Thursday, January 06, 2005

Chase Me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry

Express Kidnappings

Just had an interesting chat with a taxi driver. Would I, he wondered, like to buy some emeralds? Not really, but thanks. But everyone who comes to Colombia buys emeralds. Mn, I said. He professed himself puzzled by my not wanting emeralds, but even so, I would surely want a leather jacket. Would I at least try it on?

No doubt I’ve got a stupid face, but I question whether it is buy-emeralds-off-a-taxi-driver stupid.

There's a lot of ballyhoo involved in getting a taxi in this country. You phone them and they give you a code, so you know he’s a real taxi driver and not a kidnapper. If you flag them down in the streets you’ll sometimes get taken on the “paseo millonario”, where they take you on a tour of the city’s ATM machines, with a gun in your ribs, which isn’t many laughs. Then they dump you in a slum somewhere.

Not long ago a friend of mine was car-jacked in Caracas. They looted his bank accounts, but his car had one of those satellite-tracking gimmicks, and the police traced it to a parking lot in west Caracas and shot the robbers, or the alleged robbers.

They shot someone, anyway.

Chat up Line: Guaranteed Results

Saw a girl on a bus today, bit of a fox, so I sat down opposite and attracted her attention by bursting a balloon. “I am a tomato,” I announced, when she looked up. “So am I a fruit… or a vegetable?” She did not know, so I explained to her in a nerd voice that technically I am a fruit in that I grow above ground, but that the United States Agricultural Department considers me a vegetable for the purposes of import levy.

Sadly, she did not speak English, otherwise we would have been getting naked within the hour. I have personally had over six hundred women using this method.


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