Dark Tourist (2018) s01e01 Episode Script

Latin America

- [switching on light] - [David typing] [David] I'm a journalist from New Zealand.
And I've always been drawn to the weirder side of life.
[parrot chirping] So I've decided to investigate dark tourism; a global phenomenon where people avoid the ordinary.
And instead head for holidays in war zones, [machine gun] disaster sites, and other off-beat destinations.
[woman screaming] - [David] I'm interested in the mad - [crowd shouting] [David] macabre and morbid.
So I'm off around the world, in search of the ultimate dark tourist experiences.
My first trip takes me to Latin America.
- [priest] Out, demon, out! - [David] In Mexico City, I come face-to-face with the possessed.
It's very loud, isn't it? Very loud.
I head down to Colombia to get as close as I can to Pablo Escobar - Hello! - and grill his personal hitman.
Have you ever been to a psychologist or something? Or have you been to therapy? [David] And I take a tour crossing the border back into America - the hard way.
- Answer me, fucker.
[David] I'm David Farrier, and this trip contains more than 80% death.
[theme music playing] [David] On my first stop, I'm down in Colombia, visiting the city of Medellin, infamous for drug lord Pablo Escobar and his cocaine empire.
I'm on a narco fantasy tour being driven around with a Pablo look-alike who's doing a shady deal on a huge '90s walkie talkie.
[driver] Listen, if he doesn’t understand me clearly, I'll kill his mom, then his dad, and then his grandmother, and if his grandmother is already dead.
I’ll dig her up and kill her again! [David] This is definitely one of the more bizarre cab rides I've ever taken.
And I'll kill his dog and if he doesn’t have one I’ll buy him one and once he’s fallen in love with it, I'll kill it too.
[David] Narco-tourism is one of the latest dark tourism trends.
I've come here to explore the industry that's risen from Pablo's ashes, and talk to the people who are profiting from his dark past.
Pablo's dodgy doppelganger has dropped me off at the infamous neighborhood that's named after him.
Barrio Pablo Escobar clings to a hillside held together by a makeshift labyrinth of staircases.
Painted shrines honoring the king of cocaine are everywhere.
It's weird that he's seen as a kind of local celebrity when you think about all the chaos he's caused.
Pablo Escobar entered the cocaine trade in the 1970s, and by the '80s, he had turned Colombia into the murder capital of the world, slaughtering thousands of people who stood in his way.
Pablo himself met a violent end; shot down on a Medellin rooftop in 1993.
Before I start my Narco-tourism adventure, I want to find out why people in Barrio Pablo Escobar are shouting his praises.
[cheering in Spanish] Kill him, One Eye! Kill him, my son! [David] As one of the poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods, its locals have a fierce reputation, and there are plenty of opinions on Pablo going around.
What do people think of Pablo Escobar in this area? He's the founder of this area.
He built most of these houses.
I come from one of these houses.
He gave a house to my mother and grandmother.
[local] We used to live in a dump.
How could I not love him? [David] Pablo Escobar is the Robin Hood of their hood, but what about the other people of Medellin, the people who saw him as a villain? During his reign, he killed over 1,000 cops, and I'm meeting up with Carlos, who was on the front line back then.
I want to know how the hell he survived those mean streets.
- That was me when I was a cop.
- [David] This is when you were 20.
- [ex-cop] I was in 20s.
- [David] So these were other officers.
[David] How many of these guys would still be alive, do you think? Together with the commanders, probably five.
- Five of them alive from those days? - Five of them alive.
- Yes, from those days.
- How are you alive? Many cops was corrupt and was working for El Cartel de Medellin.
But you know it’s another thing when those guys say ‘Plata o plomo, ’ "Cash or a bullet.
" Man if they can't corrupt you, they kill you.
So you were corrupted? I was corrupted for Pablo Escobar.
I made good money from that guy.
- I never met Pablo Escobar, honest.
- Right.
But he paid you.
I took that money because I wanted to stay alive.
That's probably why you're still alive, because you took Pablo's money.
[David] Carlos took bribes from Pablo, and I don't blame him.
In an ironic twist, he's still collecting paychecks thanks to Pablo.
I've got to be honest with you.
I make Pablo tours.
[both laugh] You do Pablo Escobar tours? Yes, Pablo Escobar tours.
Now, everybody here make more money now when Pablo Escobar is dead, than he was alive.
Look at you, Pablo Escobar.
I win.
