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Colombia 360

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Tricepilot, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    In Barichara I used my iPhone to record my Tuk Tuk driver guy talking about the town. I hired him at the town square to drive me around to see things that would be difficult on a walking tour. So much to see and the elevation changes add a next level of challenge.

    Here's the LINK

    - OR - simply click on the image!

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    #41
  2. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    The fingers of the Andes and the dense jungle of the Amazon region make Colombia a moto riders paradise. No super slab and, in the area I rode, more mountain twisties than you could hope for. View from Barichara.
    #42
  3. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Other than coffee, here at a museum in Barichara I found a couple of other cash crop examples.
    #43
    adventurebound9517 likes this.
  4. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Next Up: Drugs in Colombia

    Two first person stories about encounters with The Devil's Breath: Scopolamine

    [​IMG]
    #44
  5. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    In Barichara, at 7 Tigres Pizza, I met a guy from Germany named Armin.

    Armin is an entrepreneur, speaks English and Spanish as well as German, and loves Colombia. He spends as much time there as he can. And he can because he's a self made man in the business world. He basically runs his company from his laptop, which is online book sales.

    Both of the Scopolamine stories I'm going to tell you actually happened in Medellín, one to Armin and one to another guy, but since I heard about Scopolamine in Barichara from Armin, I'll tell it now.

    Armin was night clubbing in the El Poblado district, known for its bars and restaurants and "stay out all night" vibe. Little did he know he was about to be set up. This drug is basically an extract from a plant that is made into a powder and slipped into your drink at a bar. When it takes effect, you cease to be able to exercise free will and you become a conscious but mentally unconscious pawn. Armin was schmoozed by a couple of nice looking ladies and they had drinks. He didn't know these women were working with a team.

    Next thing Armin knows, he's waking up in an alley with the "worst headache I've ever felt". He said 10 times worse than the worse hangover you can imagine. His wallet, watch and basically everthing he had on him are gone. What's worse, when he's finally able to get back to his hotel, talk to the police, and get on the internet, he finds out that his debit card had been played and the police told him what had probably happened, he had become a victim of Scolpolamine. The drug makes you compliant, and he must have willingly given up his pin numbers.

    Go ahead and Google "Scolpolamine Colombia" and you will find a lot of depth on this drug and the techniques used to get victims to take it.

    The other guy I met who was a victim was actually a Colombian living in Medellín. He had been to a huge soccer game and after the game let out, he went to a street party. Same key ingredients to the story - a couple of women (with guys he guesses as the heavies), taking a drink with the Devil's Breath slipped into it, and the similar ending like Armin's.

    None of this has anything to do with throwing shade on Colombia in terms of safety, but if you are going to go there, and I hope you do, just be aware of this topic. Especially if you like going to bars and clubs and socializing.

    Here's one of the best pieces written on this, by author Stephen Gill:

    "Residents and tourists alike in Colombia’s second largest city Medellin are coming under increasing risk of being targeted by thieves using the scopolamine drug, according to recent data released from the mayor’s office.

    2018 was marked by a significant increase in the number of cases of robberies in the city during which victims were drugged with the substance that renders a person incapable of exercising free-will, according to the city’s Security and Coexistence Information System (SISC).

    According to the statistics, use of the drug also known as “Devil’s Breath” is on the rise again with 218 cases reported in 2018, a significant rise from 82 the previous year after reaching an all-time high of 302 cases in 2016.

    The areas of the city that have been most affected over the three year period analyzed are the central Candelaria district (228), and tourist hot spots El Poblado (130) and Laureles (88).

    The data indicated that bars and discotheques are the most common places where victims are targeted with 228 cases in the last two years while taxis (45) and social networks (17) are also prominent.

    Modus Operandi
    The modus operandi for the crimes varies but one common tactic that was reported was the use of social networks like Facebook, Badoo and Tinder, and mail order bride website Colombian Cupid identified as the most popular to lure victims.

    In some cases the targets are foreigners as was the case of a Turkish-Canadian professor, who was found dead in December last year after being drugged in a nightclub and robbed.

    While luring victims through dating platforms featured among the testimonies, people also warned about fake advertisements for the sale of goods as a means of making contact.

