The Million Dollar Ride

The infamous paseo millonario haunts Bogotá’s residents every day. Riding on one of the taxis in the city equals taking a risk of getting killed.

You get unlucky. You flag down a taxi on the road, a taxi that unfortunately conspires with the triads. Everything appears to be normal until suddenly you realise that you’re not heading to the right direction. Then before you know it, two strangers get on the taxi on each side of the car, forcing you in the middle. They take out their guns and knives, and force their weapons onto your head, your wrists and your trunk.

‘Close your eyes the whole time. If you ever try to open them, we’ll knife you!’ Nudging further their guns into your ribs; you feel their sharp blades on your skin.

‘Take out everything!’

You follow their orders, removing everything you have including your watch, necklace, your wallet and all the other valuables that you may have, which nowadays probably include your cell, an ipad and a laptop. But this is not the end of the robbery. They stay with you, continue driving. They arrive at a branch of your bank. They ask you for your pin, and use your debit/credit cards to get out even more cash.

This week, a culprit has been condemned to 42 years in prison. In reality, one bandit being taken behind the bar doesn’t make it any safer taking taxis. God knows how many more of these triads are still roaming free on the streets..

The lesson is, travel with as little as possible, taking nothing that you don’t NEED. This means removing all the plastics from your wallet, taking only the amount of cash that you need, and learning how to ‘take a good taxi’ – which I will cover in another post. Yes – if you don’t have your own car you can’t afford to show off the new Rolex or the smart ass phone that you might have recently bought..


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