Now you're underground, pieces of bones.
I have to say something, Pablo.
Thank you very much, because right now, I'm making money under your name.
[David] Pablo would be proud of all the locals cashing in on his legacy.
He liked making money, and he was very good at it.
Transforming his life from a petty thief in the barrios to a billionaire up in the penthouses.
I'm heading up to the wealthy suburbs, because I've heard about an apartment that Pablo used to live in that's up for sale.
It's the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse inside Pablo's high life.
The apartment's owner, Claudia, was Pablo's sister-in-law, married to his brother, Roberto.
Back in those days, she was a beauty queen.
[David] You look amazing.
- Thank you.
- You still look amazing.
- Nothing's really changed very much.
- Thank you.
- [David] Which is really weird, but cool.
- Thank you.
[David] Her looks may not have changed much, but life in the apartment has.
Claudia is now divorced from Roberto.
These days, it's just her and her dogs.
Do we need the muzzles? - Yes.
- Okay.
Yes, because they're very jealous of me.
[speaking Spanish] Vanessa, we're going to need another chain.
So they might bite a bit? Em Could be.
You okay in there? - [Claudia] Wait.
- Okay.
[Claudia] Okay! Hello.
- [dog barking] - Oh, you're big! - [Claudia] No.
- Oh! [dogs barking] They're big boys.
Hey, guys.
[speaking Spanish] Oh, wow.
- They're beautiful.
- Down.
Sit! [David] Do they mind being A little pat on the head? Hello.
- [growling] - No! Stay.
No, Aaron.
So it's just these two dogs that you have? No, I have seven.
Nice to meet you.
[David] I guess if you were once married to an Escobar, you would need a lot of protection.
[speaking Spanish] This is where the rocket hit.
Oh, this is where they tried to - Yes.
- To blow this apartment up.
- Yes.
[Claudia] They tried to kill Pablo during the narco wars.
Yeah, it's so strange to think how crazy things were here.
[speaking Spanish] It was like being in a movie, and everything changed all of a sudden.
[David] Pablo is gone, but his legacy remains.
- David, in here.
- Hello.
Oh, there's more.
- Did he have any secret compartments - Yes.
- or hiding places? - Yes.
[opening drawer] Oh, so we lift that up.
Oh, wow, look at that.
You don't hide anything in there yourself? - Just keep it empty? - No! [Claudia chuckles] You're not going to tell me about the ones that you've got stuff in.
[Claudia chuckles] I want you to look at the bathroom! And this would have been Pablo's bathroom as well.
- Yes.
- The bathroom hasn't changed a bit.
[David] It's a '90s time capsule.
Steel and marble.
The whole room was built like this, even the closet! And the bedroom used to be like this as well.
The floor, the ceiling, the door.
The whole room was like this.
Some pretty infamous things went on in this place, you know? I want to move to a house, I don't want to keep it.
So I am selling it! Hopefully someone will buy it! [chuckles] - [David sighs] - I want $750,000 for it.
Seems reasonable.
A bit out of my price range, but you know.
[David] I wished Claudia luck with her narco real estate plans, as I head to another of Pablo's residences, the number one narco-tourist hot spot in town.
High on a Medellin hilltop, with a view to die for, Pablo Escobar built his own five-star prison: La Catedral.
Rather than being extradited to the US, Pablo cut a sweet deal with the Colombian government and moved into the jail for a five year sentence.
Just like his apartment.
It was decorated with the latest '90s mod-cons, and he shared the luxury jail with the occasional beauty queen, and his closest henchmen.
Popeye was Pablo Escobar's most trusted hitman, loyally taking out over 250 people for his boss, even his own girlfriend.
[loading gun] [David] He was locked up for 22 years, and now he's a popular YouTube star.
[gunshots] [David] I'm meeting up with him in the overgrown prison grounds as he films his latest video.
I have the ultimate narco tour guide.
My Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter family! I warmly welcome you all.
Today we will be talking about La Catedral.
Where I was imprisoned with Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria along with his best soldiers, including me for 13 and a half months.
[David] Popeye says he's paid his debt to society, and now he's a reformed man.
You have served your time in prison, but do you regret what you did and the people you killed? I completely regret everything.
I've got gray hair now.
I've learnt that when you are around people who treat you nicely that killing people isn't worth it.
People don't admire me because I was a murderer.
People admire me because I changed my life.
I've done my time.
I just want to get back into society.
