mandag den 14. december 2009

Random robbery

Our first night in Rio, down by Copa Cabana beach.

I am standing outside a fast food joint, waiting for Anne who went in to borrow their toilet.

A young man comes up to me and starts speaking in Portuguese. With my limited vocabulary I keep saying that I don't understand, and don't speak Portuguese, and he goes over to speaking English.

"Gimme money, gimme money" he keeps repeating, but as I don't have any handy change, I just keep saying "No", in an "as a matter of fact" kind of way.

After he has kept on repeating his request quite a few times, I happen to look down and see he is holding a knife - a table, or "butter knife" as we call them back home - pointing towards me... More than anything I am surprised by the turn of events (as I had not yet experienced the situation as scary or especially threatening), and could not help but laugh a little at the absurdity --- This was definitively not the horrifying experience of a robbery that so many people had warned us about (involving gangs of people, dark alleys, Rambo-style knifes, big guns etc).

Without knowing exactly what to do, but quite sure that I was not willing to give him my bag, (containing little or no cash, but my camera and private notes) I just kept saying no, until he started laughing as well. As he stowed his table knife back in to his pocket, and walked away, he turned around and smiled, waved at me and blew me a kiss...


30 seconds later Anne came out from the restaurant, and all was well again.

No harm, no foul - and we never experienced any similar situation during our stay in Rio - but on the other hand probably became even more aware of being careful when out alone. For the future, one of our best methods was to find a macho and Brazilian looking guy (which naturally Rio is full of), going in our direction, and just walking behind him, close enough so that it would look as if we were together.

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