It’s inevitable. Every time I meet someone who has heard of my travels, they ask me to tell the mugging stories. They’re quite the crowd pleaser, actually. I went to Marina’s wedding in September, and everyone knew me as the girl who was mugged in Peru, and begged to hear the story. I figured that it was about time that I shared them on here, for the greater world to enjoy.
The first time happened in Cuba. In 2006, I spent a month in Cuba with a friend. While we were there, we got to know a few locals, and one day they took us to a local beach (I don’t know what Cuba is like now, but back then, there were separate beaches exclusively for tourists, and very few tourists went to the local beaches.) We were sitting at the end of one of those walls that juts out into the sea, enjoying the beautiful view and taking a couple of pictures. Next thing I know, I’m lying on my back with a knife pressed to my neck, and someone is covering my eyes and digging through my pockets.
Needless to say, I stayed perfectly still. One, because I had a knife against my throat, and two because I still had no idea what was going on.
When the man holding me down realized that I had nothing on me, he let go and I sat up just in time to see my friend be thrown off the sea wall into the water 15 feet below (he was fine). There were three men who mugged us that day – two of the men ran off with my camera, and $50, which was all we had on us. As they ran off, they asked the third man if I had anything. When he said no, they told him that he had to find something. He turned back around, and politely asked me for my shoes. In my confusion, I asked him why, and he said that he couldn’t go back empty handed. I distinctly remember saying ‘Oh! Okay!’ and handing them to him. He thanked me, and ran off.
Sure, the story was scary at the time. I had a hard time falling asleep that night. But now, when I tell it, I laugh the whole way through. The idea that I had a conversation with that man about my shoes still makes me smile.
I’ll post again in a few days about the time that I robbed at gunpoint in Peru – it’s a heroic action story that ended in a police stakeout.