This weekend opened the World Cup, which means I have spent much of the past three days (at least in the mornings) plastered to a television or computer screen, along with our house guests, neighbors and various friends. I’ve mentioned before that soccer is more than just a sport in our household, it’s like a religion (as seen in posts “The Real Football” and P’s one and only guest blog piece “Joga Bonito Henry“).
I had watched a few World Cup matches before, but it wasn’t until the 2006 World Cup that I really started to understand soccer. Before that it was just a game that P enthusiastically played and watched, but after 2006 I could feel the pulse of the world celebrating along with various national teams as they made their way through the tournament brackets. It’s exciting and invigorating, and addicting. It’s going to be so hard trying to concentrate at work when the games are on. Luckily my boss is Danish, so I think we will watch Monday morning’s match together starting at 7:30am. I usually root for the African teams. I was thrilled with South Africa’s tie, and Ghana’s win, but sad that Nigeria conceded a goal. I’m looking forward to the Cameroon and Ivory Coast games this week!
I also have to throw in a plug for one of the “official” World Cup songs (I know there are technically two, but I like the K’naan song better, linked below):
So now the shift to the “burglary” part: P’s dad called yesterday. I’m not the only one who realizes that the whole world is watching the World Cup and thus distracted. Criminals do as well. While in Kathmandu last summer I heard stories about break-ins, and R told me that families having weddings have to be particularly careful about potential break-ins since everyone in the neighborhood knows whats going on and that there will be a lot of gifts and money around. Even on a regular day, break-ins can happen, but when there is a big citywide distraction (like World Cup watching), it is prime time for thievery. Sometimes they climb through your windows at night (many if not most of the houses don’t have screens like in America, so when windows are open, they are really open) and steal things.
Anyway, P’s dad and mom were sleeping in the living room, apparently watching the England vs. USA World Cup match around 2am (the games are airing at night in South Asia). P’s aunt lives on the first floor of the house (and has metal grills on her window in case a thief comes into the compound), but P’s parents live on the second floor and do not have window grills. As they were watching the game P’s dad heard a sound coming from their bedroom down the hallway, and went to investigate and caught several men who had climbed up the wall of the house to the second story and through their bedroom window. The men grabbed the cell phone that was charging in the room (which P had recently sent with our friend KS to give to his parents when she was in town last month), but luckily anything else of value was locked away in the large bedroom cupboards that Mamu literally keeps under lock and key. I guess the thieves were caught off guard by their sudden discovery and jumped out the window and ran off before anything else could be taken, leaving behind footprints and handprints on the wall where they climbed up.
“Oh my god! Did your dad run after them?” I asked,
“Of course not, that would be dangerous.” P said (I guess I’ve watched one too many Bollywood movies).
“Did they call the police?” I asked.
“The police aren’t much help. This kind of petty crime happens all the time. They probably wouldn’t do anything.”
So that was a scary bit of news. When we were there last summer P’s mom insisted on locking up our extra money, our passports, and anything of value in the large cupboards. I thought she was just being over cautious. P and I were pretty careless with our stuff actually… we had a laptop, camera batteries, and cell phones out and charging constantly, with our cameras out and visible most evenings when we went to bed. If the thieves had come last year at this time, through the same window (since P and I stayed in Mamu and Daddy’s room), they would have made a killing. Next time I go, it will remind me to be much more careful. But it is still scary.
Everyone is fine though, the American cell phone and some shaken nerves were the only casualties.