Sunday, April 7, 2013

E is for Evitar an Estafa

Anyone know what that means? Evitar means to evade something- in this case to prevent something bad from happening. Since I'm connecting everything in this blog to my travels in South America, I'll elaborate by eliciting another story for everybody. Estafa means rip-off.

My boyfriend's mother was hit by a car and on the road to recovery (which, in itself, is an A-Z worthy, very long story) and we were told that what she needed was a wheelchair. Do you know how expensive one of those things is down there? More than either of us had made in the last six months, anyway. We were advised to go and check out the black market (did you know that this can also be a physical place?) for one. It wasn't our first time visiting this market, where you can buy everything from stolen cell phones to counterfeit knickers.

We were snouting around looking for a wheelchair, and people showed us what they had to offer. They were still too expensive for us. We continued walking down the jam packed streets until the SKETCHIEST looking man I have EVER seen beckoned us. "Hey, you, come here," he called from the shadows. We approached the man (you're probably thinking- what idiots- but don't worry, this is not turning into a hollywood horror flick).

"I heard you people are looking for a wheelchair" he said.

"Yeah, we are..."

"Electic or standard?"


"Okay, I have one for you. What hosptial's the person at?"

This seemed like an odd question. Anyway, my boyfriend answered, "Limatambo"

At this point, the man brightened. "oh, good, yeah, okay. So, not much chance of them going to the public hospital then."

"Well, it's hard to say, I mean if something goes wrong and someone calls an ambulance, we can't guarantee she won't be taken there"

"Yeah, hmm, well, your call. I can have you a chair by tomorrow."

By this time my boyfriend's suspician was mounting. I was half hiding behind him anyway, being that I'm rather dramatic and was scanning the crowd for people likely to jump us, kidnap me or you know, kill us and steal the money they may have thought we had. "O.k., well, how much?"

"It's gonna cost you 200, but you're gonna have to give me half now"

"We'll think about it and get back to you tomorrow"

"Well, hurry up. I'll be watching for you."

So, that wasn't creepy at all. We melded back into the crowd. I asked my boyfriend why we didn't go for it, being that we were poor and needed the chair. He asked me if I really wanted his mother to be wheeling around in a chair stolen from the national hospital...and that's if the man even kept his word and didn't just run off with the hundred, which was more than likely. We decided not to return to the black market for a while, to give the man time to forget about us. I guess we really avoided the estafa, and I gained another experience! :)

This photo is not of a black market. It's a regular market, but it at least gives you some idea. One doesn't whip out their camara in the middle of a black market unless they want to buy it again later.


Elliot B said...

Sounds like quite the interesting encounter. I'm assuming everything turned out alright in the end though? FYI, might wanna turn off your CAPTCHA to get more comments :)
We Are Adventure

Border-breaking bound said...

Thanks for the tip! I wasn't aware I had it on but I have now figured it out, I think!
All was well in the end :)