An Aussie couple grab a taxi in Medellin, Colombia. Trouble starts after a phone goes missing, and turns violent when the driver pulls out a knife. Police are called, but they only make the situation worse.
Mark: In Colombia, it’s so corrupt. Everything is completely fucked, and obviously there’s a lot of cocaine, and a lot of drugs all around there.
So me [Mark] and Nancy, we went to Medellin, the home of Pablo Escobar. We partied a lot there; got a house where Pablo Escobar used to own and just partied there. Pablo Escobar is a bad man, so a lot of the people there, locals, don’t wanna talk about Pablo Escobar. They wanna talk about all the other good stuff about Colombia and Medellin.
But anyways, we got to Colombia, got to Medellin, and so many times we had to bribe the police had to do all this shit. I got caught with… stuff on me. I had to bribe the police, and some friends of ours got taken into a private, abandoned building and had to bribe… was it the police? Those guys were the police, weren’t they?
Nancy: No no no… these were drug dealers.
Mark: They were drug dealers. They had to bribe the drug dealers to get away. The drug dealers took them to an ATM and had to withdraw a couple hundred USD or something.
Nancy: That was in Santa Marta, Colombia.
Mark: That was Santa Marta, yeah. Anyway, we went out, had a huge night out and then around 1 or 2 AM, some friends said, “Oh hey, come back to our place and we’ll meet you there.”
OK cool, no worries. We went to get a taxi. Nancy and another girl walked ahead and me and another guy were walking behind a little bit. All the sudden, the police rock up. You can see them coming on a motorbike. It’s really funny, you ever see the police, one is riding a bike and one is sitting on the back. There’s two guys on the moto. As soon as they see a gringo, know, yup, you’re about to be searched.
So they came past and saw me and my mate. “You guys have got drugs?”
“Nope! We don’t have anything.” We’ve taken it all, we actually didn’t have anything at that time.
They searched us down, and they kept searching. “We don’t have anything, you know? Fuck off.” But they kept searching they kept searching. They searched me, they searched my mate. Everything! They’re checking out wallets, all this stuff. We’re like, “Fuck, we don’t have it.” And we’re getting pissed off. Mate, this time, you didn’t get us!
At this point, the girls got the taxi and we say, “Look, our taxi’s there, can we go?” And you know, we have limited Spanish and they didn’t speak any English, so we jumped into the taxi. We’re in the taxi trying to find directions for our friend’s house. The driver asked us, “Could you show me the map on your phone?” Nancy kept passing the phone to the taxi driver. I was in the passenger’s seat while Nicole’s sitting in the back with our two friends. She kept passing the phone to the taxi driver. We’re off our face, drunk or whatever.
All the sudden, Nancy’s asking me, “Mark, have you got my phone?”
“No… don’t you have it?”
“No… Oh! We gave it to the taxi driver.”
Taxi driver’s like, “I don’t know, I gave it back to you.”
All the sudden, “Oh hang on. What’s going on?” We look under our seats, and I said, “No, stop the taxi right now.” He didn’t want to stop the taxi. I went to grab the actual keys out of the ignition to stop the thing, but he bashed my arm down.
Then, all the sudden, the driver pulls out a knife.
I was in the passenger seat. He holds it to my throat, like that, you know? Holds the knife to me like that [motions holding a knife to his throat]. Nancy’s in the back screaming, “Give me my phone! Give me my phone!” At this stage, it was like, “He’s got a knife, get out!” He stopped the car, we got out but Nancy stayed in the taxi, still screaming, “Give me my phone! I want my phoooone!!” He starts driving off with Nancy still in the back.
Nancy: And I’m like, “Please! Give me my phone.” [Laughs]
Mark: I’m physically pulling Nancy out while the taxi’s driving off. The next day she had bruises from me pulling her out.
Nancy: … You made the right decision.
And then, anyways, we next to a housing estate with a security guard. Soon, another taxi came and drove us back. While we’re at the front waiting for this second taxi to come, we’re checking who’s got money to pay for the taxi. My friend pulls out his wallet and goes,
“Oh, hang on, the policeman who searched us before robbed me from all my money!”
[Groans] Nothing in there. “You’re fucking kidding me.” So, when the policeman was searching us before we got into the taxi, he just physically pulled all the money out of his wallet. Anyways, we get the second taxi and he drops us back to the front of our hostel. There were two policemen at the front of our hostel. We come running and tell them, “We’ve just been robbed! We’ve just been robbed!”
And who was the policemen at the front of our hostel? The two that robbed us before we got into the taxi!
And then they’re just like, “Ehhh, I don’t care. There’s nothing you can do about it now, go to the police station tomorrow morning, the central Medellin police station. This is just the local one.” What’s the name of the area? Poblado?
Nancy: El Poblado?
Mark: Yeah, so the next day we go to El Poblado police station and they are useless as bat shit. “Sorry, it’s Sunday, we don’t do anything. You’ll have to go to the Main police station, Medellin downtown police station, but they’re closed today.”
Anyways, so the next day, we had a day off and went down to the main Medellin police station and waited forever. It was an absolute joke. We took a number and eventually they said, “Right, come up, you speak to a policeman.”
Me and Nancy go upstairs and walk into a room. There’s a front desk and the receptionist said, “Oh just take a seat.” Yeah no worries.
I look at the chair, there’s five or six people and they’re all handcuffed, all shoelaces are out of their shoes and they’re just like, just like that. Just handcuffed like that. “Oh sweet, alright.” I’m just sat next to these guys waiting for our turn.
At the front desk, they ask, “What’s your passport number and all your details?” I couldn’t really speak Spanish that well, but then all the sudden the guy next to me, the criminal, says, “Oh, I can speak perfect English, he just wants you passport number and some details. Do you have a pen?” I grab him a pen. “So where do you live? What’s your…”
Nancy: He was so nice!
Mark: Yeah, he was so nice. While we’re writing all these details down, I glance across the room. There’s two police officers, hard asses, and they’ve got a bunch of guns out and they’re putting bullets into evidence bags, wrapping them up. Bullets and guns in evidence bags.
We’re just sitting here going, what the fuck?
You know, we’re just here trying to do a police report for our insurance, you know what I mean? We’re not criminals! Eventually, we saw a policeman and between google translate we made a police report.
Nancy: I still haven’t submitted it…
Mark: [Laughs] But at the end of the day, they’ve got bigger priorities. We’ve just got our phones stolen and we just want something for insurance. But man, crazy place.
When your new friend has drugs and a knife, do you invite them back to your hotel?