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This is a question Travel

I've had guns pointed at me in many different countries, sometimes even by our own side. I've also sat on my own on a beach on a desert island, which was nice because nobody was trying to shoot me. Tell us your tales of foreign travel.

Thanks to SnowytheRabbit for the suggestion

(, Thu 18 Apr 2013, 17:43)
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Kidnapped in Kinshasa
Kind of playing into my hands as my cunning plan is to spend years posting my travel stories on b3ta before eventually compiling them into a huge and boring book that I can give to people as presents. However back to the topic, and the point I probably came closest to being murdered.

I was heading down Boulevard du 30 Juin on foot because the taxis in central Kinshasa have a pretty poor reputation when a car pulled up next to me and the passenger flashed a police ID and asked to see my ID. He took my passport and said he would have to check on my place of residence - this looked like an easy ride back to the garage I was headed to anyway, so I wasn't too concerned - until at the next corner two other guys got in and sandwiched me in the back seat, and they took off down the Boulevard in the wrong direction.

Alarm bells started ringing. As long as we stayed on the Boulevard I knew I was safe, as police are at every junction, and traffic moves very slowly, but I knew that if we left the Boulevard I could be in trouble. Kidnappings were pretty common, and the best scenario was that I would be stripped and beaten – the worst and more common one was where I would be killed to avoid witnesses. The night before my host had told me about crashing through a dodgy roadblock at night and having the militia empty a full Kalashnikov magazine at their Land Rover as they sped off – which was preferable to stopping and being murdered. In my most authoritative voice (don't laugh, it works more often than you'd think) I demanded they stop immediately as they clearly weren't taking me to check on my residence, and a second goon - the one to my right - assured me that everything was OK as they were police. And of course he had to show me his ID, which was clearly mickey-mouse.

For all the emotions I might have felt anger was foremost – at myself for putting myself in this position when I really should have known better. Apart from that I was surprisingly calm – fear simply wasn’t a factor; I focused on the fact that it was time to get out and I needed a plan.

As surreptitiously as possible I put my hand in my pocket and palmed my ancient XDA stylus - not much to look at but it's 4 inches of steel, sharp, and handy when you need something to stick in somebody’s neck. That was for the guy on my right – the guy on the left was about to have his ear bitten off – ears are great – they piss blood everywhere and in the mayhem my plan was to kick the fuck out of anything that moved while climbing over the bloke with the sore neck, and out the door . All very Andy McNab, but no way were we leaving the Boulevard with me still in that car. I’d faced a few dodgy situations up to this point and had had a Kalashnikov pointed at my chest less than week earlier, but I still remember registering surprise at the complete lack of fear and the cold resolve in a situation that I would have thought would leave me shitting myself.

We were approaching a junction and the car was moving across so I figured that they would exit there, so I had to act in the next few seconds. The traffic came to a pause a few yards from the junction which I saw was manned by a gaggle of the yellow and blue attired, and hopelessly unarmed traffic cops; the car was turning left so it was time for action, and a part of me was aghast at what I was about to do next. Yes, I really did it – I leant across the bloke on my left and screamed like a woman and pounded on the window. The cops looked over in shock at this strange white man who had clearly lost all dignity, and then started running towards the car. My driver pulled onto the kerb but clearly wasn’t going to get far, and one of the others muttered something about maybe letting me go, which I took as an opportunity to scramble out, pausing only to pluck my passport from the hands of guy in the front passenger seat. The traffic police caught up with me as the car moved back into the traffic flow, but they weren’t keen on chasing the car as they weren’t armed, whereas the baddies may well have been, and I wasn’t particularly fussed either way now that I was out. After tipping the police generously (maybe as much as $15 as I recall) I decided I chance it with a local taxi after all - I mean how much worse could they be?


Length? 18 months and 70,000km
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 11:28, 3 replies)
If they make Taken 3,
I hope Liam Neeson completes his mission via screaming and limp slaps.
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 11:39, closed)

I survived, but I'm not so sure about my dignity...
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 14:50, closed)
This made me smile, have a click.

(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 12:08, closed)

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