I was TOLD never...

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Now and then I follow some travel forums on the Internet, and I often see questions similar to the following (some of the questions posted may even be more specific, and not just ask about the length of a piece of string):

"Will I be safe on my own in South America?"

"Should I skip going to South America, there's so much bad press and scary stories to be found?"

Of course there's some dodgy cities and areas in South America, who you are probably better off staying away from, similar to almost any country on any continent around the world. But to be honest, after nine months down here, it is also very easy to drop your guard. For me, the reason being that I haven't had any trouble whatsoever (lets hope it continues). I've seen more violence on a weekend out in my own hometown (population 18.000), than during nine months down here. That may not say much, and it's probably not a very good comparison, as I am not claiming that it's all perfectly safe. Of course you have to watch out, and yes, I have also heard some scary stories (stories I know are recent and even true, and not just an Urban Legend). But if your knowledge about a place is all based on the bad stuff you read in newspapers and watch on TV, or possibly from a scary story you heard from a friend of a friend who knows someone who once heard about a guy who (almost) went to South America, well then I guess it's best to just stay in your own backyard. Very often I think it boils down to comfort zones and fear of the unknown. That's not always necessarily a bad thing, it's when you mix it with plain ignorance that it starts to annoy me :-)

The reason I mention all this, is because I read a travel forum thread today, where the poster asked a question similar to the above. A guy called Yarouhy from Canada replied with the following, which I think sums it up perfectly. Enjoy!

I was ATTACKED by a hen in a Bolivian bus.
I was SCAMMED US $2 in Cuzco.
I was KIDNAPPED by three beautiful Morenas in Colombia who made me dance for 12 hours...
I was ROBBED US $1.27 by a taxi driver in Buenos Aires because we were talking so much he missed my street...
I was ABDUCTED by Chilean police for a coffee at 5000m and -20 Celsius in their headquarters...
I was MISLEAD in Sao Paolo to the best restaurant ever.
I was HARASSED by transvestites in Rio's carnival who told me I was the most gorgeous man on Earth.
I was TOLD never to visit Colombia and found the greatest people on Earth!
I was AFRAID of South America and now work only to go back...

If you haven't been, come visit this wonderful continent! And if you've been, then I am sure you are planning to go back one day!
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