Just when I go thinking, “I’ve got this, I’m handling the travel thing,” I get a little proverbial smack. A smack designed to wipe that smug look off of my face.
I got pick-pocketed.
The travel gods say no, you’re not that suave. And in true Cuban fashion, the times when I think I get something are the only times I am truly wrong.
It didn’t happen in Boston, France or Cairo, but sooner or later it was bound to happen. The worst part (well, there are a few worst parts) is that I’m the only one to blame. After all those nights of bringing just chapstick and 10 cuc in my pocket to clubs or the Malecon, I went to the most crowded event in Cuba with a decently bulky wallet that had the potential to poke out of my pocket. I was also dumb in that I didn’t tell the guys we came across to buzz off, and I rolled with sitting on some guys’ shoulders at a concert even though I didn’t know them and didn’t really want to.
The real worst part is that behind me, while I was up on shoulders, was a guy who was gesturing, and then laughing. He was nudging his friends and making me uncomfortable. I couldn’t understand him because it was so loud and I was up high. As soon as I got down and was in a standing position, I knew my wallet was gone. I saw him laughing and put something in his pocket. It took just enough time for me to realize I lost it, tell Kristina and accuse the guy in white behind me for the real culprits, the guys who had brought Kristina and I to the front and boosted us up, to vamoose into the crowd. So yes, I accused a totally innocent Cuban. He apologized, turned out his pockets, and explained the gestures.
He was trying to warn me.
And how do he and his friends treat the evil gringa who worked her way in front of them, blocked their view and then accused one of them of theft? They went and told the cops about the guys who really took my wallet, and set them hunting.
I didn’t lose much–some random papers (they created the bulk, really) some moneda nacional (worth <2 CUC in total), my Changó necklace, ~15 CUC, and my Cuban health card. And yes, the health card and the necklace are the two things I’m most bummed about, because I’m like that.
But ya know what? I think Cuba is getting to me. Because this is what I looked like after my wallet was stolen: