I got robbed!!
Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
65Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
on monday morning, i i decided to move hostels - was feeling very claustrophobic in Tranquilo and so I thought i'd check out costa rica backpackers which i'd heard was great - and had a pool and garden and open space which Tranquilo was definitely lacking. so packed up and caught a taxi outside the hostel to go downtown to the the other.
As the taxi pulled up, a very smartly dressed man, mid 30s, collar and tie, glasses - looked like a banker - came out from inside the gate of the hostel ( or at least made it look like he did) and walked towards the taxi. He was superfriendly - "hello, welcome, are you coming to stay? blah blah - let me help you with your bags etc etc" - nothing unusual since this happens at every hotel / hostel - if someone sees you arrive they come out and greet you and offer to help you. i thought, from his clothing and manner, that he was the boss - or the manager - and i even asked him if he worked there - not that his reply meant a damn thing! often, even if people don't work at a hostel they will offer to help a lady - the positive side of the machoism here! so i gave the guy my little backpack - which was very heavy since it contained basically all my books - and he offered to take my computer backpack, which fortunately was properly on me so i declined - and the taxi driver had my suitcase. off he went - in the gate and up the stairs of the hostel and returned minus my little backpack to help me with the suitcase etc. we got to the top of the stairs and the small reception area and he proceeded to say to the receptionist, very authoritatively,
"Look, here's a new lady come to move in, please check her in and make sure she's ok etc etc" - which again made me think he worked there - and then asked me if i needed anything else -
me - "no thanks - thanks very much for your help!"
him - "well have a great time, enjoy your stay - your other backpack is around the corner - in the lounge"
which didn't seem strange at all since the reception area is small and cramped.
So i checked in - and then asked the receptionist where my other backpack was - she didn't have a clue what i was talking about - "um, my other backpack, that the other guy brought in, the guy that works here? the manager i think?"
her - "what guy? its only me on duty now. are you talking about your taxi driver?"
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!! i felt like a cannon ball hit me in the stomach - i knew immediately that my bag was gone - we did a quick check around but it was nowhere to be found and the asshole had had at least 10 minutes to get away - in an area where there were a million places to duck into. my poor taxi driver felt terrible - he was chatting to another taxi driver downstairs - and immediately took me on a search to see if we could spot this guy but no luck. i was FUMING - so angry!! i could not believe that i had been duped so easily - after always being rather smug about my "streetwiseness" since i come from south africa! i think if i had seen the guy i would have gone loony - and attacked with the full force of 10 years of pms!
but no, instead i had to go back to the hostel and deal with the facts - which at 11 am i did with the assistance of a beer and 2 cigarettes and i don't smoke! the backpack contained nothing of value to anyone else - some guidebooks and novels, my spanish notes and textbooks, my personal diary (! some interesting reading if he can understand english) and a few other things which are a pain in the butt to replace but i have insurance so its fine - BUT it did contain my little notebook - with ALL my notes and information collected whilst doing my research over here for the last 5 months. that was the cannonball that had hit me in the stomach when i first realised my bag was gone and it was now just lodged in me - a feeling of complete loss and despair. the information that i had collected is not easy to replace - i can to a point - but some of the people are not contactable - they live in villages with no email, or in cuba where an hour of email is a 1/10th of the average wage. although i still have all my video footage and the music that i have collected - the explanations of what the footage is - what dances, where, meanings, history - were all contained in my little notebook. ironically, i had already booked my ticket back to nicaragua the next day so that i could have a week of consolidation - and transfer all the info onto my computer. so, i was pretty fucking bummed after that.
so, whats a girl to do when she gets robbed? in my case - go shopping! a few pretty little things and some new lipstick can make one feel a little better - and as opposed to getting toasted and forgetting about it - you'll still have your new things the next day! so off i went to downtown, lost myself in the buzz of the avenida central and its hundreds of shops and eventually in the late afternoon made it to the copshop to report the case - all in spanish of course and i did impress my self with my doing that!
costa rica backpackers has a restaurant on the premises with a performance space and that night i was in luck - a band of drummers did a show - great carnival style drumming which got my heart pumping again and started re-inspiring me and urging me to remember that all was not lost - and that yes, i do believe that it all happens for a reason and so i will just have to start again - and re-gather only the most important stuff. i also bumped into 3 ozzie guys that i'd met before in nicaragua - who got me a little drunk on whisky (!) and gave me their guidebook - the first item to be replaced. i don't have their contact details but thanks guys - and the offer of free accommodation in cape town when you eventually make it over still stands!