The Cuban Scooter Heist
The Cuban Scooter Heist
Bean and I are a lot. That is becoming clear…
Bean says that we are the guys in the books that everyone else is reading about here on their vacation. That is probably a very accurate assessment.
The day really began when we were trying to track down a car to rent at Starfish, our resort. We walked into a tiny air conditioned shack in the resort parking lot where a man was leaning back in his chair and sitting with his hands on his head. I asked him if he had a car we could rent. “No.” I asked him why not. He said, “No car. Car in maybe… five day.” I asked him if he had a map. “No.” He just seemed to want to get rid of us. So, we tried the next resort over called Memories, who did not have car either. So, Bean and I ended up renting scooters. We went back to the first rental man. There were three Cuban scooters parked in front of his shack but he said he only had one scooter for rent. I rented it for $30 for 24 hours and then doubled Bean to Memories to rent another.
We put about 150 kms on those motorcycles. They told us not to drive off the island, but we headed inland anyhow. We are on vacation! It takes a long time to drive 53 kms at 35km/h, wide opened throttle the whole way, on a scooter. We drove across a 48 km causeway where the only thing on the ocean was our road for long stretches. It was gorgeous. Heading towards a small town called Cambiato, we had a great time on the way. We pulled into a gas station for water to drink, but they only had beer for sale so that is what we drank instead. We are easily adaptable. I tried to pick up every person we saw on the side of the road but no one wanted to get on my bike with me. In the town, we just cruised the streets walked around the town square, bought gas and left to head back to the hotel again before it got too dark. Our initial quest had been to find blue food coloring to put in the water around us at the swim-up bar of our resort where we would sit for hours to make it look like we were peeing in the water, but food coloring is a hard find in small Cuban stores in a local town. By the time we got back to our place it was pitch black and we had a tough time finding our home. We got a little lost, then Bean took off ahead of me thinking he had the way. I eventually got home and he arrived about 45 minutes later.
Showers. Dinner. Red wine… An alcohol runaway. Bean was into the tequila shots. I was not. I know what that does to me. Once drunk, we decided that we needed Cuban cigars to make ourselves cooler. We knew cigars were for sale at the other resort, a 15 minute walk away. We decided to take the scooters. Bean was smart and had his key in his pocket. I had left mine in the room. We got on Bean’s Cuban scooter and drove it into our resort on the walking paths to get my key. I was on the back and the weight differential threw Bean off and we ended up smashing into a porcelain garbage can that was completely destroyed. A guy working for the hotel on a golf cart went to stop us, but we just rambled words to him and told him we were going to get our key and rode away. He made no other effort to try and stop us.
As we headed for our hotel, Bean decided that we should just drive our scooter into the hotel through the front door so we headed through the corridor and parked right in front of our room. I went in to get my scooter key. We took off again through the rest of the corridor and out the back of the hotel. Then we needed to get to my scooter in the parking lot. As we drove around the swimming pool on the pathways of the resort most people did not like us. We were disturbing the peace and had bright lights in the dark that no one else was accustomed to. We were having a blast and we were vaguely lost on the resort. We had to make our own path across the grass to get into the parking lot. Security seen us and they were yelling at us. We made a clean getaway and got to my bike, I jumped on, fired it up and we drove to the other resort as quickly as we could, parking just off to the side of their lobby. Cigars at the bar. And tequila for Bean. And beer for me. And red wine for Bean. And more beer for me.
Once established, we entertained the heck out of two guys who told us we were to coolest people they had met on their trip so far. The thick Cuban cigars were working! We just told them stories. It was fun. Both of them said it has been tough as this was their last night here as they have been surrounded by people from Ontario who they said bore the hell out of them. They wanted to go to the disco so we decided to join our new friends. The only thing was that Bean and I were going to drive there on our scooters. Just before we went to leave, Bean and I sat down to visit with two girls at a table next to the bar. He was beside the one cute one with poodle hair who he affectionately named ‘Pubes’ and I was sitting beside the voluptuous blonde. Bean was making them laugh and the blonde let me cup her enormous boobs. When I had them both in my hands I said, “Bean, look what I get to do.” He cursed himself for being a gentleman. We talked the girls into coming to the disco with us on the back of our rides. The blonde got on mine and Pubes got on behind Bean. The blonde told me, “I am glad I get to ride with you and not with him.” Bean was a wreck.
My blonde squeezed me tight from behind me as we rode off. I asked her for ‘tighter,’ so she squished her boobs into my back and squeezed her thighs and hips around mine as we cruised along. It was nice and I would have liked to have driven like that for an hour. She was all boobs and hips on my body. That kind of thing is awesome. I slowed down for Bean to catch up and asked him if he was getting the same royal treatment. His girl was more reserved. We parked in front of the disco and entered.
