It's crazy how right when we, as a group, started to get a little more comfortable in Brazil... something like this would happen. Two students got robbed at gun point on the beach just hours ago. Stuart's camera, $150 reis, and my cell phone all got taken, but thank goodness no one was hurt beyond that.
Earlier today, for a class assignment, we had all made maps of Fortaleza and figured out how to get to and from the beach. All of us were feeling more independent and decided to go to after class to the beach. We split up into two groups of five, and our group left first. I gave my phone to Natalie's group so they could meet up with us later. We got to the beach and noticed it was completely abandoned except for a few scattered people. Luckily, we were with Lucy, who had gone to Fortaleza last year. She told us that the less crowded beaches are probably the more dangerous ones because no one wants to hang out there. She remembered the name Sol do Americana beach from last year, and we decided it was the safest place since there were security guards around who watch the restaurants along the coast.
We stayed there for a couple of hours. At one point, Mary Alice, Amber, and I went walking along the shore... just to explore. We didn't walk very far at all, but soon a man came running up to us. We were scared at first... then we figured out it was the security guard telling us to go back to our beach because it was dangerous to be walking around. When we met back up with the group it was starting to get dark so we decided to begin packing up.
I called Natalie to see how far away their group was from our beach. She said she was right on the main road, which wasn't far at all. So, I gave her directions to the Sol do Americana beach. About twenty minutes later, we were ready to leave, and it started to worry me that they hadn't called me back. I tried calling them a couple of times and got no answer. It was when we were walking back to our apartment when my dad called me to say that Natalie's group had gotten robbed.
Apparently they couldn't find our beach... so they just went to the closest one they could find. There were no security guards there, and it was getting dark so the beach was deserted. Three students went to swim in the water while Titus and Natalie stayed at the tables to watch the bags. That is when three men came up to them and held them at gun point. They told Titus to go away and pointed the gun at Natalie while they took her ring and Stuart's bag. Titus yelled at the rest of the group after they forced him away, and they came running. When the gunned-men saw the group of guys running toward them, they pointed the guns at them and ran away with the bag.
We will have a meeting tomorrow during class to talk about what happened. But at this point, all of us are freaked out, especially Natalie. I know we are all going to be a lot more paranoid now doing anything around Brazil. It is so scary to think that Mary Alice, Amber, and I could have easily been in that same situation since we walked through a dangerous area alone. I am so glad that all that came from this was some stolen merchandise, but it is still terrifying to think about what could have happened.