Read and avoid being a victim like I was
I woke up at 4 PM on a Sunday afternoon lying on top of my bed at my Airbnb with all my clothes on. The last thing I remember is being out with three Mexican girls in Guadalajara at 10 or 11 PM the night before. How did I get here? What happened in that missing chunk of time?
It all started on a Friday evening. I was sitting around watching Netflix and relaxing after a good week of work, chatting with some girls on Tinder. I was staying at an AirBnB for a month in Guadalajara Mexico. I was checking it out as Mexico’s 2nd biggest city after Mexico City. I know the mention of Tinder will get people thinking, “Dude what are you doing?”
Yes, I was on Tinder for the traditional reasons you might think of, but I was also on there for another reason: to get better at Spanish.
Normally in the US I would not be chatting with a bunch of girls on Tinder and meeting for coffee dates or one drink. But in Latin America, this was a great way to practice my Spanish in real time. Most of these girls I wasn’t that interested in but having to talk with them via text and in person in Spanish is a hard thing to do. I was enjoying the experience and I did meet some really cool girls, including a girl I wanted to date in Colombia. I had already met up with several girls this way without incident.
So I was sitting there on a Friday night chatting with several girls on Tinder and watching the final season of Ozark. This one girl seemed to have a cool personality and she spoke decent English. This is not the normal thing that I’ve run across, as most girls speak only Spanish on Tinder in LATAM.
She had put something in her profile about loving to travel or let’s go on a trip or something. I messaged her and said yeah I’ll pick a country and let’s go. She replied to me “Why don’t we have a drink and chat first?”
One weird thing happened: we were having a discussion on Friday night and the entire thread just disappeared from tinder. I think this happens when someone deactivates their account or hides it. I had this happen with the Colombian girl that I went out on a date with and liked. So I had seen this before. Not necessarily a red flag but it could have been. We’re going to keep an eye out for red flags in this story.
So the discussion with this girl disappeared on Friday night. I wrote it off as a glitch and went to bed. The next day, the conversation popped back up around mid day. We went back to talking about meeting for a drink and we decided to meet at 7 o’clock at night.
I messaged my Airbnb host about where to meet this girl. He and I had gone out for a drink ourselves one night and got to be friends. He gave me a couple of cool spots.
I went over to one of these places and was there at 7 PM. It was a cool hipster spot with young Mexican people having a good time. I made friends with the table next to me and was practicing my Spanish as I do.
The girl no-shows me. I messaged her several times and got nothing in return. So I sat there for a few hours and enjoyed my cocktails and talked to my neighbors. Around 9 PM I left and was walking back to my Airbnb when the girl messaged me.
She says she was stuck at work and she is now available. She said she is not too far away from me in the same area of Chapultepec that I am living in. Avenida Chapultepec is this long divided street that has all kinds of bars and restaurants along it.
So we agreed to meet up again where I am. I sent her my location on WhatsApp and she said she would be there in a few minutes. 10 minutes later she walks up to me and introduces herself.
We start talking and her English is pretty good and I have enough Spanish that we can go back-and-forth and we’re doing fine. We decide to go into the bar that I’m standing in front of because it’s playing American rock music and she says she likes that kind of music and I do too. We wait for 10 minutes to get a table and then we are seated. So far the conversation is really nice. She seems like a total girl next-door. Cute but not overly gorgeous and nice and friendly. For context, most Latin girls are friendly and open to talking to guys in general.
We sit down and order a beer. She asked me if I like Negra Modelo, I say yes and she orders two pints on the draft. Beers come and we are talking. Everything seems natural as it would be back home. Side note: another safety thing I could have done here was take a photo of the girl with me and her ID. This is what the security guys do at the buildings in Latin America. I should be doing this BEFORE I agree to meet up with a girl.
She tells me that her girlfriend is in the area too because she also has a date. She asked me if it’s OK if her girlfriend comes by to have one drink with us before her date. This seems completely normal to me so I say sure. This is the first time that I should have seen a red flag and made a different decision.
One of the rules in dealing with strange girls in foreign countries as a man is you never let them team up on you. It’s always one on one. When you’re in the US, it’s typically the more girls the merrier because who cares. When you’re in foreign countries, you need to stick to one girl so you can keep an eye on her. Plus you can always physically beat one girl in a fight.
The second girl shows up and she is another regular looking girl who is generally cute. This one is more quiet because she doesn’t speak any English at all. I can talk in Spanish and keep a conversation going but once they talk fast Spanish I lose track of what they’re saying. Girl number two orders a beer for herself from the waitress.
