Once in Venezuela, I made a scene while buying alcohol.
It was a Friday afternoon; the last chance for Venezuelans to stock up before elections.
With a long weekend of alcohol off the shelves (not the most popular law, apparently) bearing down, everyone seemed keen to ensure they didn’t go without.
Whilst I browsed, three workers just kept staring at me. It was awkward. Eventually, I decided to try and ask for advice, thinking that maybe if I spoke to them, it would be slightly less awkward.
I tried to explain what I wanted with my rudimentary (at best), sloppy Spanish. They listened to my disjointed ramble. Then after staring at me for a few moments, one reached for a two-way radio. She called for backup.
I could vaguely understand what she was saying.
“Foreigner wants something….help…what do we do?”
I immediately went into damage control, trying desperately to reassure them.
“Please no, don’t call backup! We can get through this. Shit, you don’t understand a word I’m saying….now I’m rambling in English…I should stop talking, right?”
That awkward stare again.
I grabbed what I came for, and started backing away with a cheesy grin plastered on my face. They leered accusingly at all my bottles. “It’s not all for me! Er….presentos for my amigos…..screw it,” I muttered.
Later, at the checkout, a man in front of me checked out my load. Eyeing the bottled, he gave me an approving nod, then showed me his bag. It was stuffed full of booze.