    Casual encounters in bars, restaurants, taxis or simply on the street have also been reported in several cases with criminals using a host of creative strategies to intoxicate a victim.

    According to reports from victims, these strategies varied from planting the scopolamine in snacks such as cookies or in drinks such as liquor, water, juice or soda in which it will immediately dissolve.


    In the cases of some victims, the substance was ingested through the airway with some of them that were targeted in taxis, recalling that before they lost consciousness, the taxi driver had a very strong lotion or that he waved a rag or newspaper inside the car.

    Other victims indicated that merely by touch, they had suffered the effects of the drug, usually after receiving flyers or after being offered a product on the street.

    Effects
    Scopolamine is extracted from the “Borrachero” or Bugmansia plant, which grows throughout the Andes, and is used on victims to disable their free will, making them voluntarily do what their assailants ask or order them to do.

    The devastating effects of the drug have had fatal consequences in some cases for victims with overdoses reported in some cases with the effects often magnified by existing medical conditions or the intake of alcohol or other drugs.

    “The immediate effects of these substances are: feeling dizzy and drowsy, difficulty speaking and walking, and loss of will, so the victim obeys the orders of the offender, who pretends that he wants to help. Then there are mental gaps and short-term memory loss,” explained Antioquia University clinical toxicologist Hugo Gallego Rojas to El Colombiano newspaper.

    While the substance often leaves the body within approximately six hours, the effects can be long lasting in some cases as Gallego recalls in the case of a nurse who was a victim.

    “She was left with features of dementia, speaking alone, disconnected from reality. We call that scopolamine psychosis,” said the expert.

    Victims and aggressors
    The data reported a wide range of victims of different ages with 156 cases among men aged between 31 and 40 years of age, making them the most vulnerable.

    In spite of a popular conception that women are mainly the ones who are administering the drug, the data based between 2016 and 2018 that single males or males in a group (168) were the most common aggressors.

    The practice involves several types of crimes: qualified and aggravated robbery, simple kidnapping and theft by means of computer (theft of money in ATMs and bank cards), according to Medellin Security Secretary Andres Tobon.

    “We have prioritized the cases in which the action of organized gangs is evident, in which women make the first contact with the citizen and supply the substance, and then men who take part by transporting and robbing them. There are a few structures that commit most of the robberies,” said the official.

    While local authorities have received regular complaints from victims of scopolamine, it is suspected that many cases go unreported.

    This is partially due to the fact that the substance may only remain in the body for up to six hours but also where victims are unwilling to make a report.

    According to the mayor’s office, homosexuals and the LGBT are often targeted and in places where the same sex socialize but many who may not have “come out of the closet’ will not report such an incident.

    Other unreported cases fall under the category of tourists, who simply leave the city in the aftermath of an attack."

    Well, that's it as far as this topic goes. On my whole solo trip down there, I never once saw any crime, had any bad experiences, never had an encounter with a cop.

    I'm not putting any shoe polish on my trip - it's the truth about Colombia - beautiful people, stunning landscapes, fun things to do, and motorcycle riding heaven. I will definitely want to go back (but first Ecuador, but that's another tale).

    Next, on to Bucaramanga, Colombia. A total surprise that city.

    And riding in the oncoming wave of refugees fleeing Venezuela.
    #45
  6. michaellmcc

    michaellmcc Been here awhile

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    Very informative, good to know, and thanks for the heads up.

    It's obvious that everyone is responsible for their own safety. I learned (at least so far :D) from decades of job-related travel that it's best to avoid street food in the developing world (hence my lack of experience in that milieu) and to not go night-clubbing or partying or drinking in an unfamiliar environment, esp late at night. IMHO nothing good can happen during the wee hours, esp to those who may not be up to speed on the risk profile in a particular location. I'll leave those pursuits to the younger crowd.

    We're beginning the mental process of preparing for motorcycling in Colombia, and your report is certainly helpful. I missed a trip to Ecuador with friends a few years ago, so am interested in both.

    Maybe when you're back home we could do lunch. My trip won't be solo like yours, since my wife will likely come along. That'll help avoid trouble in itself!

    Ride safe,
    Mike
    #46
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  7. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Mike, you're only about an hour North of me. I'd be happy to meet you guys in Austin to dial in your Colombia plans.
    #47