The din of the hundreds of voices surrounding us grew increasingly louder as the crowd around us grew thicker.

“You,” the gray-suited man flatly hissed in perfect English through a cloud of cigarette smoke, glancing at me before warily eyeing my companion from head to toe. “Where are you from?” He was met with silence as I made eye contact with my teammate and pursed my lips together.

“What are you doing in our country, eh? How many are here with you?”  His piercing gaze was again met with silence as my friend and I said nothing.

The gray-suited man took another draw from his cigarette while pressing closer to us, his suited companion remaining expressionless and seemingly impassive to the questioning he was observing.

I glanced again at my friend who remained almost as expressionless, still saying nothing.

The crowd was swarming around us. Time to move.

But wait, there is far more to this story. Let us start from the beginning. A quick tale of Americans abroad.

Upon arrival

I was doing some unofficial leave travel in South America, neighborhood of Peru to be exact.