About a week and a half ago I was walking up Salvador to the metro when a bus full of la barra de la U (crazy fans of the UChile soccer team) went by. Someone threw a beer can at me. Unpleasant, but I shook it off, crossed the street and kept walking.
Last Wednesday I was heading to a private class not far from El Estadio Nacional, where La U plays. I didn’t realize it was game night and as a bus full of la barra went buy and yelled some not so pleasant things at me. At that moment I thought, “I should find out the schedule so I try to avoid the bus route from my house to the stadium on game days.” I even told F. about my idea and he thought it was a good one.
There’s some sort of saying about “best laid plans…” but I don’t remember it right now.
The fact is, I never looked it up.
Yesterday at 4:30 pm in broad daylight I was walking home from F’s house. We live about 15-20 blocks away, so it’s totally walkable. I considered taking a micro home, just because I was supposed to go to Isabel’s house and was running a little late. But I hate waiting for things, and soon got bored at the bus stop and started walking. About six blocks from my house I see a micro approach jam-backed with la barra. In fact, it was so packed that the back doors weren’t shut. It stopped at the stoplight. I thought, “Crap. They’re going to yell stuff at me.” But I clutched my purse a little tighter, put on my “don’t mess with me face” and kept briskly walking.
Then, some (insert many swear words here) guy from the bus runs up behind me and starts grabbing at my purse. As I look back on the situation, I should have just started running in the direction I was already heading because it would have been more difficult to grab my purse. But hindsight is always 20-20. Anyway, without letting go of my purse, I whipped around and started playing tug-of-war with the weon for my purse. Last night I was lamenting that perhaps I didn’t fight hard enough, but this morning my left arm is killing me, so I guess I put up a good fight. But he got it.
I stood there, dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. About 100 people on the bus stared back without doing anything. I consdiered running to the micro driver and telling him, but I knew he probably wouldn’t do anything, and even if he did, the weon could just escape out the door again (and probably miss the game…hmm…perhaps I should have done that). I thought about yelling ugly swear words at him, but there were a LOT of people (mostly men, mostly part of the barra) on that bus and I feared some sort of retaliation. As I stood there, another guy on the bus mockingly said to me, “Camina no mas, no puedes hacer nada.” (Keep walking, there’s nothing you can do.) And ultimately, that’s what I did.
The material losses weren’t that big of a deal. The one I’m most upset about is my cell phone, not because it’s the latest model or anything (in fact, I can’t type that without laughing) but because of all the contacts, and the fact that work has that number. Now I’ll have to go in and tell 10 different people and departments my new number. Huge hassle! But Isabel’s boyfriend gave me his old phone (thanks guys!!) and so at least I don’t have to buy a new one.
The thing is though, I’m kind of freaked out about walking on the street by myself during the day. And obviously I’m going to have to get over that one pretty quickly or I’ll turn into a hermit.
The only small consolation I got is that La U lost yesterday. What can I say? Karma’s a bitch.
P.S. Here’s La U’s schedule for anyone else who may live near the Estadio Nacional, or near the recorrido of the 508, 106, 103 (buses that I’ve noticed are usually packed with wild fans). Of course if you live near Grecia, I’m sure almost all of those busses are packed on game days.