Help… There’s a Criminal on my Bus! [READ]
A story about that time I caught a 20c bus in Cuba
Cuban buses are pretty hectic. The driver lazily stops wherever the heck they like on a particular stretch of road and frenzied passengers must desperately run to the bus to try to get a seat. This is a messy affair; elbows connect with cheeks, buttocks are brushed against, and in my case backpacks were bowling people out of the way. Realising this complex system too slow meant my Italian friend and I didn’t get a seat and were left to doze on the bus floor atop our backpacks. This may sound like an uncomfortable experience, but when the local busses cost less than $1USD for a 3 hour trip; I’ll put up with worse.
I’d been dozing for a short while when I had the prickly feeling someone was looking at me. I suspiciously peeled open my eyes to see a Cuban policeman in uniform trying to get past me, not at all impressed with my spread. I jumped out of his way as he calmly strolled to the back of the bus looking intently into each person’s face. He was looking for someone. And he found them.
We started to cotton on to what was happening when the policeman directed a young Cuban guy to wait for him just outside of the bus. However, when the Cuban man alighted he saw an opportunity to run, and he took it. I flung my head towards to window when I heard people excitedly saying “escapa!” and saw him throw his bag in a bush and high-tail it across a field towards some trees and shrubbery. Running much the same as we had been when attempting to catch the bus, he tried to jump over a fallen log and fell flat on his face, feet in the air.
But just as quickly as he’d fallen, he then got up and kept running. The police officer started yelling inaudible dialogue into his radio to another officer, pushing past everyone again to pursue his criminal.
The vibes on the bus became that of reserved excitement as we all watched and waited to see if the two policemen would catch their Escapee. Being the only person on the bus who wasn’t fluent in Spanish; I was probably the most confused. After about 10 minutes the criminal, now in handcuffs, emerged with the two officers proudly in tow. The bus-audience gasped and cheered, or looked completely disinterested. I tried to figure out exactly what he’d done and started asking people within proximity. Words such as ‘drug dealer’ and ‘robber’ were being thrown about but nothing solid. Finally, the police officers gave the signal for the bus to continue and off we went, unsure of how we felt having just shared ourselves, our lives, our bus, with a wanted criminal.
Currency: 2 Currencies – Peso (CUP) and Convertible Peso (CUC)
$1 USD = 26.5CUP or 1.00CUC
I was here: January 2015