As many of you already know, on October 28th I returned to Brazil with Paulo in preparation for his sisters wedding. We arrived on the 29th and my parents flew in on the 31st excited for their very first trip to South America. The first days were a blur as we were all preparing for the wedding. The days following the wedding were filled with fun and exciting adventures as well. I plan on writing a post about all the fun time we had later on… however, I decided I would write a bit of a different post first.
Although we had some AMAZING times in Brazil and my parents were astonished by the beauty of the country, the trip didn’t always go as happily as we had hoped/planned.. and this is what I have decided to write this post about. Our unfortunate experience that turned the trip from an absolute dream, into a complete nightmare.
About a week after my parents had arrived in Brazil and we had already had some truly amazing/special moments we decided we would go into Florianopolis for the weekend where Paulo’s family has an apartment by the beach. It’s only about a 30-45 minute drive from where Paulo’s family’s house but we thought it would be nice for my parents to see the beaches as Florianopolis is known for having some of Brazil’s best.
We arrived in the afternoon and visited with Paulo’s sister who has an apartment not too far from where we would be staying. After visiting we walked through the small beach town before heading back to the apartment where we cleaned up a bit and prepared for our weekend by the beach.
At about 8pm we were all pretty hungry and realized we didn’t really have food in the apartment just yet and unfortunately we didn’t have a cellphone to order anything either. So we decided to make the 10 minute walk to the “centre” to grab some pizza. We had a nice dinner and my Dad and Paulo had a couple beers. We were all pretty happy to be where we were and my parents were having such an amazing time in Brazil, they were really falling in love with the country.
I should mention this night, for some reason, I decided to bring a purse with me. I didn’t have much in it… I had 100 reais ( about $50 USD ), a pair of shorts, a stuffed animal Paulo won me… and my iPad. I don’t normally carry a purse with me when I am in Brazil but… this night I did.
After we finished our dinner we were walking home, we were about two blocks away from the apartment when I looked to my left and saw two guys staring at me. All of the sudden they put their hoods up and started screaming “BOLSA! BOLSA!” ( bag! bag!) and that’s when I also noticed the one in the back was pointing a gun at us. I quickly threw them my purse, they ran off, and so did we. We were left in complete shock. It had all happened so fast and I couldn’t believe that it had actually happened at first.
The crazy thing is there was a woman jogging beside us and she didn’t even realize what had happened until the guys ran off as well. She was shaken up and quickly ran off.
With what had just happened starting to sink in, we realized we had no cellphone and headed to a near by restaurant to see if they could help us in calling the police.
At this point I was crying and shaking uncontrollably. It was a nightmare come true. My parents were still in complete shock and I think my dad went into cop mode ( he used to be a police officer ) and was just focused on getting everything sorted and getting us somewhere safe.
The people at the restaurant were beyond nice, the immediately brought us water to try and calm us down and provided us with a cellphone to call the police. While waiting for the police, one of the guys working in the restaurant said he thought he knew who the robbers were and that they had been doing this a lot to the people around the town. Yet they were still on the streets.
Paulo’s brother in law immediately came to the restaurant as soon as he found out what happened and we became focused on trying to get out of the town and back to Paulo’s house ASAP. The police arrived and well.. it’s Brazil. They pretended they cared while one of them smoked a cigarette and the other asked us a couple questions to make it look like they would try to catch the losers who terrorized the few foreigners they had in the town ( it wasn’t tourist season yet)
After speaking with the police we immediately packed up our things in the apartment and left. We were driven to Paulo’s sisters apartment where she decided she would drive us back to their family home that night.
In the car ride home I think it finally hit my parents, my mom started crying uncontrollably and my dad just got REALLY angry.
Once we arrived back in Paulo’s hometown we all felt so much better but unfortunately after that incident our trip just wasn’t the same. Unfortunately that also wasn’t the end of the nightmare. The little punk must have tried to plug my iPad into his computer and it came up as “Alyssa Parlee’s iPad” so he found me on Facebook and tried to sell me my iPad back! I couldn’t believe it. We took the messages to the police once again and once again, they pretended they cared but at least were honest when they said they wouldn’t do anything. They would help us if we wanted to go and get the iPad back but there was no way I was going anywhere near those people!
In the end after the loser kept messaging me non stop I decided to just delete my Facebook account for the time I was in Brazil and later blocked and reported the account I was being messaged from.
I thought I would share this post because as I am sure all of you know, the World Cup is this year and it is being hosted by Brazil. It is a truly exciting time for the country and all Brazilians as their love for soccer is seriously like no other. ( seriously, I thought Canadians loved hockey but Brazil LOVES soccer )
If you have decided to go, or are thinking about going… I beg you to think twice. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brazil, it is a beautiful country and for the most part the people are extremely friendly and very excited to meet people from different parts of the world. However, it is extremely dangerous and even if you are super careful you never know who could be around the corner waiting for the foreigner they saw down the street.
The police even told us it is a good thing I had a bag or they could have seriously hurt us looking for something else.
I realize this is only one bad thing that happened and maybe you are thinking “ah she is over exaggerating, that could have happened anywhere!” You’re right, it could happen anywhere. You could be walking down the street in New York or Alabama and someone could very well come up to you and rob you at gunpoint. The point is, in Brazil this is a daily occurrence and if they see you are a foreigner you are automatically a target.
If my situation is not enough to make you think twice then please take a look at the following articles:
These are just a couple of things that have happened recently in Brazil. I can assure you there are many many more.
Like I said, I love Brazil. Will I go back? Most likely, my boyfriend is Brazilian so that might be a problem if I don’t. Will I feel safe going back? Definitely not.
I do not feel safe in Brazil, most of my friends who are Brazilian don’t feel safe in Brazil and it truly is sad because honestly, it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the bad people seem to be taking over the country and the people who are supposed to be defending and fighting the bad guys are not doing half as much as they should be.
My situation is just an example, the people in that restaurant that night knew who had robbed us. It had happened many times before, the police knew who had robbed us. Yet, those a** holes are still walking around the streets terrorizing and stealing from the people who have worked hard and honestly to make what they have.
This will be the end of my rant because I could go on and on and on about this situation and not because I do not like Brazil or I am anti Brazil… I have said it before and I will say it again… I LOVE BRASIL! I am writing this because it makes me sad…. it makes me sad to see my parents, who were having such a wonderful time, who were falling in love with the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people, end their trip with fear.. and unfortunately when they think of Brasil or tell others about Brasil… one of the first things they tell them about is the horrible experience we had. It overshadows the good.. and it makes me sad.
I don’t want to see anymore people come back from that amazing country with horror stories to tell their friends. Brasil needs to change and until we start seeing that change… I urge people to really think twice about travelling there.