I was finally robbed on my travels in Central America. I had my hat stolen in Granada, Nicaragua.
My German friend Rena and I arrived in Granada, a city with 125,000 people. We were going to the Momento Hostel. It was 11 a.m. on a Thursday. We walked west on the south side of Libertad Street. When we arrived at the intersection of Atravesada and Libertad Streets, we needed to cross the street and go north.
Crossing the street in poverty-stricken countries is like playing Frogger with your life. I pay extra attention to the cars to not get hit.
There are no street lights at this intersection. We had to wait about 10 seconds before we could cross. When we were crossing, a Nicaraguan guy, riding a bicycle westbound, grabbed the Toronto Blue Jays cap I was sporting and took off.
I yelled, “hey” in a loud, angry tone. Not like he was going to stop. Rena didn’t know why I yelled until she noticed my hat was missing. There was no way for me to chase him. I had my backpack and duffel bag. Plus my passport, phone and wallet were in my pants. I couldn’t chase him with all that stuff or leave the bags with Rena at the intersection. I was wearing sandals too; the left sandal was ripped (I somehow managed to rip it on my bus trip from El Salvador to Honduras the week before).
I felt like it was highway robbery even though it was a baseball hat that was stolen. But it’s the principle. I know, worse things have happened to travellers. I told the clerk at the hostel about my robbery. He told me baseball caps are expensive for the locals – me too. I heard an expatriate living in Granada had his hat stolen 10 times before he moved to Managua.
While I was walking around Granada later, I saw several locals wearing MLB hats, including some Blue Jays hats but a different design than mine. You can’t just buy New Era MLB hats in Nicaragua. They’re probably stolen. Yeah, I was looking for my hat too.
The suspect was average height. When I mean average height, I mean average height in Central America: 5’6” for an adult male. He probably sold the hat or maybe decided to keep it. If you see a local Nicaraguan wearing a Toronto Blue Jays cap (see photo) in Granada, please feel free to steal it back for me. It’s size 7 3/8.
Safety in Nicaragua
Speaking with other travelers and from my own experience, Nicaragua is still a safe country to travel. I walked around Managua, Granada, and San Juan del Sur at night with no problems. You have to travel smart – and protect your hat among other things.
Out of all the times I could have had my Toronto Blue Jays hat stolen; it had to be when the Jays are in the 2015 MLB playoffs after a 22-year postseason draught. Mierda.