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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Zangskar Valley, India

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Old 24 Nov 2012
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I met a french couple in Nicaragua this year who told me when they landed in Panama, they grabbed a taxi to find a hostel, and not 10min into the drive, they end up getting stopped by a Policia truck. the police get the couple and driver out, handcuffed and on the side of the road and begin to search the vehicle. of course they uncover 15Kg Cocaine. everyone goes to jail with no calls or way to contact anyone.. but LUCKILY the police determined the couple had no idea about the snow and let them out 2 days later... just goes to show ya anything can happen :P
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Old 24 Nov 2012
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In Jail No Bail...

When I was young, many, many and even many more years ago, I lived in Mexico and landed a part time work with the international Red Cross AKA as a "informant" for the American Embassy in Mexico City.

I did not live in Mexico City, but was flown in a private Cessna (small airplane with 2 seats) by a former Las Vegas show girl as pilot to various landing strips near jails throughout Mexico. She, of course became an object of my desire and I could not wait for telegrams to arrive instructing me of my next assignment.

The wait for the installation of a private telephone was 3 years, so telegrams were the way to contact me. A currier would be despatched from the local telegraph office to find me - usually at a local cafe or more frequently at a local bar/brothel. I tipped the currier and I never missed a message in the 3 years of my employ.

Once and a while I actually was at my humble abode across from the bull ring - dead drunk and/or with a woman, or so tired I could not even walk the several blocks to the nearest bar. Life was good and I was happy to be alive - after even more exacting employment that qualified me for the Red Cross job.

So here is what I discovered. Small children with flashlights, hidden under a sarape (blanket) in the trunks of Mexican taxi cabs were trained in opening tourist suitcases, replacing valuables (cameras, radios, jewelry etc) for cocaine and or marijuana. Compact cars had not yet then reached the market...

And, of course, once the tourists reached their destination, the taxi driver would call the Mexican 9-11 and alert the police that some tourists might have illegal drugs in their suitcases. The taxi driver would collect his reward, and the tourists, would be confronted, their cocaine marijuana laden baggage searched and hauled off to jail.

Although a reciprocal international agreement between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico was that each would advise the others embassy within 48 hours of the arrest of one or the others citizens, tourist victim I speak of here were seldom reported as required. Because, the local jail holding the tourists was holding out for money from the tourists, their friends or families or some other third party as get out of jail free pass.

Enter the international Red Cross - me - and my Cessna flying 6'1" beauty, who dispatched me whenever. Usually, a guard or prison employee was paid to advise friends or family that the tourists were in jail in Mexico, and the same friends and family, (if they had any political clout whatsoever) were able, usually via their congressman or senator and the Department of State were able to send a query (cable) to the U S Embassy who, not legally able to interfere in judicial affairs of Mexico, dispatched the Cessna to collect me and as an official representative of the Red Cross visit the jail identified as holding same tourists.

This I did for more than three years. But, I will say the majority of Americans held in Mexican jails were there for not having auto insurance while being involved, but not necessarily causing auto accidents - with bodily injury or substantial property damage.

I could say more, but better not. Anyone who wants more details can PM me.

I will say, other than the obvious drug cartel activities, usually not directed toward tourists, Mexico is a much safer place than when I lived there.

xfiltrate, Eat, Drink, Be Careful and buy insurance damit.
Motorcycle Parking Buenos Aires, Argentina

Last edited by xfiltrate; 25 Nov 2012 at 04:11.
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Old 25 Nov 2012
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My wife and I were jailed in Spain in 2010 for driving at 2 oçlock in the morning on an empty expressway with our fog lights on, we were in a hire car at the time.We refused to pay a 100 euro on the spot fine that we thought was unreasonable. they ended up fining us 580 euros for disobeying police, 220 euros for towing the hire car and 100 euros for the fog lights.An elderly police man felt sorry for us and the way we were being treated and had the towing charge written off on our insurance, the 100 euros we had to pay to get the car back and we left Spain for Morocco on our motorbikes without paying the 580. We were in jail for 12 hours and were never offered anything to eat or drink and were refused permission to contact our embassy or make any phone calls. Never had any other trouble in the 50,000 odd kilometres we covered from Tokyo to Cape Town
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Old 1 Dec 2012
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We were arrested in Uzbekistan this year for one night because of "trying to break the border" to Tajikistan, which we did of course not.
They examined us for several hours until late in the night and we were kind of arrested in the house of the local english teacher (obviously they couldn't arrest us officially, because we were no criminals and cooperated all the time).

