Later that evening I was headed out to grab some food and drinks and again, another little kid comes up to me and asks for change. A few paces later another kid comes up to me and says, “Mister, sheet, sheet, sheet,” pointing at my feet. So I looked down and, you know it, there it was bird “sheet” on my shoe again—this time on the right foot.
So, like clockwork, another one of the locals comes up to me and asks to clean my shoes. A sixth sense or something came over me and told me to look over my shoulder and I see a kid backpedaling looking guilty as hell and moving at that I-did-something-I-had-no-business-doing pace. When I looked at his hand he appeared to be holding a tube of something. That was the fake bird “sheet” they were squirting on my shoe.
At that moment I realized they get one little kid to come up on one side and distract you by asking for change. That’s the bait for the real purse. While you’re focused on that little dude, another comes up on your blindside and squirts the fake poop on your kicks. Funny part was, when the kids noticed I had figured them out they got scared as hell and started pointing at each other deflecting the blame. It’s not the greatest feeling knowing you have been hoodwinked by a bunch of kids, but considering the circumstances I didn’t feel so bad.
A large percentage of children in Brazil grow up in intense third world poverty without education or any other opportunities we are afforded and often times take for granted. I had to respect their guile and determination.
Hey, it could’ve been worse. That same week one of us was nearly extorted by the crooked ass pigs and one of us had our chain snatched by some guy on a 10-speed bike, but I wouldn’t trade my experience in Brazil for anything. Brasa!! —Phesto