I’ve tried to be very meticulous and make sure my blog is written in order without missing any sections out, but recent events have forced me to abandon these scruples and write this post.
Please await a post on Colombia’s coffee region and Cali, which incidentally I thought was going to be dangerous. That is until I found myself, just yesterday, in the middle of a political coup in Ecuador.
Paul Theroux felt guilty in Quito because he went to too many parties, I on the other hand felt like it was time to take a break from my indulgent travels and do some work, so I spent the week working with Medical Missions for Children, a US based charity that works in local hospitals and operates on lips and palates. It had been an eye-opening week for someone with no medical experience and a fantastic way to get chatting to people.
The team had a laser machine coming from the US which had some issues getting through customs, so much so that we learned the president himself, Rafael Correa, had to give the machine the go-ahead to get into the country.
By Thursday he had bigger problems than a simple laser. After opting to cut police benefits he faced an uprising which led to road blockades, the burning of tires in the street, an official state of emergency and being hospitalised after the police attacked him with tear gas. (See the BBC story here).
We made it back to our hotel after swerving a few burning tires to be faced with very surreal happenings. A letter had been left in my room advising me not to leave the hotel in the light of ‘today’s events’ but to instead enjoy ‘Oktoberfest.’
I soon found myself in the bar watching locals wearing lederhosen playing in an om pah band, while scenes on the tv showed riots and shooting just two streets away.
Things were getting far too surreal for my liking.
I now await news of the coup. But according to the locals this is a very regular occurrence and there is nothing to worry about.
“It’s just the robbers that are a problem, and the looters, as now we have no police to stop them.“ A patient told me.
Still I was pleased to have a little time to write-up my blog post on the dangers of being in Cali.