Militry Check Point

So, this weekend a friend and I took a coach to Villa de Leyva – a completely unnotable place that happens to be full of small bars, overpriced restaurants, gift/tat shops, tourists, crap museums and some breathtaking mountain views. A basically unremarkable trip overall.

What was notable was what happened on the journey there. Along the motorways en route there were several places where a soldier was stood at the side of the road. As the coach passed the soldier would give a thumbs up and an inane grin. At the time we were completely mystified about what this was about. Then we encountered one point where the soldier did not give us the thumbs up. We pulled up to the side of the road where there was rather more than just one soldier on his own. In terms of buildings the army appeared to have little more than what could be described as a small gazebo erected next to one of these road side “junk food shacks” (selling not particularly nice sausages).

A soldier came onto the bus and (en español) asked the men to get off the bus. I repeat – just the men – if you want to smuggle drugs in Colombia, make sure you get a woman to do it. We got off the bus and one at a time were given an illusory ‘patting down’ (I can think of at least half a dozen places about my person that I could have hidden almost anything and they would not have found it) followed by (what I assume) was a request to open my bag. I opened it, he peered in and moved me along. Note that nobody gave two tosses about any of the side pockets. To be fair they did have dogs, so trace quantities of anything dodgy would probably have been picked up on.

Whilst this all sounds a bit scarey, it was less scary than you would think. Soldiers, policemen, guns and dogs on basically every street corner, usually in multiples of two, often more, are quite commonplace even central Bogotá.

We went back on the bus and the otherwise uneventful journey continued. The Colombians seemed to take all this in their stride – it was a seemingly everyday occurence to them.

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One Response to “Militry Check Point”

  1. Mayday « From Calculus to Columbia Says:

    […] From Calculus to Columbia Un inglés y matemático en Bogotá « Militry Check Point […]

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