Some travel destinations have associated rituals that have become just as famous as the destination itself. You can’t visit the Blarney Stone without giving it a kiss. You can’t check out the Trevi Fountain without tossing in a coin. You can’t see the statue of Juliet in Verona without touching its right breast.
And thanks to a British tourist, you won’t be able to visit Pablo Escobar’s grave without snorting a line of cocaine.
The anonymous Englishman was visiting the grave of Pablo Escobar in the town of Itaguí, Colombia, where he decided to pay tribute to the notorious drug kingpin in a way that’s both fitting and completely inappropriate at the same time. After inhaling the cocaine, the tourist turns to the camera and says, “I’m Gordon Ramsay, mate!” That’s a reference to the 2017 ITV documentary, Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine, in which the celebrity chef explores the international drug trade, and comes to terms with his friend’s 2003 death by overdose.
A friend filmed the moment of debauchery and posted it on Facebook. He later deleted it, but not before someone on the Internet made a copy and preserved it for the rest of time.
Depending on your point of view, Pablo Escobar is either one of the 20th century’s most notorious criminals, or its most successful businessmen, or both. Escobar was born in 1949 and helped found the the Medellín Cartel, which he would later take full control of himself. At the height of his power, Escobar was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine into the US each day, worth about half a billion dollars. He made Forbes magazine’s 100 most wealthy people from 1987 to 1994, topping out at #7 in 1989, with a net worth of about 30 billion. Along the way, he is estimated to have murdered anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 people, including 200 judges and 1,000 police officers, journalists, and government employees.
Yet Escobar was also known for charity, donating millions to the poorest Colombians and funding social services when the government could not. He even built a whole neighborhood in the hills above Medellín. This cultivated a Robin Hood-like image, which helps explain why his grave site is a popular tourist destination even in 2018, with “cocaine tour” groups visiting it on a daily basis.
The British tourist’s stunt is divisive, just like Escobar himself. Some people reacted with outrage, saying that it glorifies crime and disrespects Escobar’s victims. Others loved it, and a few were even inspired to try it for themselves. Two Americans copied the tribute in a video that will be taken off Youtube any minute now:
Pretty sure the Dallas Cowboys did not sign off on this use of their logo.
Meanwhile, an Aussie tourist not only snorted rails off Escobar’s grave, he got a full-size print of the occasion, which I can only assume will hang next to his collection of antique Ukiyo-e woodblock paintings.
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
So it looks like doing rails off Escobar’s grave is well on its way to becoming a travel tradition of its own. But if kissing the Blarney Stone gives you the gift of gab, this one will give you the gift of thinking you have the gift of gab, but actually you’ve spent the last 45 minutes raving about how awesome Vin Diesel is.
God help us all.