I had been thinking that it was good fortune I hadn’t been robbed in Rio for three months, but that has now changed and in a big way!
I met another Brazilian traveller in the street one afternoon, started talking with him and ended up having lunch and talking about the different things in Rio that were interesting to see. After this we were walking and he bought a packet of chewing gum and offered me one. Having seen him buy the gum I didn´t think much of it at the time. But now I am pretty sure that he swapped it for a pre-prepared gum in his pocket before giving it to me.
After some time I began to feel dizzy. I don´t remember much more after this, only waking up the next day in hospital. Scary!
I had two friends arriving that same day to stay with me. They rang the bell at my apartment and no one answered the door. They returned a few times and still no one was there. There´s a youth hostel two doors down from my apartment so they slept there for the night.
Danny returned to my apartment the next morning and rang the bell. I don’t remember waking or really talking with him, but I remember hearing his voice and somehow opening the door (this took me about 15 minutes). He saw I was not myself and got me to hospital and contacted the tourist police. I was vomiting a lot and was drifting in and out of consciousness.
However I don’t remember a thing about it all. The drug I had been given was powerful and is called a ‘Good Night Cinderella’ here in Rio.
After being released from hospital, slowly my head started to clear and I began to store memories again. Friends from Rio were there to help me and I returned to the apartment to find that most of my things had been stolen. My computer, camera, phone, some money and clothes had been taken.
It was weird to think that someone had been in my apartment for a considerable amount of time and could have done anything that they wanted to do. I don’t remember anything and it scares me even now to think what could have happened.
I know that God and my friends were looking after me. At the hospital I happened to see a workmate of one of my friends in Rio. He phoned her and she and her boyfriend came to help me at the hospital and at my apartment. I don’t know that many people in Rio so for me to just come across someone in the hospital like that is extremely lucky, or at the very least a miracle.
Now I am okay. I am not afraid to go out on the streets and continue my life as I was before. But I keep on seeing people who look a little bit like him every now and then and it gives me a little chill.
I still need some time to process everything that has happened. But I know that I have some great friends here in Rio looking after me. Also the stories of the different people praying for me back in Australia was very touching. Thank you for your prayers. I know they have helped me.
Well I hope I haven’t scared you off travelling for life… because I know that I will continue to travel and live my life to the full as it was intended to be. Never let moments like this discourage you. Take every opportunity to make something out of everything that happens. Only a fool hides behind his fear.
One amusing thing about my ordeal was that I forgot the English language temporarily when I was rousing from my drugged slumber. Danny, my Australian friend who was visiting me, had a little trouble understanding what had happened when I explained everything to him only using Portuguese. (Rafa, you must be proud of me as your Portuguese student forgetting my native tongue and picking up the local language)
After this I spent some time relaxing on the beach and keeping everything pretty low key. Danny and Aija stayed around in Rio longer than they planned just to keep an eye on me and for their presence I am really grateful.