Poorly attempted Pick Pocketing

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 0 - Transit, Night out on town
Arrived late in the afternoon and ended up paying a rickshaw to take me up the hill. Ended up going a longish way in order to avoid a steep hill. Guy who gave me the ride seemed friendly enough and along the way we had a few local kids help push the rickshaw up one of the little hills and then jump onto the back as we started to go down another part. Driver was commenting to me how he use to do the same thing when he was a kid.

Decided to get off a little earlier than I needed to in order to stop the rider from having to go all the way up the hill. While the bike riders dont get as much as the taxi drivers, I tend to feel they work harder for their money since they have to use their legs to drive themselves and their passengers up the hill towards the town. Sort of feel bad for making them do all that work, even if I am paying them.

Wander over to the address I had been given and then found that I was actually being taken to another part of town, which was even more central. Found the owner of the place to be friendly and both the casa and room to have a lot of character. After getting my bags settled ended up going out for a bit of  a wander around town. Once again found a couple of 5c soft serve ice cream vendors. Definately one of the things I like about cuba. Who get a craving for some ice cream and you can find someone whose decided to buy a soft serve ice cream machine to sell you a cheap cone.

Had originally planned to visit the tropicana show since it was saturday night. Had wanted to get a ticket before leaving for Baracoa but the tour office wouldnt let me. Had hoped to make it into town in time to buy a ticket but unfortunately the bus had been a bit late and the tour office was closed by the time I managed to settle into the hostel.

After a short break decided to wander the town again. Ended up sitting in the plaza near the casa. This place was full of people, bars and eateries. Unfortunatley also a number of transvestites and after some guy sat down and started talking to me, mentioning at one point that he wasnt gay, I decided to move on.

Unfortunately the other plazas were a lot quiter and didnt really have anywhere decent to sit. Ended up following a crowd of people down a street which seemed to be having a party along it. Lots of outside eateries here as well as stages every few 100ms or so that were playing music

Wandered around for a bit and at one point had to make my way through a large crowd so got into the line of people cutting through them. As happens in crowds you tend to get bumped and squashed a bit. Luckily I was paying attention at the time and at one point I noted that there seemed to be just to many hands bumping into my legs. In reponse my hands went down over my pockets (within a couple of seconds) and I stepped out to the side of the line of people I had been following along through the crowd. Also kept an eye out to see if I could spot the culprits and more importantly to check if there was anyone following along behind. Fortunately no one did.

Luckily most of my stuff was in some velcro and zip pockets and the pockets aren't exactly loose. Have had my pockets picked once before on a previous trip and while I would say that the last time I got picked the guys who did it were good these guys were amatuers. Whereas the last time someone distracted me while someone else went for the pocket, this time it was just a number of hands from people in front, behind or to the side of me. No distraction technique, so Im guessing they rely on most of their victims being drunk.

Kept wandering down the street a bit further and saw a few foriegners travelling with their posse of locals. Things seemed to be winding down and since it was getting late I decided to call it a night and head back to the casa. When heading back through the same crowd I noticed a few people that seemed to be moving through the crowd together but thankfully the crowd had thinned out a bit and I started walking through what was left of it with my hands over my pockets.

Day 1 - Town, Moncada Barracks Museum
Had done all of the stuff I wanted to do the last time I was in town so ended up wandering down to the local cultural revolution museum. In part this was because it took me out of the historical part of town and let me wander through a more typical cuban suburb. Once agin lots of people on the streets and as can be seen in the photos the houses here tend to be a bit less fancy and much more run down.

On the way to the museum also passed by the local bus station though I would really call them buses. Rather it a station where the people moving trucks pull in to take you to your destination. Guessing most of these do fairly short trips (2-3 hrs) and that you would have to change a couple of time sto do a longer journey. More importantly you would need at least enough spanish to be able to ask people where to find the pickup point for the bus/truck that either heads to the destination you want or at least gets you to pickup point for the bus you actually need. Given only limited buses run knowing how long to wait for the next bus would also be useful.

Walked to the Visul bus stop to get my ticket but found out that I could only get a ticket 1-2 hours before departure.

Headed back to the museum which I had passed on the way to the bus terminal. While there were a few interesting pictures to see their, the rest of it was just old army gear and with all the explanations in spanish I couldnt really read any of the stuff that went along with the exhibits.

Headed back into town where I stopped off for an overly expensive meal before wandering around town aimlessly for a couple of hours. Part of this time was spent vegging out in a plaza watching the people go by and once again a couple of sugar dadies wandered by.

Ended up heading down to the bus terminal a couple of hours early to make sure I got a ticket to Havanna on the overnight bus. Given I needed to get back for my flight I had no desire to miss out on getting a seat. Thankfully no problems there.

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