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Discussion in 'Latin America' started by pictish, Apr 22, 2011.
Very sorry to read this.
RIP Graham !!!
Confirmation from Graham's dad today on facebook:
I am so sorry to say that the Police have confirmed that the body found in Morona Santiago is Graham. Katherine and I will travel to Ecuador in early August. Hopefully we will learn a little more about this tragedy. Thank you all so much for the many letters, notes and postings. We appreciate your kind thoughts. Although we are numb a...t his absence, it eases the pain to hear the wonderful Graham stories all of you are sharing.
Lo siento mucho decir que la policía ha confirmado que el cuerpo encontrado en Morona Santiago es Graham. Katherine y yo viajaremos a Ecuador a principios de agosto. Espero que podamos aprender un poco más acerca de esta tragedia. Gracias a todos por las letras de muchas notas y publicaciones. Apreciamos sus pensamientos tipo. A pesar de que están dormidos en su ausencia, que alivia el dolor al escuchar las maravillosas historias de Graham todos los que están compartiendo.
Rest In Peace, Graham.
This really sucks.
Does anyone have a link to news, police investigations, etc? Is there anything specific we might be able to learn, especially to avoid any kind of repeat? Or was it just bad luck?
I too am really interested in whether this could be avoided in the future. This is a tragedy, his family will be in my prayers tonight.
I'm getting ready to leave for SA on a solo trip - this is food for thought for all taking trips in possibly dangerous territories.
There's a FB page "Find Graham Murray" for those of you on FB.
I or others here can post updates. The post above is the latest.
Following the fb page is a good idea. Many of the posts are in Spanish.
I'll be sure to post here if get any updates from fb or hear anything from Graham's friends. I agree...it would be helpful to know so you can possibly avoid whatever situation he was in.
I saw the FB page a few days ago, thanks to Lucio's having posted it on his FB page. And I've been following this thread, but nothing that I've seen has details, just that he was murdered while camping, which totally sucks- I mean, the fact that he was murdered sucks. That it was while camping is only a detail and it doesn't make anything easier.
I don't even know where to start, question-wise.
In Northern Peru, I met a young Canadian who had been pepper-sprayed late at night in Quito. The robbers didn't say anything or warn him in any way- they just pepper-sprayed his face as they walked by. Once he was incapacitated, he was robbed. He was helpless for quite a while. Eventually somebody helped him to a police station, where he was not helped very much. He wasn't even drunk. His mistake: staying out late in a quiet area and then trying to walk home alone. He had tried to get a taxi, but was unable. The lesson: in some big cities, it's better to either get home by a certain time, or stay put, even if you feel silly, unless you can travel in a safe-sized group. Sometimes you have to pretend you're in Brooklyn, circa 1989.
As for camping in Ecuador's rain forest, I'd heard that it was safe if you were in an area away from Colombia. I used to date a woman who had trek'd deep into the jungle, with a few other young women. Other than halucinating big-time from a combination of malaria meds and who-knows-what, she had tons of fun and never felt in danger.
My quick trip through Ecuador didn't involve straying off the main routes, and I never felt in danger (other than from insane, borderline psychotic drivers- psychotic because behind the wheel they were total assholes- totally homicidal- but once they got out of their cars they were some of the nicest people I've ever met).
One of my dad's buddies lives in the mountains about an hour from Quito. He's an old American, half-gay (he's married to a woman but, you know... not that there's anything wrong with it) and he loves Ecuador. I asked him before my ride, and again after my ride, what he thought about the risks, and he said, both times, "You know. You have to take normal precautions. I've never had any trouble and I don't really know anyone who has."
So, is this case like getting eaten by a shark- as in, extremely rare- or is there something we can learn, and then teach? Are there universal lessons, or will the knowledge be Ecuador-specific? (Like with Clayton, who reminded us to watch very carefully for those damn donkeys.) Does anyone know where to start?
I know for myself I would much rather die having done what I loved than living a long life without doing what I dreamed.
My he rest in peace now, I commend him for living out his dreams
I'm drinking to that!
RIP Graham. I only recently in March of this year rented a m'cycle in Quito where I spent a few days in the amazon lowlands. Not once did I feel threatened or felt unsafe including stangers I met on some of the backroads. Judging by all the warm Ecuadorian people I met his murder has to be very isolated. Still...be careful out there...wherever you travel.
This was the only thing I could found about it... a friend told me about this guy, and that he was coming to Chile because I believe they became friends in India or something like that... and struck me badly, cause it is sad to know that someone can go on holidays and never come back... or never reach the end of the journey...
My best regards to family and friends of him...
I've searched for more information on the case, but couldn't find anything in addition to what has been said here.
