Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sneaking out of Colombia

Drug runners do it. Poor ecuadorians do it on their way up to the US, and we did it on our way out of Colombia.
As I have written about before, owing to their expired papers, our bikes were technically owned by the Colombian government. Although I'm sure they would put the ladies to good use tracking down drug runners and FARC, we weren't quite ready to make such a donation to the newly elected conservative government.
Therefore, we became outlaws...

Problem 1: Every police checkpoint became a source of anxiety. Would they stop us and ask for our papers?
Solution: Look like you are rich, and have no motivation to run drugs or guns and no one will ask for you papers.
Execution: Done with pride.
Problem 2: We needed to exit Colombia and not have the government office (DIAN) see that we were leaving with two motorcycles.
Solution: At the border, park the bikes in a place where the DIAN officials couldn't see the bikes. Change into non-motorycle riding clothes and carry some fake luggage. Go inside to get our passports stamped as leaving the country. Jump back on the bikes and high tail it across the border as fast as we can.
Execution: Flawless (although with a few nerves-a-rattling at the border).

We didn't take any pictures, so enjoy these photos of delicious food in Ecuador. The first one is Bizcochos and a mozzarella like cheese. The second one is at the little Italian owned horse ranch/ guest house/ restaurant in Cayembe, and the third, well that is at the end of the rainbow.


  1. Why didn't the Ecuadorian border guards stop you with your bikes? Did you just outmaneuver them? Do some Jedi mind trick razzledazzle? Or is it top secret?

  2. Ha ha - did you tell them in your best Obi Wan Kenobi voice, "These aren't the bikes you're looking for." ?

  3. If you need to bribe somebody along the way I have had luck with this sort of phrasing: "Pero he escuchado que hay una multa que yo puedo pagar aqui...directamente a usted... me dicen que cuesta como diez dollares..." You get the idea. This way you never actually offer a bribe, but they get it and if you come across the occasional honest authority, you can easily claim ignorance. Paying a fine (multa) is not offering a bribe. Suerte and cuidanse with those Ecuadoran drivers.


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