A man with an acne ridden face just wouldn’t get out of my way. I pushed and pushed and I wasn’t sure how long this would go on for…
We had recently visited Leon in Nicaragua and we were making our way down the country as I was in desperate need for a surf. Our plan was to travel down to San Juan Del Sur which is a popular surf spot in the south. Before reaching our beachside destination we had to stop over in Granada and we planned on staying one day to take in the city sites and then move on.
There aren’t too many cities I really enjoy, so I prefer to move on and get out of the hussle and bustle. Of course I do love bigger cities like New York, Bangkok, London and Sydney. But most larger cities in Central America are dirty and polluted and seem to be bursting at the seems with an ever growing population.
After a chicken bus ride from Leon to Granada we were ready for a quick bite to eat and wanted to hit the sack early so we could go sight seeing the following day. Upon our arrival we soon realised that the city was in shutdown. No, there wasn’t a terrorist threat it was a festival in full swing and we were now smack bang in the middle of the craziness!
Granda celebrates Desfile Hipicos in August where the city centre is converted into an assortment of bars and make shift restaurants throughout the laneways and roads. We were excited to have stumbled upon this event and we were keen to get amongst the other travellers and locals. Even though we were extremely tired we always want to make the most of all opportunities we are faced with and we quickly found our accommodation and dumped our bags.
Before leaving our room as always I locked up our personal belongings with our Pacsafe and secured it to a bed post. Usually I would only take money out that I needed for the day and leave my wallet behind, but I forgot to get my wallet ready and I was in too much of a rush to get out and party wth the locals…
We rushed outside with my camera in my hand walked the streets trying to find a place to eat which wasn’t overflowing with people. If there is one thing the Cental American’s do right…it is festivals. All the streets going into the city centre were closed and only open for pedestrians and the sidewalks were lined with bars and music blaring from all angles as we walked down the main street. Our only mission as this point was to find food as we were staving from our bus ride.
The main street was mayhem and this festival celebrates all the best horses of the city and they are paraded down the street one after the other. It was a little different to any organised parades we were used to, with the horses trotting down the small streets with thousands of people on either side. You had to be really careful not to be trampled by a 7 foot horse while holding a beer and taking photos!
This was Central American craziness at its best!
We came to a junction where there was a temporany bar set up outside a resturant and women were dancing on stage and giving out free alcohol to the many men which they teased with there alluring dances before throwing out free beers and layback shots. The crowd had spilled over onto the street and there was now a road block of people in front of us. We were so hungry by this stage and add to that we were so tired, the crowd was starting to get to us.
We slowly made our way through the sea of people and squeezed our bodies through the sweaty maze of locals and tourists. With my camera above my head to alliveiate it from getting knocked around by the crowd we surged through the crowd until one guy infront of me just wouldn’t move. In a crowd there is a natural flow and people generally move around each other like a ballet dance. This man in his early twenty was right in front of me and wouldn’t budge. He looked me directly in my eye with his acne ridden face and grinned. He seemed like he was drunk and he was starting to piss me off and all I wanted was to get on my way, get a little bit closer to my meal. He was in the way of food and sleep deprived man.
Not a good choice!
We surged against each other over a period of about 20 seconds and then from no where he released his stance from in front of me and then gracefully walked past us both. I thought to myself how unusal he had been acting and then all of a sudden he had allowed us to pass. I didn’t care and I was now away from the people filled road block and we were dodging the horses to get to the nearest food stall on the side of the road.
After selecting a pulled pork roll and a icy cold beer to wash it down with I went to grab for my wallet and realised that it wasn’t in my pocket. Not thinking, I just thught that I must of given it to Elise to put in her bag when we were in our room. She replied with “I don’t have your wallet”. My stomach dropped and I began srambbling in every one of my pockets to see if I’d mistakenly placed it somewhere else.
Then it clicked…The pimpled face man had just pick pocketed me in the crowd!
We dropped our sandwiches and apologised and explained that we had been robbed to the stall owner and we ran up the street to the crowded bar to find the guy. I was fuming with anger not only at the man but at myself for being so stupid. Usually, I would be wearing my cargo pants that have buttons on the pockets but I was wearing my jeans and had my wallet in the right front pocket of them. As we were making our way through the crowd I had my camera above my head in my right hand which had left my wallet and easy target for a professional pick-pocketer.
We raced back to our accommodation and began ringing our banks to cancel all credit cards and debit cards. Luckily enough we got there in time and man had already tried to access our money but was not successful. The man had only gotten away with the equivent to $20USD, so I didn’t lose too much.
The whole ordeal was much more of a nuisance than anything. We didn’t need to order new cards, as Elise had other copies of all our credit and bank the cards. She kept them in her backpack and we’d never used those cards, only keeping them for cases like this. We were able to continue travelling virtually without a hiccup.
After this occurrence, I was really diligent about only going out with the money I was going to need each time. We also began to spread our money out over our body, if we did need to carry larger sums.
I have also learnt not to be lazy and just go out with your wallet into festivals that are raging with people that are less fortunate than I am! I hope the man needed the money more than I did and I hope he put it to good use and bought himself a meal. I look at it as more of a donation than I was pick pocketed and as always, I look on the positive side of things. As I lose something, someone else will gain and it won’t be long before it will be my time to gain again.
Have you ever had anything stolen from you? Tell us in the comments below…