Our rental house is in a complex of 10 new houses inside a small and beautifully manicured complex. Disconcertingly in some respects we have an armed guard at the gatehouse and none of the houses have ever been robbed. Still the idea we need to be protected with a gun is not comforting to those of us with pacifist leanings. Considering the country is renowned for peace and not having a military, we have seen more people carrying guns than Texas!
It’s the same at restaurants. We just ate at a Chinese restaurant at the bottom of the “hill” (namely Barva Volcano) and it was delicious with lots of fresh vegetables in rich sauces but not a fancy or overly expensive place. Our car was parked right in front of the restaurant but even there they had a guard with a huge night stick (some have guns as well) who patrols the small parking lot and then helps people back out into the road. I am not sure if the guards are always necessary (my Pollyana attitude hopes not) or if the presence of a guard notches up the restaurant status as well. We have not experienced car break-ins but our rental SUV doors look as if they have been pried upon previously as one is bent slightly and the other badly scratched around the door lock. From what we hear it is a common thing to happen.
We also discovered from watching other diners that they tip the security guards as leaving. One of the things in travel is having to watch and take notes of local customs — hopefully we are getting the amounts right! No one has glared at us yet.
Even non-compound houses here are well protected with tons of metal bars on windows and around patios, barbed wire, broken glass glued to wall tops, and padlocked everything! Add the dogs on just about every patio and it must be tough to be a burglar. I’ll post some pictures of regular houses but we think this one is particularly interesting. It’s near our favorite grocery store and as you can see is a castle! The pointy roof parts are actually metal so it’s built with normal local materials but just in different form. The kids think it is very cool.