Full story here:
Enduristan: Jailhouse rock

Cheers, Matthias

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Old 1 Dec 2012
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Me and Nadsicles were arrested in Kazakhstan this summer. Something to do with a visa violation. We just played dozy and kept calm and it was OK. They let us go after a few hours, I think when they realised we had no money and were not getting upset.
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Old 1 Dec 2012
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Yikes! Some of those stories are damned scary!

My advice to the OP is to trust your instincts as to who is a trustworthy person and who isn't, and then stay away from the shady ones.

Most of the time a traveller gets into serious trouble with the law, it has something to do with drugs, so stay away from the funny stuff and stick to the bottle!
Bruce Clarke - 2020 Yamaha XV250
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Old 5 May 2013
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xfiltrate, this is a brilliant story. If I'm ever in your neck of the woods I'd love to hear more over a few pints.

I was arrested a number of years ago after crossing the border from Sudan into Egypt. We thought we had all the correct paperwork, but didn't. A few things made the situation way more problematic than 'normal'. We crossed, unbeknownst to us, in a 10 kilometer stretch which was a military zone. This meant that neither the US or UK embassies would help. In fact, the US folks hung up on my friend rather abruptly. 'You broke the law, we can't help.' A lawyer who was sent for said it could be anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 years. Scary.

It also didn't help then Pres Mitterrand was visiting then Pres Mubarak and all the roads were closed. AND it was during the Eid. Everything shut down and we were held first in a military camp, then taken under armed guard in a bus to Aswan. Also not good was having a camera with a ton of film. Some were certain we were spies. Others thought it was a great break from their routine to check out the two chicks in the numerous offices we visited. We were told we could be under house arrest in a hotel IF a certain signature was procured. Alas, the men at the jail wanted to go home (it was 1am) and we were escorted into a jail cell where we stayed. Fortunately we had friends on the outside to bring us food etc. Finally after ten days of incarceration we were taken in front of a military judge and given a suspended sentence and set free with the agreement to leave town immediately. Not a problem...
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Old 5 May 2013
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Got arrested in Sudan for taking pictures...
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Old 5 May 2013
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Yeah, had that happen too, in Khartoum, taking photos of a funky round-about! There was a government building across the street. Thank goodness the Sudanese are fantastic people.
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Old 5 Jun 2013
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When things go wrong…..

Here’s a little story from the real life:
Entering Namibia 27th of March 2013 in Walvis Bay, to pick up my 4X4 that’s being shipped in.
Filling out the immigration card in the airport, asking for the allowed 90 days in the country.
No visa needed, as I’m on a European passport. Immigration officer stamps my passport and writes something on the stamp.
When he’s handing the passport back, I’m asking how long I can stay. Up to 90 day’s sir, is the answer.
I put the passport in my bag, WITHOUT CHECKING THE STAMP…….
I collect my truck, and spend some time touring around, not leaving Namibia.

The 11th of May I’m back in the airport, to fly back to France. My bag is checked in, and I’m given a boarding pass.
Then the fellow at the airline desk checks my passport, and informs me that I have overstayed my time in the country.
WHAT?? Yes, the immigration officer that stamped my passport, wrote down that I was allowed until the 20th of April (my birthday ???).
Long story, but I got arrested in the airport, taken to a holding cell in Walvis Bay, and spend 3 days there before appearing for the court.
Was fined 1000 NAM dollars, and given 48 hours to leave the country.
Back to the airport and on the plane to Johannesburg the next day.

Goes to show how quickly one’s life can change.
I can recommend to check passport stamps…………………………..
My truck is still in Namibia. I will try and re-enter in August.

Cheers, Ib.
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Old 6 Jun 2013
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Have had several run-ins with Mexican law enforcement officials (transitos to federales) over the years.

Have been cuffed and placed in the back of police cars. Have followed officials "to the station." Have just paid the mordida outright. Have talked my way out of mordida. Have given police and soldiers other items in lieu of money on 2 or 3 occassions.

I've only been worried--really worried--on two occassions. Some officers can be extremely dangerous to mess with. I more or less cooperate at every step in the process.

Still, I love that country and continue to visit. Was there 2 weekends ago and will be riding there solo this weekend.

My advice: handle the situation quickly and at the lowest possible level. Property and money are easily replaced.

And if you don't get hurt too bad, it adds to the adventure and leaves you with a good story.

Last edited by Danny Diego; 7 Jun 2013 at 03:22.
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Old 16 Jun 2013
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Passports scribbles.


Horrendous! Just checking what's been written on my passport from African crossings etc. Never thought to look before!

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