I'm in Otavalo, a small town in the North of Ecuador. My travel guide tells me there’s a beautiful view point one hour’s walk away. I feel zen and inspired and begin my solo hike. But after a while, the houses become scarce. I look back and the city seems minuscule. I keep going.
Suddenly, I hear barking. I look up: two dodgy dogs are racing towards me, fangs out. Adrenaline rush, I run, praying Pachamama to spare me the lacerated legs and rabies' shots. After an excruciating sprint, they reach the edge of their territory and give up. I laugh, make it to the view point and open my guide book. Only then do I read: “Warning: Do not go without a local, reports of tourists being assaulted in this area”. Great.
I breathe deep, squint to absorb the magnificent view for two seconds and bugger off. On my way down (dog detour included), an old woman grabs my arm: “What are you doing here?! There’s ladrones on this road every day waiting for gringos like you to rob. Let me walk you through another route”. Truth or lie? I decide to trust her. On the road below, I see two black cars with tainted windows. She saved my ass.