Category: South America 2010

September 1, 2010

I almost made it. Until two days before my return flight to England, I had not been mugged since my last update. What a wonderful swan song for South America, I thought; it would be nice to leave on a high. Instead, I broke a new record: two mugging attempts in two days, both in the same city, Buenos Aires. So, what savage attacks did I encounter this time? The one on the final day was a wonderful parallel of the Quito experience, albeit sans the excrement. Whilst passing by the intersection dividing Florida Av with Peru Av (one of…

August 17, 2010

San Pedro Prison is located in central La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. Approximately 80% of the inmates are imprisoned for drug related purposes; the remainder have often committed more serious crimes, including murder. The exterior of the prison is unremarkable. In fact, it looks roughshod and decaying. What makes San Pedro Prison unique, however, is what lurks inside. The outer perimeter is secured by armed guards; inside, the prisoners run riot (sometimes literally). Guards do not step foot inside. The prison is controlled by the prisoners. The result is fascinating. It functions as a microcosm of society – a…

July 23, 2010

In 1970, the captain of England´s football team, Bobby Moore, was arrested in Colombia under the false premise that he had stolen an expensive bracelet from a jeweller. In retrospect, he probably got off lightly. When I was in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, something worse – much, much worse – happened. I was walking around the Old Town; an area renowned for archaic architecture. It was midday. I was near the Plaza Grande which could be called Quito´s equivalent to Trafalgar Square. In other words, it is the centre of the city, bustling with tourists and, supposedly, security. So,…

July 8, 2010

The border crossing from Venezuela into Colombia was seamless. Here are a few observations of the politik sort: This is the first border crossing I have encountered which was entirely optional. You could just walk from one side to the other. Actually, had I taken a taxi or bus, it would have driven straight through the crossing, so I would not have even had the option. The administrative buildings were set aside and whether you have your passport stamped or not is up to your own volition. Thus, A to the J’s advice from the previous post that I ought…

July 6, 2010

It´s a mugger´s game

So, Venezuela was not as dangerous as I was led to expect: I have not been murdered even once. Yet.

However, due to the constant scaremongering peddled by locals, danger appeared to lurk around every corner. And indeed, it was only a matter of time before something serious happened.

Here is the scene: I was walking alongside a busy road – something resembling a dual-carriageway – in Central Caracas. It was 14:00. The sun was glowing and there appeared to be nothing to fear.