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Rio de Janeiro – a terrifying robbery and ticking off my bucket list

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

I well and truly fell in love with South America. Words cannot describe the beauty of such a fascinating and adventurous continent. Of all the countries I was going to visit in South America, I was most apprehensive about Brazil, more specifically Rio de Janeiro. I was to be proven right about my initial concerns. Within the first few hours of my time in Rio, I was involved in what can only be described as the scariest moment of my life.

After a short walk on Copacabana beach, myself and two other guys from our tour group decided to walk back to our hostel via the pavement by Copacabana beach. A decision we later lived to regret to say the least! As we walked along, we reached a stretch of the pavement that was under some trees and in the shade. Then suddenly this man got up from the floor and approached us. Myself and Callum walked briskly on, realising that the situation that was evolving was a bad one. I became very fearful of what was about to happen, the only thing in my mind were the stories I’d heard about robberies and attacks in Rio. The man who approached the other guy in our group stood on his feet and took all his belongings from his pocket, his phone and wallet. He was accompanied by another man and a young boy who also held him down and took his belongings. As soon as this happened a police van saw the whole event take place and within seconds policemen were out of the car with what I thought was a gun. At this point I was very very scared as I had images of a shootout or something very serious taking place. However, it happened to be a taser that the policemen had and they then proceeded to run after the robbers, catching one of them.

We then spent some time in a police van, roaming the streets of Rio with the sirens blaring, looking for the other robber. We had little success though and so they took us to the police station to write statements of what had happened. We then arrived at the police station that they specifically have for tourists who get robbed in Rio – crazy! It was there that we spent the next 4-5 hours. The reason we were there for so long was due to the seriousness of the actions of the robber caught, on the day and previous crimes. At the police station we found out that the man caught was on drugs and was carrying a knife with him. Even more worrying so, he had 16 counts of crime against his name including murder in 2013 which made me feel even luckier that none of us had been harmed. To think he was allowed to be on the streets of Rio, living his life, with these crimes under his name, terrifies me so much.

An experience to say the least and a story to tell, it did though make me feel very paranoid for my remaining time in Rio! However, this must not take away what a beautiful place Rio is. On the second day we visited the main sites in Rio, my favourites being Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. I definitely got to tick a lot off my bucket list in Rio, what a vibrant and beautiful city it was – full of bright colours and a buzzing atmosphere

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