Friday, November 28, 2008

why this post doesn´t have PICS!

first, don´t worry, I am fine. fine.

I got robbed at gunpoint on the beach yesterday. I´m feeling better today than I did yesterday, but it´s pretty freaky.

note: robbery was on thanksgiving, i wanted to wait to send this until i had talked to my folks in person so as to not scare them via the internet.

Another girl and I decided to walk down the beach to the next town - about 12km - we had all day and figured a good day for a walk. So we took off at about 10am and walked and walked and walked and walked. And swam in the ocean and took cool pictures and generally enjoyed ourselves shell picking and visiting.

Then something caught my eye and when I turned to look a man was coming out of the bushes with some sort of wrap covering his face and my heart dropped, "uh-oh". He was motioning for us to come over but we just kept walking until he pulled up his shirt and pulled a gun out of his waist-band and then we just did what he said. He took our money and our cameras and started to jog away down the beach the direction we were going. Then we were just still in shock and started walking the same way and he turned around and pulled the gun out again and pointed it at us and told us to stay there. Then he ran off into the bushes and we waited for about 10 minutes and then started walking again.

We were about 2/3 - 3/4 of the way to the next town and it seemed better to go ahead and go there than to go back the miles and miles we had already come. Then we were so scared. And felt so stupid for walking along an abandoned beach, even in the middle of the day - the robbery happened at about 1:00 in the afternoon. Traveling 101 man, don´t walk along an abandoned beach in the third world. Finishing that walk was the worst. We were super scared and then your mind reels in a hundred scenarios, you know? I wont write all the scenarios here, better to let them fade away I think. And we talked about all the details we could remember so that we wouldn´t lose them later. How tall he was, what color clothing, what the gun looked like, the color of his eyes. (A little taller than me, dark skin but not black, dark eyes, light orange shirt, knee length army green shorts, tennis shoes, no tattoos that we could see, more modern looking gun - a gun as opposed to a pistol which you see more of here, but I don´t know guns well enough to say.) It´s really hard to remember to notice such things during such a surreal experience. Later we thought to be glad that no one panicked and all went smoothly.

Then we still had to get on the bus back to Canoa where the hostal is and there is this experience, (which still isn´t done) of looking at men that fit the description and wondering "Was it you?" "You?" which feels really awful. When we got back to the hostal and told them, they were pretty freaked out too. They said people walk that stretch of beach all the time and they´ve never heard of that happening in years of living here. Leaving your backpack on the beach while you go swimming at night? Sure, it´s going to get stolen, but guns? during the day? no way. They would have told us that it was absolutely safe for us to walk to the next town on the beach during the height of day. Then I didn´t feel quite so stupid anymore, but still, traveling 101.

I´m very grateful that we weren´t hurt and that all he took was money and cameras.

As a little time goes on, one of the hardest things to have lost is the level of trusting myself to not be dumb and not get dead. Today I´m smarter than I was yesterday and all things considered, the lesson was a cheap one.

note: My faith and trust in myself is coming back so I think it was just hiding for a minute, not gone all together. But for about an hour after, I was headed straight back to Quito and the airport and heading back to Portland. I seem to be over that.

I wasn´t sure whether to post this experience here, but I believe that secrets have power and if I didn´t tell anyone, then it would become/remain a huge EVENT in my mind instead of part of a day that was otherwise wonderful. The hostal had an amazing potluck Thanksgiving dinner and some of us went to the bar after and danced and had a generally great time, though just now I have quite a hangover. And today was a little cooler and beautiful and I am so glad to be at the beach. So so so glad.

So no pictures for a while, I´m glad that the last ones here for now are of the beach and smiling me.

note: so so so much love to each of you on this long weekend, I hope that it is treating each of you beautifully.



  1. Glad you are okay, MJ.

    That really super sucks, and that guy will get his own karma back at him.
    But you are safe and that's what matters the most.

    Love you!

  2. So sorry, seems you may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Very happy you're ok. Your photos will be missed.

    Keep on keeping on, and post when you can.


  3. I am so grateful that you are alright, calm and smart, travel 101 my ass- any situation like that i would want you by my side (even in spirit)
    love you dearly, miss you more than ever- claire

  4. I'm very happy to hear you're okay. That's your only "get out free" token, now, so be careful!

    This also means you will have to take more pictures with your mind!


  5. Wow, way to turn a scarier than shit experience into another Maryjane life lesson! I'm so happy to be hearing this from the 'safe side'...I love you.

  6. Nossa, que medo! Você esta bem mais forte do que eu... mas ainda, acho que você podia aguentar qualqer coisa a vida te deu.

    this post just reminded me how cool and strong my aunties are...

    i love you..
    so glad your safe..
    and extra glad somebody wasnt able to scare you out of this wonderful chance you have created...

  7. I am so glad you and the other girl are okay and had a nice Thanksgiving despite the mayhem. I heart you big time!

  8. That camera was never your friend, Maryjane.