I was looking at some pictures the other day and came across this one from January 2014 that reminded me of a situation that almost caused me to have a heart attack!!!
Picture this scenario…
I was arriving at Maracaibo, Venezuela a few hours north of San Cristobal, Venezuela while looking for my host’s house and I knew I was in the right neighborhood. I also sensed from the looks of the houses, businesses and street condition, I probably was not in the safest place to travel in South America.
As I was cruising along a large avenue I felt like I was being followed. The car behind me was a large white Impala from the seventies. One of those we used to refer as a “boat” because of the size. An 8 cylinder gas guzzler commonly found in Venezuela due to the gas prices being cheaper the water.
BTW, I drive a KLR which has a 650 CC engine and definitely not designed for speed, much less a match against anything with 8 cylinders. My suspicions began when while driving slower than then traffic, “it” would not pass. I sped up slightly and the vehicle kept the same gap between us. There was hardly any traffic, so the idea that I quickly came up with of dodging through traffic for the purpose of “losing” the guy vanished just as fast.
The only way to remove the doubt that this guy was following me was to turn into a small street by the large avenue. So I did do just that, I took a quick turn, then another and another as the sun was beginning to set. At this point, any doubts of being followed by this “boat” on wheels had completely died out. The car was right behind me and I could feel a knot in my throat while my heart beat was about twice the normal rate. I was carrying the full load (girlfriend included), so the chances of getting away from this guy were pretty slim.
About two blocks from where I was I saw a crowd of people in front of a small store and quickly accelerated towards them and pulled over. I figured whatever was to happen, at least there would be some witnesses. I asked my girlfriend to get off, as I watched the car pull over right behind me from my rear view mirror. A guy in his 30’s got out of the driver side and then two kids and a lady about his same age, and all walked towards us.
“Where are you guys from,” the gentleman asked, as I suddenly felt a sense of relief. We started a friendly conversation as he tells me that he saw that we were lost and was concerned for our safety and decided to offer any assistance we might need. He asked if he could take a picture with him and his kids and offered to wait for our hosts to meet us at that location since it was getting dark and he felt it would be safer for us.
Just a quick note to remind us again that the world might not be as horrible as we might perceive it to be…
Thank you for reading and please leave any comments or suggestions!