Based on the information we have, it seems to be one of those isolated very unfortunate cases.
The link posted by paucita says something about him being murdered by two ecuadorian indians, while camping in the jungle.
Two people have been arrested, apparently, linked to his murder.
As an ADVer living in South America, I would recommend just taking average precautions: travelling during the day, don't walk alone late at night etc. Just normal things you would do while visiting an unknown place.
Camping in the jungle is something I haven't done so far.
IMO, it doesn't sound like something to be done alone in an isolated area.
Apart from that, just come down and have fun as we have fantastic places to ride and visit.
+1. As usual, Lucio knows.
In Panama there are many national parks with jungle and theoretically you can camp, and it should be safe, as long as you are careful about being far from the Darien. If there are Indians, such as Kuna, you have to get permission from them, even if they don't have legal authority. It is also possible to camp on private land, as long as you get landowner permission. Violent crime like this is unheard of. Getting little things stolen is not uncommon, and fellow travelers are just as likely to be the thieves as any local maliantes.
Were the Indians drunk or high? Panamanian Indians can get very drunk on just one beer. You have to be very careful with them when they're drunk.
I think the Ecuador rainforest Indians are in some ways similar to the Panama Indians. The kuna, for example, came from Colombia about 100 years ago, and many still go back and forth. Nobody really knows the extent of their travel. The Embera and Wounaan do not travel as much, but they're known more for being cannibals than murderers. (Scientific evidence doesn't support this, but folklore does.)
No, not extremely rare. I've lived here a long time, and it's getting ugly. The leftist goverment is soft on crime, courts are corrupt, and the few honest cops out here work with their hands tied. Crime is rampant, from being held up at a street corner on foot, at a stoplight in your car, or a home invasion where if you're lucky, all you get is beat up.
If you're coming through Ecuador, practice common sense, be aware, be safe, be smart.
Thats sad to hear, can't be any worse than amajor American city... I hope not, I have friends that plan on moving down there permanently.
Guido- I can't remember exactly, but if I remember a little, wasn't your house broken into a few years ago? There wasn't any violence, was there?
I remember a couple of years ago Albert started complaining about problems in Quito, and he actually closed the most awesome bar in South America. Which sucked because I really wanted to go back.
When I was on my ride, I was mostly in denial about how dangerous it actually was. Like in a small town west of Cali. I had a puncture and I had to stop. I asked if the road to the next town was safe. The first people I asked said it was the safest way to the place with the best drugs in the world. The next group I asked said it was safe during the daytime. The third group- a few taxi drivers and a few bus drivers, all watching my tire get fixed- got into an argument about whether or not I'd make it. Some said the road was safe during the day. Others said that the government was keeping the guerillas away from the road. Others said that if they saw me coming- and they see everything because they have spies everywhere- then they would take me. Then they said that as far as they knew, one of them- even the one talking to me- could be the spy, and that I was as good as dead, right there in the garage, while my tire was being repaired. It was impossible to know who was telling the truth, and who was reading a script from Gabriel Garcia de Marquez.
A few months ago, a rider from Australia (or was it New Zealand?) was killed in El Salvador or Honduras. Another rider was killed in Brazil. Otherwise, it's been pretty safe since Clayton hit that damn mule, right?
This is the kind of hilarious story that makes me wish my Spanish was better. Probably this was happening to me everywhere I went in Latin America, but I couldn't understand enough to properly appreciate it.
I do know that stuff like this has been true everywhere I've ever gone, no matter how I'm traveling--on foot, trains, buses, bikes, cars, trucks..... The next town is always described as being full of thieving scoundrels who'll rob me blind. The fact that it's never yet been true doesn't mean it won't be true some day. Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw.
My sympathy to friends and family.
Yes, this happens to all of us as we travel through interesting places, but this one time, in Colombia, it was actually very true. I did not end up taking the road I'd wanted to take. Checking my notes, I realize that this happened to me north of Cali. I had wanted to take a bypass around Cali, and go east, through Florida, then south to Santander de Quilichao. It was the road near Florida that they said was extremely dangerous, and they advised me to suck it up and go through Cali. I had wanted to do a little explore east of Popayan, and work my way down to Pasto through the mountains, but then again I was very strongly advised to stick to the main road.
The advantage I had was that the guerillas and narcos, FARC and paramilitaries, are all known-risks. It's easy to defend against what's known. It's much harder to defend against the un-known.
There was a just a update on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum with the sad sad news.
God bless the lad, and his family and friends. He was on an adventure in life that few take, enjoying himself on his terms, thats about all a man ask in life, no risk, no reward.
I hope justice is served, and I hope his soul is in a lovely place.