8.25.2005

ALWAYS WEAR YOUR GOOD UNDERWEAR,
IN CASE YOU MEET YOUR MAKER

brazil
brazil
brazil
brazil
brazil

has anyone ever gotten the drop on you? i don´t mean your little brother hiding behind a door to scare you, i mean "the drop." one minute you´re walking down the street, and then next moment there's a gun pressed against your head and someone is demanding all your money. well, i can say it´s happened to me. because it did, last night. there were slight differences. . . mainly that he wasn´t just interested in my money, and he only spoke portuguese. after a lot of yelling and confusion, all while staring at the .45 in my face, it turned out he wanted my camera, and myself. i was then escorted down the middle of the street with a gun at my back, we passed a bar on the street with maybe ten people standing around. they all glanced at us and nonchalantly went back to what they were doing. we reached some stairs that led to a dark rooftop, where seven other guys were waiting. one was holding a machine gun that i remember seeing mounted on top of the american humvees in iraq. they sat me down on a stump in the middle of the roof, forcing me not to look at anyone. all while there was a lot of gun-pointing and yelling in portuguese in my face. eventually they calmed down enough to go through my bag and my pockets, and then force me to remove and give them the film from my camera. after a while i was able to explain (in a mish-mash of spanish and portuguese) that i was a photo student from america. they explained to me that i had wandered into a favela, and cameras were not welcome here (to say the least). at this point they stopped pointing a gun at me for the first time. . . after i had asked, "morro? si o no?" they asked a lot of questions about where i was staying, to which i gave them false information (in case this got any bigger than it already was). lovefoxxx was asleep in the room, and i didn´t want this to somehow come back to her in any way. i think the presence of the walkie-talkies is what made me nervous about this possibility, in case they had someone who could go to the hotel while they were holding me. it´s probably fortunate that the hotel makes you leave your key at the front desk before you can go out. they had frisked me several times, inspected my shoes, my watch, my pockets, and my tattoo. the tattoo may have been a big help i am told. cops, even undercovers, never have tattoos in brazil. so it made the chances of me being a cop doing surveillance a lot slimmer, which i think was the real issue. they were´t fucking with me for fun, they were afraid i was someone that represented a threat to them and their business. when everything finally checked out (tattoo, barely any portuguese, nothing incriminating in my bag or on my person, staying at a hotel just a couple blocks away), they realized i wasn´t a threat and were more annoyed with me than anything else. they made me get up, and after frisking me a few more times and checking the tattoo, they sent me down the stairs. the one guy i had been struggling to explain everything to, with my limited spanish/portuguese, escorted me down flights of stairs and through alleys. all the time saying that:

a) i was crazy
b) i almost got killed
c) don´t go in to favelas

we were joined by another guy from the roof, who i couldn´t understand at all. but the throat-slit and shot-in-the-head gestures helped. they stopped right at the top of the last set of stairs and told me (if i understood correctly) that if i wanted marijuana, to come back. but if i have a camera, don´t come back. and with that they sent me down the stairs alone, watching from the top. just before the bottom, i passed an older man going up. he looked at me, looked at the camera in my hand, and started laughing in disbelief. i think he was saying something along the lines of you have to be crazy to go in there with a camera. i just smiled weakly, nodded and kept going. once i reached the street i was less that 100 feet from a crowded bar full of men and women in suits. and to my left was a parked police car, with it´s lights on.

oh and they gave me everything back. from my credit card and passport, to my digital camera and chewing gum. they even slipped my lens cap in my pocket. the only thing they kept was the roll of film that was in my camera.

you may now call me the luckiest son-of-a-bitch ever. it´s official.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MP3:

White Hassle

• White Hassle - Life Is Still Sweet


buy music, especially independent.

You've been warned. Before you go anywhere, buy some clean underwear.

18 comments:

  1. wooooooooooooow. im speachless.. all i can think of is that your damn lucky, yes. watch out for yourself... this is my favorite blog, and i want to keep reading it. so dont you let yourself get killed or caught with your camara again!

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  2. ####### hell! very glad you are alright mister! what you went through = scary multiplied by eleventy bajillion.

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  3. jesus. thank god you're ok. get back here safe, kid.

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  4. phew.
    glad you are okay.

    be caaaaaaarrrrrrreeeeefffffuuuuuullllllll.
    xo
    s

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  5. Man, shit is REAL, be careful.

    And that dark-haired girl that keeps showing up again and again in your photos is hottt.

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  6. that's because her name is lovefoxxx. she posts here too. they're cute. ANYWAY. sucka. you are the luckiest guy ever. we are so glad you're alive. be careful man. and, not to poke at ya when you just got the shit scared out of you, but you've lost complaining rights for a good several months. thank your lucky stars you made it out alive.

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  7. g.d. rattlesnake8/26/2005 4:52 PM

    you know, it is ok to wet your pants in those situations. i think i wet mine just reading about it.

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  8. I'll follow g.d. witha GOD DAMN.

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  9. its kate and beth. we miss you and hope you're ok. kate really misses you and is scared for you and wants to call you all the time. Kate needs advice fron you, and wants to hear from you soon. Even though you are so different she loves you. She needs you! Kate misses you and talks about calling you. I misss you too. Come back to Cleveland or at least call us. Be safe.

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  10. your like the crocodile hunter

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  11. jesus, tod! feel free to call me some time about this art show, since i assume we'll still be doing it and that you'll be fine (right?)...oh, and ayen, call leah because she was worried about you.

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  12. Did they reimburse you for the film?

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  13. Wild wild world. You make my bro look like a baby -- at least the guns on him were held by Brazilian cops. Get home safe.

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  14. =O
    Rio is a no law land... I'm from São Paulo and is not that different... But Rio's worst... And REALLY smells pee! This is the girl from Cansei de Ser Sexy???

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  15. You are a crazy fucker...awesome photos. Viewing your blog is like watching a reality TV show but with alot more reality. You have a thing for raven haired girls huh? What ever happened to the one you fucked in vice??? She is heavenly. I want to see more of her.

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  16. my heart was racing man.
    i'll have nightmares.

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  17. ahh, you are my hero. Did you see that Vice guide to travel dvd where the guy goes into a baille funk ball in a suit with a video camera, was that shit real?...thats an incredible story bro.

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