Dangerous Situations

Cascade Wanderer

Adventurer
That’s what I was talking about how far away was he and how far to your jeep
I had parked the Jeep, and was taking a walk along the shore of partially-frozen Lake Kluane. So was the bear! I was headed back towards my Jeep, and so was the bear, from the other direction. I got there first. :)

The bear was aware of me, but didn't seem particularly interested, it was just strolling along. I'd guess we got within 100 yards of each other or so. On that same trip I had several much closer encounters with black bears:



Mostly though, they were just enjoying the fresh spring grass along the side of the road. There was one that I tried to photograph - but he wasn't acting "nice" - so I hopped back in the Jeep and drove away. That was the only bear that gave me a worry on the three week trip. I think I've got a photo of him somewhere - he wasn't casual or relaxed around me, so I left. I don't usually get too worried about black bears - but that one worried me by his actions, his body language and he just kept looking right at me, not grazing on the lush green grass or anything. He was probably more worried about me - but whatever - it was time to leave.

Bear spray, I had that stuff with me. Usually do on my trips here in the Northwest. Glad I've never had to find out if it works or not. :)

Sometimes after a few too-many bear sightings in a day, the little nylon backpacking tent didn't seem like much of a shelter at night.

Regards, Guy
 

alanymarce

Active member
Lots of good advice in previous comments.

I've travelled overland in Asia since 1969, Africa since 1973, in Latin America since 1979, and travelled widely in a lot of the world for many years. The "overland trips" include hitch-hiking through Africa for 2-1/2 months, road-tripping through Africa for 10 months, and in South America for 11 months. I'm familiar with Algeria, Colombia, Pakistan, Venezuela... (I could waste readers' time with more detail however I hope I've calibrated my experience).

I've never had a problem anywhere when following the rules others have noted above.

We experienced one bungled mugging attempt in downtown Rio on the weekend - we were not robbed, nor did we come to any harm (the muggers apologised later...). We should have changed our minds when we realised that Rio's business centre is completely different in character at the weekend and we should have turned around and left on the metro.

We've seen a few firefights (Brazil x 3, DRC x 1, Perú x 1, Venezuela x 1) but none of these involved any threat to us directly, other than the possibility of stray bullets.

The only incidents of which I have direct knowledge (involving friends of mine) were:

1) A couple driving the lead vehicle in a group of 5 vehicles, who had chosen to go ahead and transit Angola during the civil war, and had misjudged the time taken to reach the next town, were driving after dusk and blundered into a military campsite. They were killed in the mistaken belief that they were opposition forces attacking the camp. Tragic, obviously, however it should be noted that they were not following the advice they had been given - both in terms of being in the country at all, and of driving after dark.

2) A friend was held up in The Hague, and ended up in hospital having been knifed by one of the muggers. I don't think that many people would assume that The Netherlands is a country in which one would expect "dangerous situations".

3) A friend was robbed at gunpoint in the elevator of a hotel in Houston. I suspect that a lot of people would in fact think that the USA is a country in which one would expect "dangerous situations".

Speaking of "remote drug areas in Columbia" I imagine that there are indeed many parts of Washington, D.C., where one might be at risk.
 

Ex Animo

Member
My world travel is pretty limited so far but 99% of the time it has been type 1 or type 2 fun and I've felt mostly safe from human caused harm. That being said my wife and I had a very difficult time in India, she was there for an immersion retreat and I met her there when it was done for a week in India before trekking in Nepal. Her guide was a well respected guy and kept most of the men away from the group of western women so aside from a few aggressive men/boys wanting photos with them it was smooth sailing. As soon as that was over and we were traveling just the two of us it became very uncomfortable despite all our efforts to blend in she might as well been covered in neon lights. We had men stare at her, follow her, ask for her photo with them in it, I might as well been invisible and while that may sound charming the was nothing charming about it. There was complete malice with some of these men and India has a big problem with rape right now (we were there in 2015). No psychical harm came to us and when we got to Nepal (my second time going) it was night and day. We talked to several other women who had similar experiences, some much, much worse than ours but the it sucks that the India portion was so tarnished because it is a magical place.

Nepal is great and while my dad was sure I was going to be robbed and was worried about me traveling solo the first time I went I was only ever uncomfortable because of my newbie status as a traveler.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
The bear was aware of me, but didn't seem particularly interested, it was just strolling along.
yep, a well fed, healthy bear is not to interested in anything but easy food. Keep your food odours under control and they almost ignore you,,,,,, unless she has cubs. Then if she thinks you are a threat, well be bear aware always.
 

nickw

Adventurer
I don't have much to add except another perspective, I've traveled quite a bit but never to any place that would be considered super sketchy...but I had a great encounter with a colleague who has though.

The firm I worked for had an office in the UK and this fella was transferred from London to Portland, OR. I was in charge of helping him get set up, finding a place, figuring out where he wanted to live, etc. Now mind you, this guy spent all his free time traveling, 6 weeks a year exploring with a mate of his for several years. He had never been to the US and was scared to death, of Portland of all places. He heard a lot of stories about how many guns people have and was told be very careful about what parts of town he should go to. Got a good laugh out of that....but you hear/read the statistics and I guess you'd come to that conclusion?

He was also scared of bears when we were hiking near the city and of some sort of animal when we were sno-shoeing in the wilderness, couldn't ever figure out what.
 

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Ex Animo

Member
I don't have much to add except another perspective, I've traveled quite a bit but never to any place that would be considered super sketchy...but I had a great encounter with a colleague who has though.

The firm I worked for had an office in the UK and this fella was transferred from London to Portland, OR. I was in charge of helping him get set up, finding a place, figuring out where he wanted to live, etc. Now mind you, this guy spent all his free time traveling, 6 weeks a year exploring with a mate of his for several years. He had never been to the US and was scared to death, of Portland of all places. He heard a lot of stories about how many guns people have and was told be very careful about what parts of town he should go to. Got a good laugh out of that....but you hear/read the statistics and I guess you'd come to that conclusion?

