Guns on the Border
Aguas Verdes Travel Blog› entry 10 of 25 › view all entries
The Peruvian-Ecuadorian border is by far the the sketchiest, shaddiest and just plane out most horrifying place that I have ever seen in my entire life. I was scarred shitless.
We left Trujillo and headed toward the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border. Our original plan was just take a bus straight to Quito, but, as any traveler knows, original plans usually never work out. Some one informed us that you must drive to the border, clear Peruvian customs first, then cross the border by foot to clear Ecuadorian customs and then find and Ecuadorian bus company to bring you to Quito. At the time, it didnt sound like that bad, so, we took off.
After a long ride, we arrived in Aguas Verdes, a Peruvian town on the Ecuadorian border natorious for its highly illeagal black market, gun smuggling, drug dealing and also a little kid napping here and there, in other words, its not a place for tourism. Whatever, I must admit, I was little confident, I mean, Ive have already passed through some pretty dangerous places, Sao Paulo, Ciudad del Este and Lima, I thought this place would be a breeze. Man was I ever wrong.
We hop of the bus right in front of the Peruvian customs office. It was a wreck, there were no pavement on the roads, all the buidling were shacks and the people were eyeing the hell out of us. We step inside and find our place in the line. For about five minutes, everything was good, but, we knew it wouldnt be like that forever. Some rusty fellow (pretty much the only words I can use to describe him) approached my friend and commented on his aviator glasses, "Hey, you must a mafia guy, Siciliano? Cool glasses, where did you get them, how much did they cost?" My friend laughed a litte and played it cool. Then, the rusty guy said, "Hey man, Im in the mafia too, check this out!"
Thats when old rusty pulled out his gun and pointed it right in front of my friend with me standing right behind him. Everyone saw, including the police, but carried on with their business as it was nothing. I went into shock, assured that this rusty son of a bitch was gonna shoot me just take the few dolars I had in my pocket. Then, suddenly, he laughed, and started complimenting it, "Its a nice gun, right? You want to touch it?" Oh, thank you God, he didnt want to rob us, he just wanted to show off his new birthday present. And, by the way, no, I dont want to touch your gun.
However, that was just the first leg of the trip. We pass customs on the Peruvian side, then had to cross over to Ecuador and do the same exact thing. The border was still a good 20 mins away, and we had no clue where to go. Out of nowhere, two guys, about our age, approached us and said they would take us across the border for a tip. We didnt know if this was another scam or what, but we had now other option, it was either go with these guys and put our lives in their hands, or do it ourselves with out knowing what to do or where to go. Logically, we chose the former.
Suarez and I get into a tiny three wheeled cab that could only fit two people, my other friend, Stash, got in to another one alone. Next thing I realized, Stash´s taxi was gone, disapeared into thin air. We travel through this shaddy town and arrive about 10 mins from the border, thats when the driver said we had to get out and do the rest by foot because there was too much mud in the road. So, we hop out and treck through the 4 inch mud rest of the way to the border.
Those 10 mins seemes like an eternity. Remember the part I told you about the black market, well, we were right in the middle of it. AKs, drugs and a few child prostitutes were being sold on every corner in the thick mud. Everyone stopped what they were doing just to take a look at us and wonder what the hell a few Americans were doing on their property. If it were a movie, the back ground music would of of came to a screatching stop. I didnt make eye contact with anyone, just kept following our new Ecuadorian.
Finally, we reached the border and crossed, officially in Ecuador. Our guide then avised us, "Ok guys, its safe, you can take a picture if you would like?"
I respond, "picture, why?"
He then continued saying, "Well, you made it, most foreigners that come here see how bad it is then turn back, you guys crossed though, good job!"
Wow, thanks for telling us that now. However, we still had one problem, actually, a big 6´3" problem. Our friend, Stash, where the hell is Stash???
We arrive at the bus station where our "guide" said our friend would arrive. 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins, nothing... no Stash, where the hell is Stash? Our guide kept assuring us that he would come any minute, but we were still very worried. Finally, just when we were about to go inform the police (even though they would not of done anything), Stash come strolling up.
Ok, so I guess we made it through, thats the story of the border, lots of guns, contraband and other illegal products. Ill admit, it was the most scared I have ever been in my life, but at the same time, it was also the most alive I have ever felt, I guess thats what happens when adreneline flows through your veins like a class 6 rapid. I do not recomend any one to cross the Peruvian-Ecuadorian border by foot. Its a rush, yea, and maybe nothing will happen if you do do it, but its definitely something I will never consider doing again.