Over the years Peru has gotten a lot safer, and I still feel safer in Lima than I do in a city like Chicago, or even Minneapolis. But, like any bit city in the world, you have to keep your eyes open in Lima, and that fact was underscored for my wife and I the other day.
I’d just signed up for the Media Marathon in Larco Mar and some friends of mine were waiting to meet me. I was a little early, so I suggested to my wife that we go and get a coffee, but she was ready to walk home and have a siesta or something. My friend’s house is near Larco Mar, so I decided to head over there and my wife decided to head home, which was the other direction. So we kissed goodbye and she headed off, pushing little Sofia before her in her stroller.
Well, no sooner had she gotten out of my sight did my wife notice a couple guys who were apparently following her. My wife is no stranger to Lima, and fortunately she is always alert so she noticed this suspicious behavior right away. Just to confirm her suspicions, she crossed the street hoping that the guys would take the hint and go away. She kept on her way a little bit, but the next time she looked back she was discouraged to note that the guys following her had crossed the street as well. In response, she crossed back, as did her pursuers.
This went on for a couple blocks as the two…what should I call them? assailants…continued on simply pacing her as she went on her way. They didn’t advance or try to catch up with her, they just maintained a distance behind her. Who knows, maybe they were waiting for her to go down a less traveled street, or for their accomplice to show up with the car? It’s kind of scary to speculate.
Fortunately it was early in the day and sunny and there were plenty of people out and about. Also, Zulma was travelling highly populated roads. Still, these two followed her for about 10 blocks, always crossing the street when she crossed, and always maintaining their distance (like the impudent cowards that they are).
Eventually Zulma went into a Vivanda and found a policeman whom she told about the situation. The policeman went outside and at the sight of him, the two pursuers sprinted off in opposite directions.
Weird and scary stuff.
Now, keep in mind, we weren’t in a dangerous place. Larco Mar and the Malecon are about the nicest, safest spots in Lima for an afternoon walk (especially on a Saturday). Who knows what these guys had in mind? Perhaps they wanted to abduct our child for a ransom or something? You’ve got to remember that there is a certain population in Peru for whom say…$1000…is worth killing over.
My wife did the right thing by staying on well traveled streets and finding a police officer as soon as possible, but I kind of wish she would have called me the moment she noticed the problem.
Really, in a situation like this, you don’t want to scare yourself by daydreaming about what the worst possible thing that could have happened was. I mean, if you think like that every day, you’ll never get on an airplane, or drive a car, or leave the house for that matter.
But wow…if she had called me I would have come running and it would have gotten ugly.
People should know better than to mess with the parents of a child. I mean, I’ve been in situations before when I’ve gotten my adrenaline up and an unbelievably strength comes to you. But I can’t imagine what might happen if I saw some people trying to take or hurt my little girl. I have no doubt whatsoever that I’d be able to kill people like that…but that’s just for starters. What scares me is what I might do after that (because I don’t have any idea what that might be).
When you have a child, there’s no saving yourself for the return trip. Your child is everything. So if you happen to be a thief or something reading this, do yourself a favor and only go after tourists or the elderly or whatever. Save yourself the miserable, painful, torturous death that comes from messing with dedicated parents.