I'm crabby. First Blogger isn't letting me upload pics again. And I've managed to come down with "that virus" that's going around. Sore throat and chest, constant cough, and being permanently surrounded by a pile of nasty Kleenexes. Blech! The guys in the office here are yelling at me to GO HOME! I may just do that. I'm supposed to be in a breast-cancer snowmobile run fundraiser this weekend. All I can say is I'm not looking forward to the inside of my helmet by the time it's done. :o
But I do have some interesting - even exciting - news to report. I got a phone call ther other day that an opening has come up to be part of an all women's delegation to go to BRAZIL! For two weeks! Now I do feel a little guilty about it, because the woman who dropped out happens to be a good friend of mine. Her mother has just been diagnosed with cancer of the brain, lungs and stomache. Apparently she's refusing treatment at this point and my friend obviously wants to be close to home to be with her Mom.
Of course after I agreed to go in her stead I started doing a little research. I have to admit I'm now a little nervous after reading some travel sites and coming up with the following tidbits: "Although not in every large city, but one of the unfortunate sides of travel in Brazil is the epidemic of violent street crime. Brazil's large cities, especially of the north, northeast and southeast states, are notorious for attacks (against foreigners and locals alike), but do not let that deter you. Taking extra precautions to keep yourself safe while travelling in Brazil will let you enjoy your stay like millions of visitors do every year.
Do not walk around big cities at night -- take taxis. On no account ever try to enter a slum ("favela") without a guide and do not walk down shadowy streets at night. If you cannot depend on a Brazilian friend or relative to be your guide, consult a travel book to learn which areas of the city to avoid and when, as well as other safety tips.
Use your hotel's safe for any valuables, or, better yet, don't bring to Brazil anything you don't really need. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, wearing expensive or expensive-looking jewelry, and carrying any unnecessary electronic gear, loose purses or bags. Try to stash some extra money in a hidden spot on your person -- such as a shoe or money belt -- to make sure you can get back to your hotel. Pay attention to the way the locals dress and buy similar clothes for yourself: looking like a foreigner (e.g. dark socks with bermudas) is not wise as thieves will be after you for your money if they instantly see you are a gringo.
Always carry a small amount of cash that you can hand over quickly in a case of a mugging. However, don't keep it somewhere easily seen such as in a men's shirt pocket, as that will greatly increase your risk. Under no circustances try to run away or resist. Do not carry "deterrence" weapons. Stay calm and comply with their demands, and you're unlikely to be hurt. Muggers will almost certainly outnumber and outsmart you, and "trying to be a hero" will achieve nothing apart from injury or death."
And this: "But if you are unlucky enough to be the victim of an assalto, a hold-up, try to remember that it's your possessions rather than you that's the target. Your money and anything you're carrying will be snatched, your watch will get pulled off your wrist, but within a couple of seconds it will be over. On no account resist: it isn't worth the risk. ".
Or this gem: "If you are robbed or held up, it's not necessarily a good idea to go to the police."