Our daily stroll down the beach and back keeps us up to date with what’s going on, new construction, decoration for impending festivals, posters for loud weekend night club shows (night club may be dignifying these places beyond what they deserve). We say hello to friends and neighbors and beach comb our way back to the house along the shore.

Yesterday was different. Just after starting out, we saw two truckloads of police and security people on the front terrace of a restaurant just down the street. It was a tax raid, slapping a big “Closed for non-payment of restaurant tax,” on the door. This usually means that an undercover agent ate at the restaurant and was not given a boleta, a receipt that is recorded and is the basis for tax payments. Two women with clipboards stood talking to people from the restaurant, while a circle of bullet-proof vest wearing armed men encircled them. Scary. We moved along.

Further down, at the public water tap, where there are usually women washing clothes and men washing moto-taxis, four men were butchering a cow. Yes, an entire cow, right on the steps down to the water. Talk about a mess! We moved on.

Just then, the two trucks of police zoomed by us and alighted to surround another beach restaurant. It’s a bit disturbing to see automatic weapons on the street. Not the usual thing at all.

Fast forward to the next day. We set out this morning and found both restaurants open, no stickers or other signs of police presence at either place, despite the twenty or more operatives who visited each one yesterday. Were the raids worth it? At the water tap, all had been cleaned up, there was no sign of butchery and its aftermath, just water running out of the two pipes as usual. I think this is where magical realism comes from. You see things and then you wonder. Could this really have happened?