Adventures in the Hotel Santa Teresa – Part 03
The next sign that we were on a wrong path was more tragic. On Christmas eve, Kadu was celebrating with his mother and his son when went to the bathroom for an extra-long line. As the powder hit his circulatory system his heart did not resist the artificial over-stimulation, which resulted in a cardiac arrest that killed him on the spot bringing tragedy to his family, spoiling the Hotel’s festivities and making everyone think twice about what they were doing.
Not long after that, the negative wave hit me again, but this time in full. I was about to deliver the precision scale that had been in my room for weeks back to its owner. Because I was late for a class at the university I had to take a taxi. On the way there we came across a police “blitz”, where a policeman stopped us and asked me to get out of the car. I left the scale in its bag inside but he told me to get it out and open the bag. As soon has he saw what was inside he asked for my I.D. card and called his colleagues. After I was surrounder by four or five of them, I showed my documentation as well as my university card.
“Why are you carrying a precision scale?” asked one of them.
“I use it for my studies, officer; I am a student at the Federal University.”
“Let me see that, student card again” He examined it “Hmmm.. what do you need a precision balance for if you are studying economics?”
The policemen stepped away and talked for a while until the first one came back to me. “Where do live?”
The next thing I knew, I was in a police car surrounded by cops with other four police cars following behind us, heading to the Hotel. When we got there it was a sunny and, as this was on a weekday around lunch time, most of the other tenants had gone out. I was in the captain’s vehicle, and when we stepped out I could see that he liked the place, and while he tidied his clothes, his body posture expressed the satisfaction of having caught a good kill.
“Nice place to live at, rich boy! Let’s go into your room and see what you have there.”
The policemen stormed into the hotel unceremoniously; they didn’t say anything at the reception and we went straight up the stairs and into to my room. With nine cops inside the space where I lived, slept and did my things I was very worried about how that day was going to end. Although they only had a scale as evidence, they could invent anything they wanted and it would be my word against theirs. Ever hear of planting evidence?
As one would expect, they began a game of good cop versus bad cop, one of them telling me that the captain was a cool guy who only needed some “collaboration” to let me go, and his nodding back saying that I could get five years.
“You know what they do to young rich boys like you in prison, don’t you?”
The captain and a few other officers sat on my bed while others searched the room. Soon my “friend” a big black cop, who almost got me believing he was nice and that I could trust him, came out of the bathroom with a vase in his hand. He looked very happy and started to rub his butt on to a colleague’s crotch and said.
“OK, have fun with this black hole!”
I was even more confused about his reaction but he showed me the vase I realized that they had found the weed seeding that I was planting outside the bathroom.
He gave me a wide smiled and said, “I promised him that the day we found one of these he could do whatever he wanted with my backside!”
The others laughed. Now that they found had hard evidence and didn’t need to resort to planting some, I was a lame duck. They reconvened and after a few minutes the “good” cop called me to the side and said.
“Look the captain told me that he will let you go if you pay the team five thousand cruzados (about a thousand US dollars).” He looked at me in a patronizing way, lifted his shoulders and continued. “There is nothing I can do; he is the Captain.”
I didn’t have that kind of money on me but I knew that a neighbor, a rich guy from the south of Brazil did. They let me go to his bedroom accompanied by the “nice” cop and when I knocked he opened the door and I was relieved that he was there. With an officer standing next to me and four police cars in the Parking lot, it didn’t take much for him to guess what that was about. After telling him how much I needed and guaranteeing that I’d be able to pay him when I received my salary, he was superb, accepted my word and handed a check without hesitation.
With the bribe in hand, we went back to my room and after the Captain examined the check, the cops left telling me to be careful with drugs as they were bad for my health. It took some time form to hear their cars leaving the hote. I just sat there completely dumbfounded. Relieved for not going to jail but gutted by what had just happened, a knock on the door took me out of my state of shock. It was the manager telling me that Olavo, the owner of the hotel, wanted to talk to me. I knew him well enough to say hi every time I saw him, but we had never stopped to have a conversation. He was in his early sixties and had the air of a playboy, legend said that he had lost, and was continuing to loose, all his money in gambling. He was sitting on a comfortable leather chair behind a classical office table in his office, the only air-conditioned room in the hotel. He invited me to sit down, asked the manager to leave the room and began to talk. He was not angry, but he was firm.
“So your name is Richard, right?”
I reclined in my chair, weighing the shit I was in and replied. “Yes, I live in the room next to the staircase on the third floor.”
“I know, you have been living here for a year and a half already, it’s all here in the papers.” He gave a deep sigh and the pleasantries were over. “Well… As you know, the police were here in the hotel. While most of them were in your room three of them came in here to talk to me about you.”
“Oh… I am sorry about that!”
“No… No need to be sorry, it is what it is, luckily you are still free.” He leaned forward and put his elbows on the table. “The fact is that they threatened to close down the hotel because I was harboring a drugs dealer.”
“Look, I know that you are not a drugs dealer and that they were after your money. You are just a good kid hanging out with the wrong people. The reality is that the officers who were here asked for nine thousand cruzados to keep their mouths shut and keep the hotel’s reputation. Now that is a lot of money.” I was going to say something but he cut me short. “I won’t ask you to pay me back this money, although if I called in a lawyer I could, the only thing I am going to ask you to do is to leave my establishment by the end of today.”
There was no argument against his request.
Rosa and I had to move that same night to Tania’s, who was living in the worst address of Copacabana, the infamous Galeria Alaska, but his is another story.
My saga became famous; from all the crazies who had ever lived there, I had been the only person to be expelled from the Hotel Santa Teresa. An accomplishment that will never be repeated as the hotel was bought later on by a French group and is currently one of the most exclusive and best ones in Rio, where rock stars such as Amy Winehouse and other big shots stay when they go to Rio.
If you don’t believe it visit their site: http://www.santa-teresa-hotel.com/