My reluctance to dance killed my momentum that had been building before we entered the building. As a result, the blonde bored of me quickly when I thought the music was lame and she thought it was just right. I need to stop hating pop-culture music to fix that dancing problem in me. A short Cuban started dancing with her and she was so much taller than him was that he went to get a chair which he stood on while he danced with her. It was a very stealthy move. The only consolation prize of the disco was that I managed to get a large amount of blue dyed liquor from the bar. That will come in handy in the next couple of days.
When we went to leave the disco, we got on the bikes to head back to our resort. Bean and I were smashed. We rode around to the gated security on the road, onto the throughway to our resort and then right into our resort again and onto the walking paths. There were people around who cleared out of the way when scooters came down the paths at 2:30am. The resort is a big area of several acres and there are a lot of hotel building sections. We deftly got around security and finally found our building and our room. As we drove towards building ‘06’ there was a small group of people standing in front. By the time I got to them, Bean was already driving his bike through our building. Someone in the group pointed the way for me and said, “Next,” as I opened the throttle up to drive up the step and down the corridor behind Bean. Once we got to our front door with our noisy scooters, I jumped off and opened the hotel room door with my key and he drove in. I looked behind me and the small group was staring at us, smiling. I drove my bike into the room behind Bean and we shut the door behind ourselves. We decided we would garage the Cuban scooters there for the night. We both really like the smell of two-stroke-engine oil.
As we went to leave our room a few minutes later, the small group was still standing at the front of our hotel. They told us that security was on the hunt for us and to not make any mention of the scooters. We high-fived them for not ratting us out. We headed to the 24-hour bar.
No one was still in party mode on the resort, so Bean and I had a drink by ourselves and went to find mischief in the lobby. We entertained a couple of workers there. A security man came up to us and asked, “Scooters?” to us implying that we might be the culprits the resort was searching for. We retorted, “Scooters? What do you mean?” He asked the word again. Of course not. Who has scooters? Can we rent scooters here? He left us alone to keep tormenting the girls behind the desk.
We found another little pub. We had more beer. It was about 3:30am by then and Bean thought that we should get the scooters out of our room while it was still dark. The smell was already in the room, so we might as well get the bikes out before our cleaning lady opened our door in the morning. I wanted to leave the bikes until the next day once everything died down and the search party was called off. Bean was sure it was the time to move them right then so I consented.
Bean and I pushed the scooters out through the patio doors in the dark. We knocked down a scooter-width pass through the bushes to get them out and onto the walking path that we were quietly pushing them along. We were trying to stick to the outside edge of the resort, hoping less security would be lingering. As we went to veer off down a path that would probably get us out of the resort, we heard yelling, and three security guards came running after us. I said, “We’ve got trouble Bean! Get your bike started!” I turned my key on, had the throttle wide open, and I hit the starter. I felt someone grab the handle on the back of my bike as the engine fired up. My throttle was already opened so my scooter just took off. I did not look back until I got to the outside of the resort where I shut off my bike in the rental agency parking lot. Once I felt safe I began trying to listen to what might be going on. I could not hear Bean nor his bike. No Bean. F!
I did not know what to do, and I did not know if I should sneak back to the hotel to wait a bit and then go and try to find him, or if I should go and hunt the situation down immediately. I heard him in the distance, asking, “Yeah, but why are you so mad?” I could hear him laughing. I hid out in the trees to assess the situation. I figured I had better just go and get him out of trouble now instead of later. It would only be worse in an hour. I walked down the path in the direction that I could hear him. There were three security guards around him and they all had their hands on the bike that they were pushing in the direction that I was walking from. Security seen me and made a lot of noise. There were pointing at me and asking me where my bike was. I played innocent. I could see grass stains on the knees of their pants from wiping out when they were chasing after us. They were pointing at Bean and I both, saying, “Friend! Friend!” Bean was looking at me and telling them, “I have never seen this guy in my life.” Security was saying, “Police…,” and mimicking handcuffed hands. I asked Bean if I should just disappear to the room for a bit. He told me to just go. But, I knew he was going to need some help, and I was not sure if security was going to let me just walk away. I just hoped that I had not made a mistake by coming on the scene because if they took us to jail, neither of us would be free to bail the other out.
Bean told me that could not get away because in the heat of the action because his throttle cable broke. A mechanical failure was taking us down. He was scraped up because he tried to make a run for it but fell down in the grass after a couple of steps and then played dead hoping security would not find him. They found him. Security were searching through the bushes for my bike and they were asking me where it was. I pretended I had no idea what they were talking about. They told me they had seen me on the bike. I told them I did not know what that meant. They were busy trying to be angry. We knew that we were the most exciting thing to happen to them in months.
