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Murder, muggings and an earthquake - welcome to Colombia!

David Wood and Nigel Barling on their 3 week holiday in Colombia
David Wood and Nigel Barling on their 3 week holiday in Colombia

David Wood and Nigel Barling on their three-week holiday in Colombia

by Tania Steere


A business venture in Colombia led to one man experiencing murder, mugging and an earthquake.
Now David Wood’s terrifying journey can be read online.

The 60-year-old, of Ham Green, Upchurch, said: “The average person does not usually have such a wide range of unusual experiences so I thought it would make good reading.”

'An Englishman in Colombia’ tells the harsh reality of the hostility on the streets in the 1990s in Colombia.

As a westerner David was a target. He was mugged six times during his time out there and he regularly saw people being robbed in broad daylight.

Extreme violence was also an everyday occurrence.

David Wood on a 3 week holiday in Colombia
David Wood on a 3 week holiday in Colombia

The country was politically insecure due to corruption within the government because of its links with the drug underworld.

The first time Mr Wood first visited the country was when he went on a three-week holiday with his friend Nigel Barling , also from Upchurch, in 1987.

“We thought we would have a holiday with some new and exciting experiences, dreaming of our own El-Dorado,” he said.

Little did they know they would have some encounters that would leave them lucky to be alive. One incident saw them being chased by Tikuna Indians through the Amazon Forest after they visited their village and the natives demanded money.

But despite his experiences on holiday, David returned to the country in January 1989 and went into partnership with two Colombians in Bogota, exporting exotic fruit to London.

Things were going well until one of his partners, Jairo Castiblanco was killed in a terrorist attack. The 33-year-old was onboard the internal Avianca plane when it was blown up by a bomb, which had been planted by a drug cartel, on November 29, 1989. It was travelling, from Bogoto to Cali.

He finally left in 1997 to teach English to students at the International British Institute in Nizwa, Oman.

“I decided I needed to work in a more tranquil and secure location,” he said.
However, he plans to return to Colombia with Mr Barling next year.

  • He said: “I have no regrets about spending 10 years of my life in a very interesting and beautiful country, even if an element of danger is always present.”
    To view An Englishman in Columbia visit http://colqat.weebly.com
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