We're both fine, and the bad guys got away with very little. In hindsight, we think we did almost everything right so we're going to tell you the story in the hope that someone else can learn from what we did. We also learned from the experience, so we are trying to take away some good from something that is not so good!
It was still full daylight at 5:00pm when we were coming down the path from the "la bufa" lookout over the city of Zacatecas. It's a wide paved path, but hardly anybody was on it. The path ends at a busy roadway, but then there are stairs that continue further down towards the busier part of the central area.
Keep in mind that the following happened in a time frame of about 15 seconds, if that. It all goes by so quickly, that it's amazing you have any time to think at all.
Just before a corner, two guys came out of nowhere. They each had a heavy large knife with a blade about 6-7" long. I knew what was coming right away, and I had our camera in my hand. I swung it by the cord like a weapon, and that made the one guy waste a few seconds while I was backing away from them at the same time. I turned and ran, but only made it about five steps because the other guy had Ruth cornered.
As I turned back, the other guy had grabbed on to the strap of her backpack, and looked like he was going to use the knife to cut the backpack off her back. She was yelling, "okay, okay, just take it."
Meanwhile the other guy was sort of telling me he wanted the camera, and he was looking at my watch as well. Now, the guy had Ruth's backpack, and they were both coming towards me. But Ruth started screaming "help, police, help police" and then "ayuda, ayuda" making all kinds of noise and they both turned and ran.
As they were running, I snapped a picture.
The bad guys! The second guy has Ruth's backpack.
I took off after them, and I could have caught them. What the hell was I doing? I didn't want to catch them!!
By this time, people who lived in the area were coming outside. One nice family stood and talked to us, and we thought they had called the police. Turns out they didn't have a phone and we ended up going down to one of the more major roads and only had to wait a minute before a Policia Tourista truck came by.
They were pretty efficient and within minutes there were more cops and bikes, and another guy on an ATV. He took a look at the photo and took off to look for the bad guys. The Comandante was driving the truck, and she took our report and all our info. We did the whole thing in Espanol!
Then, we got a ride in the police truck!They offered to take us back to our bus stop so we could get back to where we're staying.
What did the bad guys get? Virtually nothing. A total of about 120 pesos ($9.60) maximum in cash. My old sweater, and Ruth's hand me down sweater she got in England. Ruth's new reading glasses and the case. A Visa credit card. A copy of Ruth's drivers licence. Our "spork"....lol. A bottle of water.
Oh, and our tourist visa's. That's the only real pain in the ass, and we'll have to pay to get them replaced.
It was a bit of a fluke that they didn't get more cash because we had been to an ATM yesterday and I simply hadn't gotten around to handing Ruth a few hundred pesos for her purse. We always separate the money, and carry a little each in different places. We don't wear jewelry when we're out and about, and so other than the camera and my watch there wasn't much attraction.
What did we do wrong?
I had too much cash on me. I had it in two different pockets, as well as in a hidden money belt. The cash was in all the right places, but I had too much of it with me. When we're on an outing, we normally only have enough cash that we think we might use that day. That, and the watch. I don't normally wear a watch, and it would have been removed when we got to the motorhome anyhow.
I think the major thing that we did right in that short period of time was to actually waste their time, even if it was only a few seconds. We think it made a difference, although who knows. Ruth gave them what they wanted, but after that I was prepared to run the opposite way because I was confident that I could outrun them!
So, that was our excitement for the day!