In the vast majority of the country there is a very real police and state military presence. Whether you see groups patrolling the city streets, or weaving through traffic on their motorbikes, they are almost always really nice guys-regardless of the M-16’s strapped to their back or draped across their laps.
On all of the roads we have taken since crossing into Colombia-no matter how major or minor-there have always been at least half a dozen police or military roadblocks/checkpoints. Most of the time, they wave you right through, but the trucks also have a tendency to catch their attention, too. First they will inquire about our destination before checking over some of the truck’s documents. Several of those occasions, however, have led to all of us getting out of the trucks, shaking their hands and re-tracing the route on the back of the Sequoia for the whole squad. This time, the muchachos de la carretera weren’t getting away without answering some of our questions…most importantly: Can you take a picture with us?