Grant Johnson in Colombia

Colombia - Travel Warning, March 26, 1998

"The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against unnecessary travel to Colombia. Violence by narcotraffickers, guerrillas, paramilitary groups and other criminal elements continues to affect all parts of the country. U.S. citizens have been the victims of recent threats, kidnappings and murders. U.S. citizens in Colombia are currently the targets of kidnapping efforts by guerrilla rebels. Since it is U.S. policy not to pay ransom or make other concessions to terrorists, the U.S. government's ability to assist kidnapped Americans is limited. U.S. citizens of all age groups and occupations have been kidnapped, and kidnappings have occurred in all major regions of Colombia."

This was the sort of thing Susan was reading, back in Canada, while Grant was heading to Colombia. It made for a very stressful time. Originally the plan was for Grant and Max to head through Colombia to Venezuela, but after much investigation as to shipping options from various locations back to Miami, eventually they decided to just fly from Bogota. Excerpts from e-mail at the time convey the mood:

Grant: "Try not to worry too much, we'll be fine. Got more pepper spray, and so does Max now. Max got really security conscious and bought pepper spray, mace, switchblade and a pen that shoots a .22 cal. bullet!"

This was guaranteed to relax Susan's nerves!

Grant flew out of Bogota to Miami on 8 April, 1998, safe and sound with the bike.

He hasn't written much about Colombia, perhaps he wrote so much about Ecuador that he tired of writing!

Grant in a rare photo on the Pan-American Highway in Colombia.

Apologies to the people of Colombia if this sounds negative. As with any country, there are safe places and less safe places, and it's always bad news that makes the news!

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