was very much a small town boy when I moved to London. I was an aspiring mugger or thief´s wet dream, as I constantly opened and left my wallet on shop counters, walked into dodgy neighbourhoods waving my phone and mp3 player like a rooky. I was so green, that I once got stopped by man wanting to mug me at a busy train station and instead of just walking away, I almost let him take to an ATM where he was going to force me to draw my daily limit for him. Fortunately, I was snapped out of my silly trance and walked away . This was a lesson for me and I avoided trouble for the rest of my six and a half years in London… or that’s what I thought.
It was three weeks before my departure from London (to Abu Dhabi) and I had just left a concert and was waiting at a bus stop just across Big Ben. I was alone at a deserted bus stop, listening to music and doing what any good Londoner does when at a bus stop or on a train, looking at the map. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed two guys walking towards the bus stop. Nothing wrong with that picture. I take out my phone to check the time and my iPod to change the track.
The two men then started walking towards me. This was London. People don´t walk towards you, they don´t talk to you (unless the sun is out) and avoid any kind of eye contact. However I was not concerned, probably a drunk tourist looking directions. One man then stands next to me and taps my shoulder. This is the dialogue that followed:
I remove earphones form ear
Tonito : Yes?
Man 1 : Do you know any coke dealers mate?
Tonito : No, sorry. (I apologise like any good Londoner!)
I put earphones back in ear
Man1 taps my shoulder again and I remove earphones again
Man1 : Do you want to survive the night?
Man1 raises his voice slighlty
Man1: DO you want to survive the night?!
(At this point I´m slightly confused and think he is destitute and wanted to share his philosophy on how to survive life on the streets)
Tonito: Sorry mate, I don’t have any change.
Man1: I don´t want your change! Do you want to survive the night mate?!
(Now I´m very confused and have no idea what the man wants)
Tonito: Mate, I have no idea what you on about!
Man1: Mate… This night can end one of two ways for you… Good or Bad… You decide!
(What the hell?!?! Was I on a game show or something??)
Tonito : Uh?
Man1: Like I said mate. The night can end good or bad.
(At this point I realize… Oh yes… I´m being mugged)
Tonito: Mate, I only have twenty quid on me.
Man1: That will do.
(Quite a cheap mugger, but hey, he wasn´t taking my iPod)
I hand him over the twenty pound note in my wallet. Man1 then moves closer towards me. I can´t see his hands
(I´m going to be stabbed. This is my time!)
Man1 goes on to give me a kiss on the cheek and a hug.
Man1: Thanks mate!
(Wait! Did I my mugger just kiss me???)
The mugger and his friend walk away, while I am twenty pounds short, however still own a wallet, iPod and phone. Definitely the most bizarre experience ever. So a word of caution to anyone visiting London, muggers can be affectionate.
This is a true story. Promise. Though I would not believe it if someone had told me this.