Tuesday, July 21, 2009

São Paulo

It's my third day today in São Paulo. One can't ignore the security concerns. My uncle's wife reminded me yesterday of some security recommendations: not to carry anything expensive, to look around, etc. My uncle was taken as 'hostage' in a 'fast-kidnap' "only once" (in her own words). A 'fast-kidnap' (sequestro-relâmpago in Portuguese) is when robbers get you in your car, and take you for a joy-ride, stopping at ATMs to withdraw money. And they leave you - usually - at the middle of nowhere. And they leave the car also in the middle of nowhere, far away from where they drop you. Variations on the theme include stealing the vehicle or killing you.
All my cousins were robbed.
My uncle's wife was speaking of her neighbour's friend here at the same street we are. She was dating a policeman, who killed her with 6 gun shots. The neighbour was asking for people to help pay the air fare for the children, so that they can go live with their grandmother. The neighbour asked my uncle's wife to ask the church for help. The church apparently receives so many requests like this one that (according to them) they can't help.

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