I love Colombia, but it’s not super safe. Every day I hear a new story. Yesterday these two girls are telling me about how they had their 80 litre packs stolen from the bus cargo hold. All they had left was their valuables bag and the clothes on their backs. Later on that day, I was told about this guy from my hostel who had been been trying to buy some cocaine, and was robbed at gunpoint, and taken to an ATM for more money. They even took his shoes! Another Canadian I met, I called him Toronto was held up at knife point on a bus! Unlike Asia, South America seems to be prone to armed robberies.
Which is what leads me to this story.
It’s 3am in the morning and my new hostel friends and I are at a sketchy nightclub on a rooftop in Cali. The rain is slightly falling and the sky is smoggy with pollution.
Why do I call it sketchy? It’s not a good situation. It’s almost all Colombians (while generally very friendly, you can definitely spot the ones that aren’t so safe). The group of white 20 something year old hostel kids stick out like a sore thumb and this part of town is definitely not the safest.
There’s 12 of us out and about. Usually there’s safety in numbers, so I’m not too concerned. But here’s when this gets interesting. This one little 21 year old blonde girl leaves our group and starts dancing with a Colombian guy. He’s got those Latin American good looks, so I can see why she said yes to dancing.
They start salsa dancing, no biggie, this is Cali, salsa capital of the world. After a few songs, salsa turns into grinding and then just making out. He starts leading her further and further away from the group. For privacy…
I think I’m the only one paying attention, and to be honest I’m conflicted.
I feel super creepy watching, but this girl is barely 21 and in a foreign country. All I’m imagining in my old man head is a Taken type of situation.
Dancing and doing shots from a bottle being passed around, the other 12 people from the hostel are in the middle of the dance floor. Nobody else is paying attention as she is moving closer and closer to the dark corners by the exit,
My years and years of security training are kicking into high gear now. My Spidey senses are really going off and I imagine this girl being abducted, taken somewhere and sexually assaulted.
Besides me nobody else is paying attention. (This also drives me nuts).
Even though I’m prepared to prevent the girl and her “boyfriend” from leaving the club together, I’m not happy. This is not going to end well for Samson. If they start leaving, and I stop them, best case is I’m an overprotective jerk. Worst case? I’m a creepy jealous perv.
If I don’t stop them from going, the worst case really could THE worst case. I could wind up reading about this girl in the newspaper the next day. There is no real best case in my mind.
I want to be super duper clear here, even if a smoking hot girl wanted to take me home, I wouldn’t leave by myself. Not here. It’s way too rife for a setup and ambush. If you’ve been in Bangkok, or anywhere where the girls act as baits for traps, you know what I’m talking about. Rule #12 NEVER leave a space with your friends to wander out by yourself with an attractive stranger….
So there I am, stuck…. and even though I really want to say”it’s not my problem”. I really can’t. This girl has done nothing but been guilty of being young and dumb, in a strange country and drunk.
I’m really unsure what to do. Do I let them walk out of the club? She is 21..and it’s not like she hasn’t been making out with her “new boyfriend” for a while.
What would you do dear readers? Would you intervene? There is no upside for me at all in stopping her from leaving with him. It’s not like she will thank me or even notice how dangerous the situation is. Really at the best? I’m going to told to “F…off”.
How did it turn out? The girl actually wasn’t as dumb as I was worried about. The club closed at 4am and this girl unentangled her lips from his and left with us and not him (leaving him with a case of serious blue balls I’m sure).
But today is the day I really had one thought burned into my brain. I’m no longer a member of the herd. I cannot go out with sheep, I really can’t. Nobody asked me to watch out for them, but I can’t go to a nightclub, or walk down a dark street without all my security training kicking in. Remember all those people I told you about that were robbed? I’m sure some of them could have easily prevented it.
I just cannot turn it just turn it off.
For example you know how very basic street smarts tell you don’t take opened drinks from strangers?
These girls (and guys) are drinking from a communal bottle from a random stranger.
I’m thinking there is no real danger because the people in Colombia seem universally friendly,
But, who knows?
Are you going to risk it? What are your pros/cons of drinking from a random strangers bottle? In my head…the pros are free drinks and it feels like more of a party.
The cons? You might get ruthied, kidnapped and raped/ransomed,
If you’re looking for the best country to retire cheap, you’re going to wind up in some sketchy places. And some dangerous situations. It’s going to be up to you how dangerous your explorations will be. (Read my articles on safety for female travellers as well as street smarts for safe travels, for more tips. )
Personally? As of today….I’m going to do my best to avoid being in situations where I have to be a shepherd. It’s no fun. And at the end of the day it can be dangerous world, and you’ve got to to watch out for yourself.
I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)