I went with Tom & Carolyn off Sunnyside to the walking street a couple of days ago. It is a regular shopping street that is closed off to most cars, hence the name. We picked up a taxis near the Las Brisas docks. The cabbie was a jolly, overweight guy with one of those stretchy polyester shirts that works well at XXXL size, who quickly agreed to the $5 price. The cab was a little beat up, but the A/C worked (it seems to works in about a 1/3 of the cabs). Carolyn needed to stop at the fabric shop Pico Pico. I was bored, so came along for the ride. After deciding on the fabric Carolyn needed to get some brass grommets. We wandered around the Walking Street looking for some to no joy. Tom & Carolyn knew a store that had them and they wanted to walk there. It seemed like a long way to me – of course anything that has to do with walking in that heat seems like a long way to me – I whine a lot about having to walk.
Last time we were at the Walking Street, we passed an old church on a square and started to wander down the side street next to it to take some pictures.
A couple of tourist police came up and asked us where we were going. They politely informed us that we really, really shouldn’t go down there and that there was lots to see staying on the main drag. Worked for us. Well the direction of the grommet store was off to the right of the Walking Street – the same basic direction as the road next to the church. I was thinking of objecting and bailing out, but I figured deep down inside that my objection had more to do with being too lazy to walk all over hell. The streets didn’t look too bad. So we start off walking that way. After a few blocks on the narrow sidewalk the same taxi that had taken us from the dock drivers by and sees us, he pulls over and has a fit. He tells us in very excited Spanish that he saw us and his heart started pounding: “There's guns, juvenile gangs, cocaine, marijuana and police in these streets. Lots of guns!” He says you can’t go in there as a tourist, then a long pause and he adds ‘maybe as a black one, but definitely not as a white one’. He gave us a $2 cab ride to the grommet store. The cabbie seemed really relieved that we made it safely.