Day V4B: Victim of Bike Theft - Caucasian - CycleBlaze

July 4, 2024

Day V4B: Victim of Bike Theft

While doing all the scanning, I was on a roll yet facing a dilemma:  keep going and steamroll this momentum to potentially finish the whole job today (estimated total time 3 hours) or just do a small chunk and finish the rest later.  

I should have gone for option B since I am acutely aware that the longer the bike is left unattended outside (even while locked), the greater the risk of someone stealing it.  This could even be in broad daylight while locked.  I was aware of the risk, yet the feeling of emptying out an entire backpack of papers and yearbooks won out and I stayed in the library too long.

There was that sinking feeling in my stomach, even before walking out, that the bike was going to be stolen.  I walked over to find this had happened.

There goes the Black Mistress
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There would be no point in reporting this to the police, because I had done my research earlier to find out that bike theft is rampant in Vancouver and they can do very little.  Why I still decided to ride downtown and park the bike with a less than stellar lock was a mistake to say the least.  Not only that, but shortly after I was also pickpocketed of $20.  It wasn't a huge loss, but seeing these two things happen back to back was a reminder that petty crime is indeed rampant.  It was a culture shock for sure, yet not entirely  unexpected.  Friends had warned me about all this, and it's a familiar story by now:   petty crime has increased dramatically after covid.  This has been a repeated pattern in multiple cities around the world, and I was also reminded of what happened to me in Phnom Penh just 6 months ago.

My best friend from high school had earlier suggested that, "Why don't you move back here to Canda?  It is safe here."   He meant well, but the evidence I was getting did not support his thesis.  Maybe my wife was entirely correct not to pursue immigration after all.  Despite all the security cameras and Orwellian presence in China, even someone like me has to state an undeniable fact:  Shanghai is a lot safer.  Then again, I also remembered Tokyo just a few days ago and how petty crime seldom if ever happens over there.  It is just as safe if not safer.  I am quite sure that many other developed Asian cities are the same.  But North America was proving to be a wakeup call.

While I continued to go about my day without a bike now, the vibes and overall experience of the city was beginning to feel a lot more like LA than anywhere else.  Then it occurred to me that we're not much different from the US West Coast in a lot of ways .  I'll never understand all the trash talk towards our neighbors south of the border as if Canada somehow has the high ground.  That's why I'm lumping this entire section as Canada/US and treating it similarly.

On that note, this all provided a very interesting travel experience where I was now essentially a foreigner in the city where I grew up.  This meant I would more or less try to forget about the past and start dealing with the realities as we have in present and future.  And that means for example the fact that crime has gone through the roof since covid, and people are driven to increasing desperation with the rising cost of living.  We need to adjust ourselves accordingly.

So without a bike I then saw a lawyer for independent legal advice to deal with the estate case.  There was a piece of bad news:  historical precendents state that with no wills or unclear wills, the widowed spouse gets all of the estate.  This is exactly what my friends said who I had talked to earlier.  One told me, "Why even speak to a lawyer?  They'll just say what I said."  Well I heard it from the source now.   I appreciated that the lawyer was honest at least and there wasn't any hope of more business with him.

After that I had to take the bus back to the former Airbnb.  I explained all that had happened to the host.  He was both entirely sympathetic and pissed.  He said, "Ah man, that totally sucks."  I told him, "Yes indeed but I'm not going to let this spoil my trip."  He said, "I hope we didn't jinx it for you" as they had told me many times to lock the bike up carefully.  I did so, but the message was clear:  it could get stolen and I was naive to that.

Then it was an awkward walk to my fitness class carrying a backpack and two pannier bags.  People looked at me like I was crazy, but the joke was on them when I kicked everyone's ass at rowing and won first prize for the studio competition.

After that I took another bus and a long walk to the next Airbnb.  It happened to be close to a casino so it was at least worth trying my luck.  I tripled my money and basically won $200 so can put that towards the cost of replacing the bike.

That will happen later on in San Francisco.  I then thought about changing my flight but it's too expensive so will stick with the original plan.  At least a week more in Vancouver.  Staying too long here was a big mistake.  Next trip I'm only coming for 3 days and then will bounce.  My expat friends back in Shanghai were entirely correct on this.  I should have listened.  For trips "back home" you want to make them as short as possible and then get out.

Well it's a beautiful evening at least
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