The three of us now have a chat for a bit and then my girl tells me that the other girl’s date is now coming. Is it OK if she joins us for a minute as these two are supposed to leave and go on their date? She tells me that the girl’s date is another girl, meaning that this is a lesbian date. She asked me if this is OK or if I have a problem with it. Of course I don’t have a problem with any kind of dating structure and I tell her this. What I should’ve had a problem with is now there are three girls against one of me. This is my second missed chance to avoid this situation.
The third girl shows up and she is a much larger lesbian looking girl. She’s at least as big as me. She is really nice though and speaks half English and half Spanish like my date. The new girl orders a Michelada and the girls decide to order some hot wings. This is all completely normal if you apply USA standards to it. However, in Latin America, I should be thinking about how to get out of this situation immediately.
I remember the hot wings coming and me and my girl wanting to order another beer. This time I pick the beer and it’s a Belgian beer called Duvel. This beer only comes in bottles. Side note: it would be smarter for me to order a bottle of beer and hold it in my hand than to be drinking draft beers. Nobody is sticking something in the beer that you’re holding in your hand. In this case, the server brings us 2 beers in a bottle. My girl ordered the same as me and the waitress gave us two beer glasses. I pour my beer into my glass and start drinking it out of the glass.
By the way, the seating arrangements at this 4 top table are such: I decided to sit next to my date on the banquette because this place was kind of loud and I thought it would be easier to hear her speaking Spanish as I’m trying to learn. This probably ended up being a mistake because then my beer was super close to my date as opposed to being on the other side of the table where she couldn’t reach it. This could be an accidental mistake I made trying to be better at hearing Spanish. That doesn’t change the fact that I blew through a couple red flags and could have left at any time unscathed. However, once we have 4 people there would have been at least 1 girl close to me.
After this point, the last two memories I have are specific but I’m not sure in what chronological order they happened. One thing I remember is our beer getting down in our glasses and my date saying hey let’s chug the end of our beer. This is just a fun thing in the US and it’s not a big deal. In retrospect this is probably where the drugs were in my beer.
The second thing I remember is someone suggesting all three of the girls should go back to my apartment. I vaguely remember thinking that’s not really a good idea but it’s pretty hazy. I do think I told them that I live nearby in a nice building or something. This is a huge mistake. I shouldn’t be telling these strange girls anything about where I live, what I do or anything else. I also let my guard down and brought my new iPhone 13 mini out tonight for some reason. I usually use my backup phone for this kind of thing. So mistakes were made and they were made by me. I should not be pulling out a brand new iPhone in front of three girls in Latin America that I don’t know and just met. Especially 3 on 1 with nobody on my team.
I don’t know which of those last two memories were the final one. I do know I woke up the next day in all my clothes on the bed in the Airbnb. I was super groggy and could barely stand. I think (not sure) that I stood up and then fell down because my equilibrium was way off. I know I fell down at some point but I honestly cannot remember when it was. I had a huge bruise on the underside of arm by the shoulder and I have no recollection of where that came from. Upon waking, I discovered my wallet had no credit cards in it, both of my phones were gone and they took the power plug to my laptop.
The only smart thing that I did was I hid my laptop and my iPad in the apartment before I went out. This is something I do all the time even in hotel rooms if there isn’t a big enough safe to put my stuff in. That saved me because I would’ve had nothing on me if I had lost my laptop and iPad.
I got on Skype, called and canceled all my credit cards and my phone service for both phones.
I looked online and the girls had run charges on every one of my cards. My credit card companies had already stopped the cards for fraud holds. I had two debit cards and five credit cards on me in total. They were able to charge or pull cash for about $1,200 total. The credit card companies and banks gave me all this money back so I didn’t lose that money. My backup phone was worthless but my new iPhone I had to replace for $600. So I had a cash loss to myself of $600.
One of the dangers of getting drugged by girls like this in foreign countries is that these girls are not pharmacists. They don’t know exactly how to measure out the drug and give you the correct amount for your body weight. There are stories of people that have died because the girls gave them too much of the drugs. Or guys are taking other drugs and the combination is deadly. I can say that they must’ve given me at least a little too much because I was groggy until about Monday night. I am not sure what kind of drug it was but it was either Scopolamine or similar Mexican version. Scopolamine is a drug that has been used for motion sickness and other normal things for 140 years. It is also used to drug people and rob them.
My equilibrium was bad all day Monday and I didn’t feel myself until mid day Tuesday. For example, once my head cleared up on Tuesday I wasn’t even sure that I had canceled my credit cards correctly on Sunday. I went back in and double checked everything to make sure I did it right because I wasn’t sure.
