Monday, June 9, 2008

A dangerous place

One of the students on the trip, Jonathan, got mugged on Friday, while I was at Juma with Bill and Vida. He had been going to the internet cafe with his laptop regularly, and apparently two young men there noticed that and decided to waylay him, at gunpoint, soon after he came out onto the street. The people at the internet cafe noticed the commotion, rounded up a car, went after the bandits, pretended to be the police, and got them to drop Jonathan's backpack with his laptop in it. It all ended without bloodshed, and Jonathan got his laptop back; but apparently shots got fired at one point, in the midst of the commotion, and it has got everybody frightened. We have been staying in this neighborhood for a long time now, and keeping a pretty high profile, and Dr. Ouverney thinks we have just called too much attention to ourselves and have become targets. We need to be more careful.
We leave today at 3:15 PM -- quite late! -- to camp at the INPA campsite on the Rio Negro. I'm glad for the late departure time; this morning I need to go to the internet cafe and sign up for my fall classes! I'll be taking physics 52 (thermodynamics and optics), botany 165 (plant communities of California), biology 124 (mammalian physiology) and biology 126 (mammalian physiology lab), I think. My next-to-last semester!