Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yikes


Today I went to my usual place for lunch. It was pretty full, which is a bit unusual. I never know what to order, so as I was coming up I was looking at this guy's plate. He looked at me suspiciously. It looked like carne asada, but I wasn't sure, so I stared a bit. There was another table of guys laughing and drinking. Probably about 20 years old on average.

I had been waiting for a friend to come to Rocinha (more on that in a post soon) and he was a bit late, so I called to see if I had time to eat first. The guys looked at me suspiciously while I called. I hung up, ordered, and sat down. Then I saw that every last one of them had a gun in their lap. How did I not notice that? Big guns, too.

I had already ordered, but I considered leaving. But after a few tense moments, I noticed that nobody else in the restaurant was alarmed. The restaurant owner and waiter were totally okay with it. Nobody batted an eye as they walked bye, either. So I figured just go with it.

No problems, but one funny instance. The news was on the television, and nobody was paying attention except me. The group of guys with guns were just joking around and enjoying themselves. Then all of a sudden a story about a big drug bust in Sao Paulo came up, and they all stared at the TV and stopped talking. I avoid even eye contact with the guys with guns, but now for the first time I saw an emotion out of them - fear.

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