They say bad things happen in threes. If what they say is true, we should be in the clear for a while. We've hit our three; four if you count the wicked sunburn both Porter and I came home with after a boat tour of 4 islands, though these tend to grace the first weeks out on any sunshine-filled trip, so I hardly count it.

I actually had this and Sebal other blog posts all written out in my handy dandy dollar store notebook but I LEFT it at the Internet cafe. So maybe it's like 5.

But really three.

1. Breakdown. Okay really not so bad, all told. But a paid for bus getting its entire back wheel somehow knocked off the axle at 10 pm an hour away from the destination (Paraty) and making way instead in a crammed 15 passenger can with 15 passengers plus 15 passengers' luggage is hardly a joy ride.

2. Bug. Slightly worse is a night back and forth from the toilet and a day of stomach cramps that make the otherwise enjoyable hike to one of those beaches that always makes those World's Best lists (Lopes Mendes on Ilha Grande) make me want to cry so we only make it to the deserted, pristine beach on the way (tough life).

3. Being robbed at gunpoint. Not so great, though less scary than I would have ever thought an experience like this would be. We were on our way to a little waterfall, walking up a mostly lonely hill outside a very safe town and two guys on a scooter came down, slowed down, and told us to give them everything we had and then get down, and not look back. We obliged, of course, even though the kids couldn't have been twenty and seemed nervous with the gun being waved around. I wouldn't think of calling their bluff, but if there's ever a time you wished you knew some action movie moves, it would be then. I also wish it was one of those days I hid my money in my bra and underpants like I sometimes feel compelled to do. Wouldn't that have been a neener neener? Sure, take the water bottle I got for free at the Institute Christmas party, I've got cash hidden all over me and you're not gonna get it! The guys didn't actually check me at all. Porter had the backpack and spoke the Portuguese and they got his not so flashy but very expensive watch, and his Target sunglasses. But not mine. Go figure.

The fall-out of the three is nothing lasting: a tinge of regret that I didn't make it to that one top beach, a big fat hassle of canceling all our cards and living off the cash we had back at the hotel ($400 or so, which isn't bad except for we were first heading to an island with no ATMs or money exchange and then to Rio, known to most for expensive everything), and feeling poor for the next two weeks until our mothers could save us by replacing what was lost.

It's ironic that m last post mentioned that we made it out of São Paulo without incident. Rio was the same. Everyone warned us of the dangers and mess of these mega cities. Not Paraty though. We were told by our hotel owner, the police and the innocent bystander who observed our criminals that these kinds of things just don't happen there.

But they did. To us. And the saddest part is there have been several waterfalls and off the beaten track sites we've had the chance to go visit. But we haven't.

Fear and loss. And fear of loss. It's a powerful force, indeed.

I really can't complain much though on a beach like this.

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