Luigi and I hitchhiked to the small coastal town La Guira. Three friendly girls gave us a ride. From Linton Bay where the boat laid in the marina it took about 20 minutes. We visited the town, had dinner and joined a local fiesta. I met some cool people from Panama City and decided to stay longer when Luigi headed back to the boat. Around 2 o clock I started walking along the dark road, stretching my thumb out for every car that passed by.
A dirty white limousine with shaded windows rolled up. It stopped and I got in the back. The two guys in the front explained how dangerous it is to walk here alone at night. One was from Panama; his friend came from Venezuela. “Where I am from, people just get shot in the streets”, he told.
They wanted five dollars from me for the lift. But since I didn’t have much money I said I would rather walk if they don’t want to help me for free.
“Please stop, I want to walk!”, I begged but they kept on going. “Maybe they changed their mind about the money”, I thought. Up on a mountain, in the middle of nowhere, they finally stopped the car.
“Muchas Gracias”, I opened the door. Suddenly the two guys jumped out of the car and stood in front of me. “Give me your money!” one of them screamed with his right hand held behind his back.
“Maybe he has a knife – a gun – or maybe it’s just a bluff!?” thoughts span around my head. Even though I had a sailor knife in my pocket, I definitely wasn’t in the position to fight! Life is not the right bid to poker with!
Handing over all the money I had in my pockets -16 $ total – I walked downhill hoping they wouldn’t follow me. Squeaking tires left me in the dark.
The car was gone – a shock remained.
Trembling through the rest of the night, every passing vehicle made me hide in the bushes. Finally, I saw lights of the marina shining on the water in the next bay.
Glad to be alive I tried to reflect this learning experience. I still believe there are more good than bad people out there. But one thing I know for sure: I am not going to hitchhike alone at night anymore!