Saturday, June 6, 2009

When you walk through the garden watch your back...

When you travel you hear all sorts of horror stories, and usually the worst ones involve violent crimes liked armed robberies. It sucks that it happens, but it happens, and in my mind I always think, "well it could happen anywhere right?"

And so with that attitude I just sort of bumble along going on my merry way, walking where I please and doing what I please. I have probably ended up doing a few stupid things because of that attitude, though I have fortunately never been the victim of such a crime (touch wood). I've always thought that the tourists who act like a total security maniacs (like the ones who travel about with those giant metal mesh cages on their backpacks) are pretty lame and probably shouldn't be traveling in the first place.

Then there are times like last night that make me question if it is just be sheer dumb luck that I haven't been shanked in a dark alley somewhere.

I hop in a cab with a couple of Colombian friends, Natalie, and another American woman living down here. One of our Colombian friends explains to us that even though we aren't going far it is probably to dangerous to walk to where we are going. We drive around for like 20 minutes trying to find one address (the cab driver gets totally lost) and then another 5 minutes to get to where we were going. Net distance traveled: three blocks. THREE BLOCKS!

Had I been on my own there is no way I would have caught a cab to travel three blocks (especially since the neighborhood seemed pretty nice). It's random things like this that make me feel like I need to completely re-think the way I travel and get around from place to place. After all if a Colombian says it's too dangerous to walk, it's probably too dangerous to walk, right?

Or there is this other possibility. No matter what the culture, and no matter what the country, there will always be people equivalent to those overly frightened backpackers with the metal cages on their back, and I should just be thankful that I am not one of them.

1 comment:

Wandering Pugilist said...

I don't think it's purely one or the other. I've taken the buses throughout Guatemala City despite the hoards of locals telling me I would get shot taking public transportation through the capital, but other times I've been in neighborhoods where I really think I would had been attacked if I wasn't there with a local resident. Little did I know that a few days earlier, I almost foolishly wandered in there alone. So I think it's a balance between the two: our innate desire to explore and our pure, genuine, dumb, luck.