Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Last Day of Carnaval, and the Day Before

Things have gone to shit.

It's midnight on the last day of Carnaval, and here are the 'highlights':

  • Last night one of our guests got his nose shattered in a random act of violence and is in the hospital
  • Another guest was dropped and got a foot on his neck in an attempted robbery
  • My stepson and his aunt were vomited on by a passing idiot
  • It's Super Tuesday
  • I miss Lucas, and he misses us
We had a guest arrive from Peru yesterday, which was not a good day for me anyways- Evani and I were not happy with one another. Our guest was all gung ho- first trip to Brazil and with big plans for it. He crashed for a couple hours and went out into the craziness by himself; with only two days left to Carnaval he was determined to make the most of it. Word had it that he came back to the house with three women on his arm. He took a shower and pledged to go back out later, which he did, when everybody else was already out so once again he was by himself.

The bulk of the rest of our guests came back to the house at about 1 AM all worked up because a couple of them had just been attacked. Apparently someone asked him for a cigarette, he refused and the next thing he knows he's on the ground- one guy pulled his feet out from under him and another stepped on his neck. A couple others started going through his pockets. Our psychotic looking guest also had his pockets picked, or at least someone tried. Apparently a bunch of Brazilian onlookers ran to their rescue, scaring off the attackers and hustling them away from the scene. Bravo! Nothing was stolen apparently.

As we are in the middle of this conversation, the phone rings and it's a medical post reporting that our Peruvian friend has been attacked as well and an ambulance has been called for him. Evani wouldn't let me join her to walk down to meet him and went with her sister and Mario, her cousin. I got a call shortly thereafter to come meet them. When I got there, by car, he looked bad. His nose was completely swollen and bent and he had blood all over his clothes. He was also crying. I actually had a fairly good idea what he was going through, since I had also been in an accident in a foreign country and had to spend time in the hospital. Of course, that wasn't my first day of the trip and it wasn't a completely random attack. Then again, he didn't have two cops standing over him in the emergency room telling him he had been breaking the law at the time of the accident.

The attack had come out of the blue- he didn't even see the punch coming. And it was one punch, that shattered his nose, deviated his septum, broke part of his cheek, and also ripped up the inside of his mouth so he needed stitches. He's lucky he didn't lose any teeth. The 'punch' was so violent that we are wondering if it was a punch at all, or at least an unassisted one. He's not even sure who attacked him, although he thinks it was a Filho de Gandhi, who are supposed to be a peaceful bunch- go figure.

What's so disturbing to me is how suddenly his life has been altered- beyond the pain and the cost and the ruined travel plans, his nose may never be the same, his face may be scarred forever because of one moment of absolutely needless stupidity. It makes everything seem very fragile. And although this feels like the worst bit of Carnaval violence I have experienced, I have to remind myself that Evani's cousin got stabbed in an equally random incident during Carnaval, being in the wrong place during a fight.

Other events as well, like the guy who's probably been drunk for days that threw up on Ruan and his aunt as he was passing by; the fact that the most bizarre presidential primary in my lifetime is unfolding in the US, and I'm watching it from afar, and Lucas has been gone for days and I really wish he was back.

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