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Random shooting in Latin America

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It’s raining. It’s been raining on and off since I arrived, but I guess that’s what comes with arriving at the end of the rainy season. The first two days are totally washed out with rain and it turns out it really, really rains in the rainy season. What a bloody surprise!

I stay at the Best Western in the middle of what is locally called Zona Roja, The Red Zone. My second statement of the bloody obvious is that The Red Zone is pretty nasty – maybe not as bad as I was lead to believe, but pretty nasty nonetheless. I venture out during the day and check out the city centre. There are shady looking people on street corners – the type that look as if they are pushing substances, or illegal weapons, and certain streets are paved with both beggars and scary looking women offering themselves for just a few dollars.

Bang, bang, bang!!

Day two sees me go on another “walkabout” and I leave the hotel, turn left, and walk 200 meters up the hill when I suddenly hear “bang, bang, bang, bang”. I turn around to see the streets paved with people, running in all directions, and my brain immediately processed that there had been a shooting outside of my hotel and I had missed the crossfire by about 90 seconds. Access to my hotel was subsequently closed for the rest of the day while some 30 policemen cleaned the scene and processed the evidence, and I was left stuck in Zona Roja asking myself what the hell I was doing. Welcome to Latin America!

It turns out that I don’t do things quickly. I like to make sure that all ducks are in a row before leaping into any kind of commitment. I spend my days researching places to say. I check out the entire local area, and make sure it’s ok to venture out safely. I’ve never liked living out of a suitcase for too long and it takes up an hour (or two) of your day when you move about all the time. It’s time consuming, and a pain in the arse.

Moving On….

Without even thinking about it, the first week comes and goes in a flash and all I’ve got to show for it is complete knowledge of the shops, museums, and downtown areas, in addition to finding and enrolling in a language school to help with my Spanish. The choice of school was not easy, but I eventually take a punt after hours and hours of research.

Tonight will be my fifth accommodation in a little over a week and I have slowly moved further out of town and, more importantly, further down the scale of class and cost. I’ve gone from three star, to two star, and now onto a hostel. My decision to stay in Casa Yoses is three fold. Firstly, to be closer to the language school (which is less than 10 minutes away). Secondly, it’s cheaper and more economical than a hotel – it includes breakfast and is the cheapest by far – and thirdly, it gives me an opportunitity to meet some like minded people (backpackers if you like).

About Adrian Britton

Sometimes I will talk about things that are interesting, and sometimes I won’t. Sometimes it will be a bit of a laugh, and sometimes it will just be a downright rant about something going on in the world – I’m often accused at moaning a lot, and I consider myself quite good at it !!

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