The upside to this is that I didn’t die. The downside is that I made mistakes and put myself in a position where I might’ve died. That is 100% my fault. Let’s analyze where it went wrong and how I could’ve done this differently.
First of all, I violated the number one rule of dealing with strange women in foreign countries: Don’t allow yourself to be in a position where there’s more than one girl. No matter how cool or normal it seems with these girls, you have to treat it like like you’re doing a drug deal in Scarface. You have to be hyper aware and on the lookout for any kind of signs in danger. And bail the moment it feels off. Better to hurt some feelings than end up dead.
I should have bailed on this thing when the girl no showed me. That’s kind of rule number one of dating anyway. I was flying back to the US in five days and I didn’t need to meet up with this girl. I could have gone home and relaxed and none of this would have happened. That’s a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking but nevertheless.
The second chance to save myself was when she said her friend wanted to come and join us. If I had sat on the other side of the table and told her no I just wanted to have a date with her, she probably would’ve made an excuse and gotten out of there. I did not do that. It i likely that she was on a date with another guy before me and they weren’t able to drug him so I came up to bat next.
Even if I missed all these opportunities, once they just decided to bring a third girl in, I should’ve paid the tab and left. It is possible I was already under the influence of the drugs in the first beer. I can’t remember to be sure. It was an obvious red flag that I was in danger when it was 3 on 1.
I went downstairs on Sunday and I talked with the security guard. Every good building in Latin America has multiple 24 hour security guards. Every single guest has to show ID to get in.
I asked the guard if he remembers seeing me the night before. He said he did. He was working when I came home Saturday night at about midnight. He said I was with three girls and I looked kind of drunk. He had their IDs written down. Two were from Monterey and one was from some small town outside of Guadalajara.
At this point you might be thinking, hey you know who these girls are, why not go to the police? I thought about that of course.
It probably was a good idea to report this and get it on the record. However, the chances of catching them are next to none. By the time I was able to think clearly it was Monday or Tuesday and I was flying out on Wednesday. I also had the situation where I liked my Airbnb host and I didn’t want to get him in trouble at his nice condo building for mistakes that I made. I take 100% responsibility for this situation.
One security measure that I should have put in force is you talk to the door people at the building you’re staying in and you tell them to be on the lookout for this situation. You tell them that if you show up with a girl, two girls or a girl and a guy late at night and you appear drunk to not let you in your own building. Or only let you in and nobody else. Again I let my guard down and did not do this. I was staying in a nice neighborhood in Guadalajara and was not on my normal alert status.
As you can see, I had four or five opportunities to do something to avoid the situation. I have to give a shout out to these girls because they were extremely good at playing this scenario out. They took it step-by-step and slowly escalated things so that I was lured into the trap. I had opportunities to get away which would’ve left them looking completely innocent and my suspicions would only be in my head. Bottom line: these girls were good.
The only thing I got right was hiding my laptop and iPad. So I was able to function on Wi-Fi after I woke up. If I didn’t have my computer I would’ve been in really big trouble. I would’ve had to borrow a phone or go and buy a new laptop on a Sunday in my condition and try to get myself going.
It’s a bit embarrassing to write a story like this but I feel like we can all learn from it. Part of travel is meeting all kinds of people and if you’re a single guy, meeting some girls. I have met some amazing girls all around the world. And now I’ve been drugged by three of them. It can happen. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I’ve never even been robbed anywhere in the world having been to 31 countries and many of them a number of times.
The bottom line is that when you are a person that (relatively) has money and are traveling to a country where there is a lot of poverty, there are going to be bad people that want to rob you. Your job is to avoid these people. To avoid situations where bad things can happen. I let myself get lured into a dangerous situation. I have felt like I was in a bad situation before in my travels and I got out of there right away. One time at a shopping mall in Shanghai and one time at a bar in Laos.
99% of the people in these countries are not bad people. I’ve had all kinds of situations where locals have helped me out in many countries. The citizens of these countries are proud of their country and they hate it themselves when any kind of crime occurs because it makes their country look bad. The police do attempt to apprehend these folks sometimes. In retrospect, I should have at least reported the incident to the police to get it on the girls’ records in case it ever mattered.
Safety recap on how to avoid being drugged while traveling:
- Never hang out with more than 1 girl you don’t know
- Better yet, bring a local with you or at least another male friend
- Keep track of your drink and order bottled beers
- Give the doorman at your building the rundown on how to help protect you
- Only bring 1 credit card and your backup phone out with you
- Keep all your stuff in the safe if you have one and/or hide anything valuable
- If things even remotely seem off, get out of there
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