This is part of a true story written by Marina Villatoro who writes the travel blog Travel Experta about everything you need to know about Central America. Every Friday over the next two months I’ll be posting another chapter of this adventure. Catch up with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11 in case you missed them.
Preparation For the Last Supper…
7 pm: Dinnertime
I securely stored my bags at Monkey’s house, checked and rechecked the locks inside out and went to eat. Henrik was too stoned to move and said he’ll practice a new tune and be on watch-duty.
I recall someone once told me that Jesus’ last supper was a fantastic smorgasbord and a meal he never forgot (nor do we to this day). I don’t know the credibility of that story, nor does it make any impact on mine. But in a sense my last supper was scrumptious, too.
Satiated, we strolled languidly along the moonlit path, and headed to bed. Henrik hadn’t moved from his spot and I was too tired from the night before to indulge in terrible music. I retired to my new home.
The wind blew a light breeze. The rustle of large palm leaves clapped a soft song in the night air, lullabying me into a drowsy state. I crossed the tree-fence divider and stood, puzzled, on the front stoop as the padlock of Monkey’s door dangled on its rings — unlocked.
A minute sliver of foreboding eked its way up my spine, making me shiver. Hastily, I disregarded two minor obstacles working against me. Number one: I entered alone. Number two: electricity shuts off at nine p.m. leaving my imagination to run free. It was pitch black. I gripped the door frame to ground myself and peered in. Slowly I adjusted to the moonlit room. Silence. Stillness. Emptiness. I tiptoed inside and jumped ten feet as one the windows slammed against the pane. It too was unlocked. With a jolt of bravery or sheer recklessness I ran over to it and stuck my head out. What was I doing? If an assailant crouched outside he would’ve been in luck. I had no weapons or self-defense skills, and finishing me off would have been an added bonus.
I came to my senses, moved out of the way to let the moon rays enter the room and examined the house of any violation. My search ended within seconds as my eyes froze on the empty chair. It was a surreal moment, followed by pure denial.
You know when you are looking for something, frantically, and you can’t locate it to save your life. But there it was: in front of you exactly where you left it. That was how I felt. I figured, if I retraced my steps, cleared my head I would find my travel-home with all of my belongings, my sacred money belt with ALL my documents, credit cards, and passport. Right?
So…I got on my hands and knees and groped my way around like a blind man looking for the penny he dropped. My clumsy, nervous fingers felt nothing but wood, dust and dead bugs. No backpack. No money belt. No shoes. No clothes. NOTHING. I was so desperate. I paid two bucks to get here by boat and in the depths of my pockets, of the only belongings I had left, was one dollar.
You are wondering was I really that naive (or stupid) to leave EVERYTHING inside the house? Yes! I was.
But the absurdity of my tale is about to begin. The robbery was just the prelude to the following events.
Let me continue.
A traveler’s stolen backpack is equivalent to a house on fire. All your worldly possessions destroyed: memories, journals, photos, money, and documents. Unjustly taken!
What do you do when you are left with nothing?
If I was going to suffer, so should the rest of the world. But the only ones that gave a damn or were inconvenienced by my outcry were Janka and Henrik.
“What’s the matter?” Janka rushed out, worried. “Are you ok? What happened?”
“My stuff…my life…my bag…gone, stolen, no more,” I stuttered in complete disbelief. This wasn’t happening to me. These things only happen to others or in the movies. Why me???
“What are you talking about?” Janka consoled me.
I was way past the point of being consoled.
“My fucking things are gone. They were stolen… what am I going to do…I know… they can’t go too far. I’ll go look for them myself.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Why don’t you report it to the police? They’ll help you.”
“It’s that fucking guy. What’s his name…Chico… right… the fucking ‘town thief’. Remember Monkey told us about him.”
“Yeah. And… what are you going to do knock on his door and say I want my stuff? Even if you do that, which is not a good idea, what are the chances he’s got it in his house and then hand it over to you just like that… Go to the police!”
“I have absolutely no idea where the station is!”
“I’ll go with you. Let’s look for it together.”
“No. I’ll ask someone. You and Henrik… where is he???”
Where Do We Start?
Now we were wasting time looking for the stoner. Turned out my robbery triggered Henrik’s guilt and he was walking Lannie, the miserable goat, and her baby.
“I’m going to ask someone where it is. Just in case you stay here and see if anything turns up,” I concluded.
I dashed across the path to the ‘Unicornia Hotel’ and awoke the owner (people go to sleep much too early around here). Reluctantly she agreed to help.
“We need to get in touch with your parents to cancel your credit cards. I think?” Completely flustered and incapable of handling any stressful situation she stumbled around her tiny bedroom putting on sweat pants and a long-sleeve shirt. “But we might have a slight problem. The village phone stops working after nine p.m. Maybe we should go to the cops. What do you think we should do?” the owner muttered inaudibly.
I moved in a little closer and quietly said, “Please show me the way to the police station. I’ll deal with the cards later.”
In the past two months, throughout Guatemala, I’ve learned that credit cards weren’t widely accepted. On the rare chance a store or hotel took them, they charged an 8% fee. My hunch, the thief wasn’t about to max out my cards. He had other plans.
Timidly, the petite woman informed me that she didn’t want to do anything rash until we locate her husband. What was so ‘rash’ about showing me the way to the police station? There was no use in arguing. She couldn’t function without a man!
And what a man he was…
[photos by: timmycorckery, stevehdc, enanon, (nz)dave]
Marina has been living in Central America for over 7 years and her site Travel Experta is all about traveling in Central America. Marina loves to help people plan the perfect vacation to this amazing part of the world! You can sign up for her RSS feed and join the fun on her Facebook fan page and follow her on Twitter at @MarinaVillatoro.
Cliffhangers! Well, at least something to look forward to next Friday. Your description of what it feels like in the moment you come to the realization you’ve been robbed was very vivid. Do you get your bag back? C’mon, you can tell me!
If I tell you, then there would be no story:)
I was going to add, “don’t rob Marina of the story” but that would be very cheesy 🙂
But cheesy would work perfectly with the contest:)
Oh! What a cliffhanger! This is so surreal story. Can’t wait for the next one. 🙂
Thanks! It will be even weirder:)
I can’t believe you left us hanging, where is the rest of the story? 🙂
Losing everything sucks, but it could be worse. You are still safe and healthy. Things can be replaced.
That’s exactly what I say! At least it wasn’t violent. But wait and see what happens. It gets super crazy weird:)
It is so terrible! This story has made me decide to definitely buy the pacsafe. We leave our bags in places all of the time. At least with this lock, we can lock our stuff to a bed or something. You said it perfectly that to have your pack stolen is like surviving a house burning down. I would be freaking out! I hope that you manage to get your stuff back, but it looks like I am going to have to wait awhile to find out!
If I tell you if I got the stuff back or not, that would ruin everything:)
You know, if I had the lock, they would have ripped the bag.
I just shouldn’t have left it:)
Marina your story has people begging for the next part!
I know! 🙂