Travel in Latin America
Early in the morning, Dec. 2010, I hailed a tricyclo taxi to leave Tumbez Peru and return to Ecuador via the bus terminal. The driver kept vearing away from the direction of the bus terminal and I mentioned this to him. He said it was ``OK`` and called on his cell phone. Seconds later two guys jumped in on either side of me, crouching down low. I thought they were being chased by thieves themselves! Unsuspecting me. One then started kicking me and the other tearing at my pockets (going for the money) and got $30 (all I had) which I tore out of his hand, then lost it again but they also stole the 4 special pups I had purchased there in Tumbez. Those pups I miss the most and wonder if they were just dumped. One was full of worms. I had them in my posession less than 24 hours. Stupidly I had my knife in my packsac not on my belt and so I could not use it. If I take a tricycle taxi again (v. unlikely) I will keep the knife in my hand or carry MACE. To stop guys like these stab them in the throat and they will bleed a lot. The face and chest is well armoured with bone so stab the throat quickly. This might have provoked them to use knives too so maybe I got away lucky, with my life.
I contacted the Peruvian Embassy in Canada, twice, via email and they did not even bother to reply. I DO NOT FEEL PERU DESERVES TO HAVE TOURISTS. TRY A LESS VIOLENT COUNTRY. In Ecuador, Quito city in the Mariscal tourist area near the Hilton Hotel, is very very bad for muggings as is Guayaquil and of course Esmarelda. I never go out at night. Avoid these predator taxi driver thugs by making the driver come in and register with your hotel or ask the hotel to contact a driver who they know and trust. I personally know people who have been robbed this way in Guayaquil and Quito. I have had my passport taken by a skilled pickpocket in Pedernales, a bad town on the coast. This is the way it is in Ecuador, some towns like Jama, are good and others are socially depressed and full of thieves. An earlier writer advised not carrying your passport. This is not always possible. One of my thieves was wanting to get under my shirt and belt to open my money belt. They know very well that tourists carry money belts. Because I fought back they never got to that. One thing you can do is tape a passport and some money to your calf or lower thigh (shave first). Thìeves won`t see the bulge through your clothing. I also carry a credit card in my sock. Good shoes or boots can be stolen so the sock is safer and the card is not visible, does not bulge.
A note about Brazil. I have been there twice on the coast of Bahia and the number of murders during the tourist season is nearly one a night (and yes right in front of me with pistol blazing). No more, no more trips to Brazil. They are very very casual about open ``recreational`` drug use and social inequity, the root of a lot of the problem. When buyers stop buying the drugs the business dries up. Brazil has huge areas of land and most people own not one square centimeter. The shrinking middle class and rich surround themselves with barbed and electric wire, vicious dogs, alarms and cement walls. Shame on you Brazil. Get a backbone. Stand up for your country and control the population explosion. An unwanted child is an unwanted child.