It finally happened. After a combined total of 2.5 years living in Brazil, I got robbed last week. Yay... Almost all of my Brazilian friends have been robbed in the past, so I guess my number just came up.
It was around 21:00, I was coming back home after inspecting a venue for an event and I was on my guard because the area I was walking through has a bad reputation. I was about to hit the main road near a shopping centre and then I noticed two men walk around the corner towards me. It seems strange that they were walking together but with 2m between them. I kept my eyes on them and felt this powerful wave of emotion as I realised that it was happening. As they got to within 10m of me, they broke into a jog and before I knew it they were both in my face. The one on the right was sporting a shabby beard and he calmly told me that I needed to give him everything before showing a fishing knife tucked in his pants. "Pretend like we're JUST talking OK?"
I rapidly snapped into action emptying out my wallet which contained around $60 in notes. They were looking extremely nervous so I didn't want to upset them in any way. I opened up my jacket to show them that I had nothing else and they thought this may attract attention so he told me to not do that again. I then found another $15 in my front pocket and gave that to them as well. I did this because I've heard of people getting killed for lying... They were kind of agitated and I could feel it was about to end then one remembered to ask me for my phone. By luck or otherwise, I didn't have it on me. So, how do I tell this to them I thought. I told them that I honestly didn't have one on me and thank god that they believed me and kind of moved on. I was then free to go and they both told me not to yell or call the police - or else.
What a way to spend 45 seconds.
With the ordeal over, I had to walk the 2km home because I had no money for the bus. And during this walk, I gave a lot of thought about what had happened. Do I feel sorry for them? How many times have they done it? Why do they do it? How can this happen so close to my home?
I then thought about how this would affect my persona here. Will I start feeling insecure? And based on my forays outside in the last few days, I do feel paranoid. In fact I now know why Brazilians always freak out when I'm running on the side-walk behind them...
But I've decided to be resilient about all of this. I'm proud of the way I acted in the situation. And if it happened again, I'd happily trade USD$30 for my life. I'm not going to stop exploring Brazil!