I don’t often tell people I was kidnapped, as they tend to envision gunmen and extreme treks in a forest or months spent in a locked up room, waiting for ransom demands to be paid.
My kidnapping wasn’t anything like that. Although it did have a dramatic escape plan. So here is the story – be warned though, this is a pretty long story, so sit back and get comfortable.
Drugs Kill – But thankfully Belizean Kidnappers Don’t
Looking back it was quite an entertaining night, but at the time it was far from it. Chalk it up to having a few moments of naivety after a few too many beers.
There were four of us out enjoying a night on the town in San Ignacio, Belize. It was hot and the Belikin beers were cold. But the bars all abruptly closed way too early.
Fueled by alcohol, we wandered the streets looking for lights, looking for a bar. No luck. We reached the end of town and came to a bridge; and this is where our night adventure began.
Enter Craig, the homeless guy.
Our homeless buddy Craig in San Ignacio, Belize
Craig knew of a place that was open, which had beer. Perfect! We cross the bridge to the other side of town, into the darkness. Assured it is only 10 minutes walk away, we are in high spirits and promise to buy Craig a drink.
Twenty minutes later, we’re in the midst of a dark residential neighbourhood. Craig insists it’s still just 10 minutes walk away. We’re now so far from our hotel, the four of us agree to continue on.
At last, a shack of a bar appears in the distance. True to his word, Craig delivered us to a place with alcohol. Unbeknownst to all of us, he also delivered us to our friendly kidnapper.
We chatted with a drunken guy who played for the Belizean National Soccer team and a friendly lady who seemed to like us a little too much. After a couple of beers at this random shack, it was closing time. We were tired and hungry, wanting to head back for a sleep and a late night bite to eat. Lucky for us – the lady drinking at this ‘bar’ was a taxi driver!
We all pile into the taxi lady’s van and take off for some food and sleep.
Or so we thought.
Careening down windy, dark roads, she begins cackling like a witch. A little concerned, we remind her we are hungry and want to stop for food.
“No, no food”, she says, laughing.
So, we ask her to take us back to our hotel.
Nope that isn’t going to happen either. Even after offering to pay a decent sum, it seems she had other plans for us on this random night in Belize.
After a confusing, wild ride this now seemingly crazy lady stops her van outside a big concrete building in the middle of nowhere. Darkness all around, except for this ominous building, which for some reason has loud music pumping out of it.
This is when taxi lady advises us it is time to dance.
No food, no sleep, no idea where we are. Without much choice, we all reluctantly agree to go into this intimidating concrete building.
Inside the crazy lady meets a friend of hers and ushers us past a couple large, intimidating figures in the dark. Her ‘borther’ apparently is the one playing DJ and providing the music. As her and her friend pull me and my buddy to the dance floor, a night of unwanted touching and dancing begins.
The two girls, and Craig the homeless guy are luckily left alone and get to watch the show. Thankfully the song ends soon enough and we’re able to convince our captors that we should drink more – our treat! Buying a round of drinks gives us a short break from dancing.
After a few more songs of being groped and sweat on by the crazy lady we need more beers. But really, we need to get out of here. Grabbing more beers, we convince the girls to dance with us too, so they can act like a barrier between us the sweaty-gropey ladies.
Time seems to be moving horrendously slow now, with every song seemingly going on forever. Tired and frustrated we’re finally given some kind of reprieve as the music temporarily stops and allows us to sit while the two ladies chat on their own – on the dance floor – waiting to grab us again when the music restarts.
One. More. Beer. We get another round and talk amongst ourselves that we need to escape. We need a distraction or some kind of plan. The big, burly guys guarding the door and hanging out at the bar have been watching us like hawks the entire time. Strange glances go back and forth across the dark room between the crazy lady and the scary dark figures. The mood slowly starts to change from plain weird, to scary and sketchy.
And then the music starts again.
Gyrating towards us, arms outstretched, we are summoned to dance once more. With Craig the homeless guy now practically falling over drunk, the rest of us shuffle around on the dance floor. Craig has it easy – the crazy lady and others don’t care about him. He’s safe, and we’re buying him free drinks!
The music goes on, and on. But at the same time it is somewhat of a relief. The vibe in the room is tense and dancing at least appeases the devil dancers.
As another song slows down, we’re allowed back to our table to finish our beers. Sitting, we all stare at each other. The decision is made. As soon as the ‘guards’ are distracted talking to the DJ again, we’re going to make a run for it.
The plan: Bolt across the dancefloor, through the dark hallway, down some stairs to the street, turn left and run.
We sit. We wait. Our beers empty. We stare at each other again. The crazy lady and her friend are chatting, distracted. The scary figures turn their backs to us and chat to the DJ.
“3, 2, 1, now!”
Jumping up from our table, we dart past the chatting ladies and figures in the dark. It’s everyone for themselves as we race out of there as fast as we can. A blast of fresh air greets us as we exit the doorway out of the devil dance hall and hit the street.
We don’t stop, we don’t talk, we don’t look back. We just run down the road and into the darkness.
Our friendly hotel in San Ignacio…will we get back there safe?
Hearts thumping, the night silence is broken by a faint scream. A voice calling out in the darkness, behind us. Then we hear something again. Are they chasing us?
We’re now far enough away for a quick glance back. It’s Craig, our homeless buddy. Yelling at us to wait, but we can’t. He has a cane and will slow us down. “Sorry Craig!” we all yell out and continue running.
Around a corner and out of sight, we stop and regroup. The four of us are all fine. It’s been a messed up night and we’re totally lost.
Then some lights appear in the distance. A vehicle, coming towards us. The four of us jump into some bushes and hide. It might be the crazy lady looking for us.
Nope, just a small car.
We wander aimlessly for the next hour or so, not sure where to go. Nothing is around except fields and darkness.
Now totally exhausted, we agree to take the risk and hail down the next vehicle that passes, instead of jumping in the bushes. The night ends with us hitchhiking and bumming a ride with a friendly local farmer. We pile in the back of his pickup truck and he drives us to our hotel back in town. He wants nothing but we give him a small pile of cash for being in the right place at the right time.
Knowing that the sun will be up soon, we stumble to our rooms to sleep and forget about the crazy night we were ‘kidnapped’ in Belize by an overly friendly crazy lady.