Beng in Brazil: The robbery
My hotel housekeeper shouted a string of Portuguese vulgarities and jumped over the reception counter.
But I heard one word clearly: "Socorro!"
Like my good friend, Hougang United topscorer Geison Moura, taught me, that word means "Help!" in Portuguese.
In broad daylight, at around 8am, a man had just walked into our hotel lobby and attempted to rob from the reception counter, only to meet with resistance from the brave tia (aunty) Ray.
After a brief struggle that left Ray's apron torn, the man dropped his loot and ran off empty-handed.
All of this happened just five metres from where I was having breakfast.
OMG. Thank God the thief was not armed.
Ten minutes later, two policeman arrived with machine guns to record their statements.
Now I know why the receptionist Rafael keeps telling us in Portuguese: "Nao e seguro" - it is not safe to walk out in the morning, and even the cashier at the supermarket would remind me not to show our valuables like handphones, necklaces and watches when in public.
My new friend Rogerio (brother of Erica, who is wife of Singaporean Durai in my previous blog post) had told me an even more scary story about how he was fired at by armed robbers when he was driving his car in a busy Salvador street.
"The trigger was pulled three times," he said.
"Click. click. click.
"But I'm lucky nothing came out. I was in shock.
"So believe me when I tell you Brazil is a violent country.
"But during the World Cup, you will not see the violence because there will be extra police to make sure it is safe so tourists can enjoy themselves."
Studying to be a lawyer, he estimated 30 people to be killed in Salvador every day, and about half of them are by police due to drug-related activities.
I have been here almost a week and all I've experienced is great joy and friendliness.
Now I feel a bit sad because I hate to visit another country and feel scared of the locals.