Well it has finally happen, I have been Iquitocized. Last night I went with a group of friends to see Illusion, a local band. The only illusion I got was when someone stuck their hand in my pocket and stole my
video camera. It was particularly crowded because it was an outdoor amphitheater and there was a Peruvian downpour. I felt someone bump into me and then my pocket felt lighter, in a matter of seconds my video camera and all the video I had captured that day went home with its new Peruvian owner.
Since I purchased travel insurance before I left the US I should get reimbursed for my video camera but it meant I lost a day’s worth of video and a trip to the police station to file a report. As I stepped in the ramshackle station, Pedro was sitting behind a simple table with a huge poster behind him
listing the chain of authority, from Ollanta the president of Peru down to the local police captain, and a TV blaring.
I made a conscious decision to go to the tourist police instead of the regular police station because surely the tourist police would have someone who could speak English; not a chance. Pedro spoke about as much
English as Jasmine, my puppy dog. The dance began, after a number of questions and my Spanglish responses I realized two things, Pedro and me were going to need an translator and I needed my passport, neither of which were present.
I jumped back into the motorcar and made a quick return with my passport but Pedro was a bit slow. He was sitting enthralled with the TV and Rocky (the movie) dubbed in Spanish. Pedro and I and joined in an international comrade watching the Rocky kick some Apollo butt as we waited for the translator. I felt a new communion with mi amigo nueve, we now had a common language, the Italian Stallion. Just as the movie finished, two translators arrived, another policeman and a local tour guide.
The interrogation began, they wanted to know every detail of the heist, which pocket was the camera in? What color was the camera? What time did the caper occur? How long was it before I realized it was gone? What time did I leave the concert?
Then he started with some strange questions that made me wonder where the questioning was going. Was I married? Where did I work? Was I wearing short or long pants? I was beginning to think there must be a crime ring that focused on married men who wear short pants, El Casado Pantalones de Corto Bandito (the Married Short Pants Robber). Hmmm.
Pedro was scribbling down each answer with intensity in a small worn out notebook. I kept wondering if I was ever going to leave with some sort of form that would work for reporting this crime for insurance
purposes. Once the story was complete along with my wardrobe and marital status Pedro passed the notebook to me and asked for my signature and then opened an ink pad and asked for my finger print.
Call me stupid but I thought they were supposed to finger print the criminal not the victim but I complied and walked out of the police station with my blue finger and feeling like an Iraqi who had just voted but no
documentation for the crime. Pedro told me before I left that I could pick up the police report on Monday at the bank. At the bank??? Yep, you have to pay a tax of three soles (about $1) to the national bank to receive the police report, and then you have to bring the report back to the police station so they can make a copy of their own report. Only in Peru, I love this place….