He was also scared of bears when we were hiking near the city and of some sort of animal when we were sno-shoeing in the wilderness, couldn't ever figure out what.
This is such a great point on perceived danger of a place you've never been to. My wife and I are planning to drive the Pan American sometime in the near future and the number of people that think we will be murdered the second we cross into Mexico is saddening. Their only knowledge of Mexico comes from a 20 second clip on cable news about drug cartels, caravans and people swarming the border like its World War Z or something. If you watched the news from another country about the US of course you would be worried about being gunned down and while Mexico and the US have valid dangers that you should be aware of it but doesn't mean it's not worth visiting.
 

MTVR

Well-known member
The firm I worked for had an office in the UK and this fella was transferred from London to Portland, OR. I was in charge of helping him get set up, finding a place, figuring out where he wanted to live, etc. Now mind you, this guy spent all his free time traveling, 6 weeks a year exploring with a mate of his for several years. He had never been to the US and was scared to death, of Portland of all places. He heard a lot of stories about how many guns people have and was told be very careful about what parts of town he should go to. Got a good laugh out of that....but you hear/read the statistics and I guess you'd come to that conclusion.
I've spent time in London and Portland. My wife was a little uncomfortable when we visited the Ace Cafe London, but Oldtown/Chinatown in Portland is MUCH worse- junkies shooting up and crapping on the sidewalks in broad daylight, homeless mentally ill urchins accosting passersby, and so on. The tube trains in London felt perfectly safe, but the last two times I rode the Max train in Portland, I almost had to shoot someone. One was a mentally ill homeless-type male that wanted to fight me for absolutely no reason as soon as the doors on the train closed, and he was armed with a piece of scrap metal that he had apparently found somewhere. The other one was an offender that suddenly began attacking other passengers with a stun gun- when they turned and advanced on me, I told them to stop or they were gonna get shot- they fled the train.
 
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nickw

Adventurer
I've spent time in London and Portland. My wife was a little uncomfortable when we visited the Ace Cafe London, but Oldtown/Chinatown in Portland is MUCH worse- junkies shooting up and crapping on the sidewalks in broad daylight, homeless mentally ill urchins accosting passersby, and so on. The tube trains in London felt perfectly safe, but the last two times I rode the Max train in Portland, I almost had to shoot someone. One was a mentally ill homeless-type male that wanted to fight me for absolutely no reason as soon as the doors on the train closed, and he was armed with a piece of scrap metal that he had apparently found somewhere. The other one was an offender that suddenly began attacking other passengers with a stun gun- when they turned and advanced on me, I told them to stop or they were gonna get shot- they fled the train.
Wow. Speaking of max train, this was big news 3 years ago:


I rode it multiple times a week from 2006 - 2010, got progressively worse....it's even worse now, but with that said, I've never had any issues beyond annoyances and wouldn't hesitate to ride it now.
 

Ex Animo

Member
Wow. Speaking of max train, this was big news 3 years ago:


I rode it multiple times a week from 2006 - 2010, got progressively worse....it's even worse now, but with that said, I've never had any issues beyond annoyances and wouldn't hesitate to ride it now.
For several years the Hollywood Transit Center was my wife's and I's stop to and from downtown for work and we got pretty freaked out when that happened, either one of us could've easily been on that train. The Max is an interesting ride sometimes but 98% of the people on it are just your normal everyday joe trying to get around town the problem is sometimes that other 2% are sometimes very loud/smelly/scary or just flat out weird. I loved not having to drive into work and even enjoyed taking the Max most days but damn can Portland get exhausting having to navigate the homeless population.
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Impossible in FL
We visited Ormond Beach in 2019. Some leftover mulletheads,wife beater shirts,trucks with firepit rims and an occasional Confederate flag. The beach was littered with tourists I guess from New York wearing way too small swimwear.
 

nickw

Adventurer
For several years the Hollywood Transit Center was my wife's and I's stop to and from downtown for work and we got pretty freaked out when that happened, either one of us could've easily been on that train. The Max is an interesting ride sometimes but 98% of the people on it are just your normal everyday joe trying to get around town the problem is sometimes that other 2% are sometimes very loud/smelly/scary or just flat out weird. I loved not having to drive into work and even enjoyed taking the Max most days but damn can Portland get exhausting having to navigate the homeless population.
Amen - it's getting pretty bad. Any green space in/around the city is littered with camps or remnants of. There used to be a cool little piece of single track I used to ride my bike on, maybe 100' yards worth, near Goose Hollow / Hwy 26, I used to hit it 10 years ago....tried to hit it a couple months back, pure garbage, camps, needles and who knows what else. I go through spurts of feeling bad, then getting frustrated, then pissed off...when I see garbage or blatant drug use...but it sure isn't the PDX I knew 15 years ago.
 

MTVR

Well-known member
For several years the Hollywood Transit Center was my wife's and I's stop to and from downtown for work and we got pretty freaked out when that happened, either one of us could've easily been on that train. The Max is an interesting ride sometimes but 98% of the people on it are just your normal everyday joe trying to get around town the problem is sometimes that other 2% are sometimes very loud/smelly/scary or just flat out weird. I loved not having to drive into work and even enjoyed taking the Max most days but damn can Portland get exhausting having to navigate the homeless population.
I'm familiar with the double homicide cited above. It happened at 4:30 in the afternoon. And things just get progressively worse as it gets later and later. Try riding the Max late at night, on one of the last runs. Both of the incidents I spoke of, happened on the Green Line, passing through Felony Flats near midnight...
 
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