Bean’s shirt got ripped by angry security when he tried to escape by jumping into an old building. Then they pushed his scooter to the front of the lobby and found mine in the rental parking lot. They were putting their hands on the exhaust saying, “Warm…” to me. I thought that was a pretty smart move but could not tell them so. I tried the explain to them that the bike had not moved and it was just warm from the heat of the evening. Right. They pushed my scooter to the front of the lobby as well and parked it beside Bean’s. As we walked inside and towards the front desk, all of hell had broken loose. There were a lot of people yelling at each other in Spanish.
We were standing in front of the desk woman who we had made laugh earlier. Everyone knew who we were, but we had our wristbands on upside down so that their true color was hidden which allowed us to drink for free at either resort. So, they all assumed that our resort was Memories and not Starfish where we were. I asked the front desk girl, “What is going to happen to us?” I wanted to know how much trouble we were actually in. I hoped we were not going to jail. She was asking me what the security guards had been asking me, where the key to my scooter was. I asked her again what was going to happen. She told me they wanted to take away our keys. They already had Bean’s key. She said we could get them back in the morning. That was their plan and that was what this was all about… We were going to have our keys taken away? For all of the hullabaloo and the tackling and the chasing and the threatening and security anger; they were going to take away our keys! Wow. We were fine. When she asked, I told her what room we were in and she confirmed that 0618 was housing Bean and I. She was speaking in Spanish to the security guards about us. I gave her my key. She told me to come and pick it up in the morning. I knew the word ‘bueno’ meant ‘good,’ so I asked her, “How do you say the word ‘game’ in Spanish?” She said, “Juego.” I looked at the security guards and said, “Bueno juego!” It caught their attention. I said it to them again with a smirk. I peeked back at the front desk girl and she was hiding her face because she was laughing so hard. She sent us away to move our scooters from the front of the lobby where security had brought them. Security followed us. I told Bean, “This is the part where they kick the shit out of us.”
We pushed our bikes back into the rental parking lot. Security was standing in a circle around us, looking at us. They were pointing at their grass stained knees. Bean said, “Okay, you can each punch me once!” He took off his hat and handed it to me. Security was saying, “Money…” We ignored them and said, “Yes, okay, one punch.” No one wanted to punch him. They were saying, “No, no, no…” scoffing at the idea with their shaking heads. They pointed at their grass stains and said, “Money, money, money…” Bean put his hat back on and gave one of the guys a Canadian $20. They were satisfied and went to talk away. He gave another security guard a $20. Bean hugged them. He asked them if we could be friends now. The lady had written us up on a piece of paper and one of the security guards had it his hands. I asked for it as I wanted it for a keepsake, but he ripped it up in front of me. They told us to go to bed. Bean and I walked to our hotel room. When we got there our keys did not work. The front desk lady had cancelled them somehow in the whole process. Luckily in our smooth dexterity we had left our patio door unlocked when we took the scooters out. We went inside and went to sleep.
A cleaning lady knocked on the door. When I opened it, she handed me Bean’s ripped shirt from last night. I asked her where she found it. She pointed at the floor in front of our room.
Bean and I did not really get moving until 1pm. It was not easy to get started. But, it was time to face the music on Bean’s broken scooter. We thought we were going to have to figure out how to get it to the other resort, but when we went to my rental agency where Bean’s Cuban scooter was parked beside my Cuban scooter, the rental guy for both agencies was standing there. We told him that there was a mechanical failure with the throttle, and that we could not drive the scooter. He started looking at the machine. He was in shock. He was pointing at a lot of scratches, scrapes and dings. He was saying, “Oh, accident. What happen?” We were saying, “No. No accident!” He was pointing at the cracked fender of the bike at a scrape, “Thees,” he was looking at the bent license plate, “And thees,” at the side of the bike, “And thees” pointing at the blue stains, “And these,” and pointing at the scrapes on Bean’s arms and legs, “Thees… Is accident.” We were in denial saying they were separate incidents. He did not believe us. He went over the bike for at least five minutes and questioning what had happened. He said we were going to have to pay for the damages. He was pointing at more scrapes, “And thees,” and Bean were getting nervous because maybe we were going to have to buy the whole bike. Bean said, “Just tell me what my whole bill is.” The man said, “Ten pesos. Plus six pesos for gas.”
For all of that! For all the drama the rental guy wanted about $11 worth of money! We did not haggle. We just paid him. Then I asked him, “Do you have a car we can rent now?” He said, “No! No car for rent!” It was funny. All of that time he took to point out everything and his scaring us and then telling us the cost would be ten pesos… It was very good damage control for us.
I feel like we are untouchable in Cuba. We are rockstars here.
Looking for more crazy?
Try Hanging out with Gorillas in Rwanda