The science of safety

2023-12-24 @Travel

Speaking of safety, my take is not unlikely to elicit involuntary brow displacement, but I associate Brazil with about the highest emotional safety ranking beyond Europe, sometimes even transcending. Take, for instance, a region of Brazil’s very south, neglecting the accompanying blandness. (Let not the supposition cause resentment in no rare southerner.)

Be it the North, South, or the rainforest, I rarely feel manipulated within these borders … Well, if we are to probe, today, upon a navigational inquiry at a busy junction, a biker insolently offered to short the remaining five hundred meters for R7.00, a quadruply, no, sextuply elevated, extravagant figure: strangely after informing me that yes, it’s just over there, following a straight path. Wait … no, it had to be just prior.

No offence taken. On the contrary, I shook my head with an ever joyous, booming surge of self confidence. And I smelled the Pelourinho (historical center) neighborhood a few blocks away, to which one can soundly ascribe the entire seven apocryphal volumes of the Book of Vice.

In Brazil, physical assault, sure, always a remote possibility, but the circumstance appertains to all, not merely the tourist; hardly ever feel singled out to any aim, however singular my appearance across certain regions: take Salvador, where I’m often the only white, vision-corrected face in sight, at least around the center (by virtue of avoiding Pelourinho).

I feel relatively calm even at the run-down, littered, half abandoned plazas of vagrants and prostitutes. If anything, figures approach, solicit and depart (or the other way, should reverse entropy take course). Though don’t discredit Naïvety.

I partake in take-out meals among such distinguishable settings mid-afternoon every so often. Don’t perceive any drawn attention either, however incredulous. Only in Brazil reins such a fortuitous dynamic.

I guess what one would call the ‘sketchiness’ of Brazil, juxtaposed next to all the others, makes for my preferred sketchiness.

The profile of a tourist fortunately lends to anything but clarity around these parts, being one of those few nations of too varied a genetic makeup: many a European face indistinguishable from many a local face; at least before the face twitches or initiates the communicative exercise. And even the very dynamic between tourist and local makes for the far calmer over the neighboring territories.

Let’s consider the antipode a country like Morocco, where I feel unreasonably apprehensive and alert too often for comfort: but here, only Pelourinho manages to similarly encroach.

No one appreciates being cheated with a wide, gleeful smile. Alas, in the regions just mentioned, the coefficient elevates out of proportion.

Safety is subject to individual perception, granted. Up to now, I place the said emotional safety above all.

The physical sort one can typically mitigate via prescribed precautionary measures: to a certain extent, yes, yes, I recognize. Clearly I’ve not trotted lands of acute risk akin to explosions, shrapnel and sequestrations.

Here I am, preaching, haughtily, the scientific method, all the while having deemed Morocco the acutest travel of recent experience.

Notwithstanding, the emotional, the less tangible sort, lends poorly to management. The emotional safety perpetrator surges like the devil out of the belfry.

Seven or more years around the Brazilian merchant, and I can venture to presume honesty until proven otherwise. In Morocco - which the analysis here made the guinea pig (but profound regard in general) - as I was saying, in Morocco, I can hardly make the same claim.

Evidently I can neither extend any assurance in and closely around the Pelourinho neighborhood. However unprecedented … But hey, my claim appeals more to the inner compass and the mystical pseudo-sciences, less to an abundance of empirical evidence. Human beings …

Questions, comments? Connect.