TODAYS TRAVEL TIP
I was reading about the Country of Chile a month ago,
and I could not stop thinking about a statement:
In the event of a coup or other emergency,
carry identification and contact you embassy
or consulate for adviceĻ
Lonely Planet, South America, 1967, 6th Edition, Page 490
Under Police and Military,
In the same Lonely Planet on the history of Bolivia.
it remains one of South Americas
most peaceful, secure, and inviting countries.
On Bolivia: Page 231,
as of 1992, Bolivia ha endured 188 changes or government
in its 167 years as a republic;
I was in Panama City, Panama, on New Years last year. Then
arranged a flight to Quito, Ecuador a few days later. I was
watching the News on the television in the Voyager Hostel,
when I see these angry men screaming in from a window
on the TV.
Where is this? I say.
Non-chalant they say. Ecuador... huh
I leave tomorrow for Quito
Then non-chalantly they said. it will probably be OK.
wooo...CRAZY. I went, and changed my ticket to Lima, Peru.
I was Lucky, to change it., because I do not think in
from Mexico to Argentina there is a word for
refund... it just does not happen.
OK, so only a few generals got killed, or put in prison, etc.
The bottom line,..
THIS IS NOT YOUR COUNTRY !!!
It can be dangerous.
Now, I hope I have scared you, But... It is not that dangerous.
One of the great things about military coups, demonstrations,
mass civil unrest, is that it is not a secret. The newspapers,
people, radio, television are all talking about it.
The 2nd bottom line:
The ones that get in trouble, go looking for it.
How do I explain this simply, and clear.
Most government problems are between 2 groups of people.
1. Political party against Political party. Fighting for control.
2. Rich against Poor,
3. Race against race. Indians against Mestizos.
4. People with guns, against those without guns.
Police against people. Military against government.
Generally it because someone wants more money, land, or in the
worst case food. There is always some issue. Some social
injustice, something some have not, believes they should have.
Yes, I would have probably been alright to go to Ecuador.
Yes. I could have been in Bolivia 2 weeks earlier, if I would have went
during the Strike. I could have gotten a bus.
So what should you do?
Wait, and be patient.
Stay in you hotel, or hostel, read a book, watch TV, and talk about
the problem. But do NOT force the issue. They ones that decides
they HAVE to go, are the ones that get in trouble.
Do NOT go looking for trouble, or you will find it.
You are a foreigner, This is NOT you country. You do NOT have rights.
Most of these problems pass, but not always.
THE ONES THAT GET IN TROUBLE GO LOOKING FOR IT!
I have heard stories, of the traveler bragging about. I watched the
demonstration in Quito, then went back to the hostel.
I sat in a bus for 12 hours, then they let us around the roadblock
Bolivia. These people are NOt out of harms way...!
If you get killed in one of these events. They will not hear about you.
You will just be a missing person. You will not be talking to the
newspapers, you will not be sitting in the Hostel drinking a beer.
You will not get to blame it on the USA.
The whole world will hear this...
The traveler that dies, Is never heard of again.
The parents go into a panic, they call the Embassy,
They call your friends. etc. But they just keep hoping,
then one day give up. There is a loud noise of:
In the last 2 years, I have received 5, or 6 e-mails. Asking
me to help them find their friend, son or daughter. They
would get on my page, and know that I was in the area.
They would write, and plead for help. I would write back,
and give them an e-mail of someone I know in the area.
I do not think it will do them any good. They will keep
hearing the overwhelming noise of..
SIGNS OF STABILITY:
Lots of foreign investment.
Police do not ask for bribes.
Taxes paid to the govenerment.
Electricity works good.
They buy houses on credit in the country.
You read lots of bad things about the government in their paper.
the ones with no freedom of press. Always sounds great.
People are trying to imigrate to the country.
Its difficult to enter, because nobody leaves.
SIGNS OF PROBLEMS:
No foreign investment.
Stealing electricity, Check it out. It is interesting the number
of people that steal electricity. Those meters enclosed concrete..?
If an election is coming up.. read the newspapers,
If the buses are not running, If transportation is not easy.
Large groups of drunks, and /or public drunkenness allowed.
Men with machine guns, and bulletproof vest.
Bribes are normal.
The locals do not talk about politics, Because they are too scared.
Bodyguards, Bars on all windows. That guard on the outside
of you hotel is not to protect you. It is to keep the owner from
No one walks on street after dark.
There are people that are refugees, with a passport from that country.
Listening to other travelers tell you it is safe,
can get you killed. The locals want you to spend money,
Do you really think they want to tell you. My country is
dangerous, and you should leave. Please take them
dollars, and go home. It is embarrassing for them.
They will minimize the problem.
Do not be part of the MOB, In the event of a coup.
Stay home, relax, go into hiding, and like the lonely planet
carry identification and contact you embassy
or consulate for advice.
Protect that passport. Hide it. It is the only thing
that can prove where you are from. It is very common
for the police to ask you for you passport, then not
give it back until you pay them a bribe!!
A girl got robbed in La Paz, Bolivia a few days ago.
She got into a taxi. The taxi goes a little ways, 2 policemen
got in. One on each side of here. They took everything of
value. Credit cards, ATM Cards, Camera.
But they did not take here life.
She was alone. Would anyone have known?
Or would we have heard?
Read the newspapers, TV. Government travel warnings.
Stay away. Warning.. Do not get involved.
What is the answer? Freedom of the press.
If you do not believe this?
Ask Fujimoris buddy, Montesino. (Peru)
Ask Mexico about their taxi drivers?
Ask a Colombian, If they want to be known as the
Ask President Clinton? about his sex life... hehehe
For links, and newsletters of public, and government
As always, these are suggestions. Please realize I am
giving guidance, and there are always other opinions.