Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sketches of Cuba - Part 5

One notable feature of Cuban life is the rarity of crime or violence on the streets. We walked down the meanest streets at all hours of the day and night and never once felt even slightly intimidated. And these are people who have nothing – a bunch of plump tourists would surely suggest rich pickings to them. You can attribute this to a constant police presence on the streets – but this presence is not too obvious or intrusive – just a couple of policemen every street or so as you walk around. This is a presence we could do with in Dublin.

On my last night I had my mobile phone snatched as I walked down a crowded street. This was my own bloody fault as I was ostentatiously texting someone with my left hand stuck out invitingly – thumbing away like a hero, in a country where mobile phones are like gold. It was snatched and gone before I had time to react. A shadowy figure disappeared into a darkened park and as I turned. I rang O2 and the account was disabled within minutes – not bad at about one in the morning Irish time.

The following day we headed to the Mirimar area for our last lunch. We took a taxi there from our hotel. On sitting down to lunch I suddenly realised I had left my bag with passport, airline ticket, wallet with credit cards, and about €1,000 in cash in the back of the cab. That ruined my appetite as I considered the awful implications of this piece of carelessness. I suffered for about 20 minutes when suddenly the taxi driver walked in holding my bag.