|Oi - Get off my nuts......|
I´ve travelled a fair bit. Any number of time-killing Facebook surveys will concur. I know what's risky and what's plain daft. Truth is the most significant skirmishes of my life have been back in my green and pleasant land. And both were neither green nor pleasant.
Anyhow, crime in Rio is a worry. And even though there is no doubt in my mind that it feels safer here now than it did when I visited in 1998, I can say, once again from shitty bitter experience that it pays to be careful out there.
A few weeks ago some fella in Lapa offered to throw his remaining booze away if I gave him some money for food. This quickly escalated into 'I have a big knife if you want to do this another way etc etc. The street was really crowded and for once in my boozy life I was totally sober. He kindly told the police in a passing car that I was just a gringo who was making a scene. They promptly disappeared. Nice. I ran off and jumped in a cab - although it did take some argey bargey to wrestle him away from the door. I cancelled my plans to go for a beer and just went home instead.
So. All in all no big deal. Except everyone I tell (especially the cariocas) say I should have handed over my stuff. Hmmm. Next time I will.
And that's precisely the problem. Next time. I'm now an overly cautious big tall gringo who has properly damaged his mojo. I know the chances of getting mugged are slim if you are careful, but now I feel that they´re just not slim enough. I really hope its not too long before I can wander beyone my cosy Copacabana local without feeling like somebody wants to have it away with my meagre pocketful. Yesterday somebody stopped and asked me directions to the metro. As I pointed up the road, I´d already worked out that if it was going to be a toss-up between giving him my wallet and trying to punch his lights out, then the wallet was definitely going to have to go.
Ok - not that it needs saying, but heres a few security ideas you might like to try out:
- Try not to be on your own for too long- if you don´t end up robbed, paranoia might drive you to distraction (or maybe that´s just me)
- If you are on your own, then try not to be plastered.
- Don´t carry loads of cash - but always have at least R$20 as a muggers consellation prize.
- Don´t be a posey bastard, talking loudly in English on a posh ´mug me´mobile phone while reading a half folded map. That would just be ridiculous.
- If in doubt, don´t walk - get a bus.
- If in doubt about about the bus, get a cab - even though they´re getting pricey, a ride accross town won´t leave you destitute.
- If the worst happens and someone want´s your belongings, just hand them over.
- Don´t show the entire bus the contents of your wallet when you bay the bus conductor.
- Keep a copy of your id and card numbers at home.
- If you happen to be of the big tall gringo persuasion, don´t assume your´re ever going to blend into the crowd.
- Don´t wear a collection of jewellery only Mr. T could compete with. Better still, don´t wear any.
- Don´t frolic on the beach after dark. That one´s a classic.
- Don´t hang out in the 40th floor Bar at the Othon Palace watching frolickers get mugged. Thats just mean.
- Put your wallet in your front pocket.
I reckon there may well be more. - Any ideas?