People back me on the streets.
If I can't go out on the streets to earn an honest living, I'll just grab a gun and I’ll go get it.
All right, I don't Yeah.
Don't grab the gun.
- I think leave that option off the table.
- [both laugh] You've been there, done that.
I think leave the gun Leave the guns behind.
[David] On the way up to the old jail, I detect a little bit of regret for killing hundreds of people.
But he's oddly obsessed with those who don't believe he's changed.
Why would you bother me - a murderer- someone that could shoot you in the head? I'm trying to change and do the right thing now, so why bother me? I'm not afraid of dying or of those maggots that confront me.
Worm, insect, cockroach, mortadella, gonorrhea.
asshole, faggot, triple son of a bitch! I know all the insults! [David] He certainly has a colorful turn of phrase, and all his cursing has drawn a crowd.
A couple of narco-tourists from New York had come up to check out Pablo's prison.
They hadn't expected to run into Popeye, and they're starstruck.
He's famous all over the world.
What do you think of the whole story? What they did was awful, but some people love him, some people hate him.
[David] Where do you stand? - [tourist laughs] Good question.
- That's a good question.
I I just wanna know the history.
That's about it.
It's crazy.
I mean, like, a dream come true for me.
Like this is Popeye.
[David] Yeah, I'm pretty sure they loved him.
So weird.
[David] Which is odd, really, to be hero-worshippng a man who's done so many despicable acts.
You know, he killed his girlfriend.
My private tour continues through the overgrown prison grounds, and Popeye's eyes light up when we come across the ruins of one of the bedrooms.
[Popeye] Here is where the beauty queens would come up to spend the night.
Splendid women, the most beautiful women of Colombia and all around the world.
Here is where we would get the fire going and I would get Pablo his liquor.
But he would only drink half a glass of Heineken, half a joint, and then he would go after a young lady.
It's like the Playboy mansion.
Parties here were not about getting wasted on hard liquor or cocaine, just a little marijuana, and hardcore sex.
I can figure out what that is.
[chuckles] A warrior like Pablo Escobar eats beside his men at the table, fights beside them in war and joins them in orgies.
[David] It's a delicate question, but I need to know So you were both there doing it at the same time? We were like a spread of dicks all over.
We were covered in more pussy than the day you were born.
[both laughing] [both speaking indistinctively] [David] Popeye was in good form.
Charming, even.
And as the tour continues, I have to keep reminding myself I'm with Pablo Escobar's stone-cold assassin.
Popeye, you killed people in this compound, right? Yes.
I cut them into little pieces.
And then we burned them.
I'm joking! No, I don't want I don't want to joke about this.
Ask him if he'd like me to kill his wife? See, that's the trouble.
You're so likable, but you're talking about cutting up bodies, which isn't That's not funny.
You killed your girlfriend.
[Popeye] Mhm.
[David] That's fucked up.
- [David] Ooh! Hello.
- [Popeye] Calm down, it's okay! [David] Popeye's prison tour takes a sudden detour as he pulls out a gun.
Is this the sort of gun that you would use to When you were killing people? [loading gun] Anyone can buy a gun but you still need someone to shoot it.
[David] He's now decided he wants to show off his acting skills in an action scene he's written.
Popeye is playing a version of himself, an ex-con who is confronting a millennial gangsta.
[Popeye] Well, well, well! Look what I found here! This thing with a pair of eyes! - [Popeye] What's up, faggot? - What's up, old dog? What are you doing on my mountain, faggot? - [stammers] - [Popeye] What? Do you know what guns are for? To make men even! [gunshots] - [gunshot] - [David] Ooh! [Popeye spits on him] [David] It was an eerily convincing performance.
I could tell he had done this before.
That was That was good.
I think.
Just like the real thing.
The hitman! The hitman! [David] Popeye seems to be relishing playing his old bad self again.
It's quite weird that everyone's so blase about all this, and sorta treats it like a big joke.
And people love it, right? Like, it rates really well.
People wanna meet you.
People wanna talk to you.
I'm talking to you.
[David] I'm struggling with how to deal with Popeye's new role; the assassin turning his disturbing past into entertainment.
And something in particular is bothering me.
The one thing I don't understand I understand your adoration of Pablo and everything that he meant to you, but he made you kill your girlfriend.
That's the bit where I would have gone "No.
Like, no.
No way.
" She betrayed Pablo Escobar by trying to give him up to the DEA.
Pablo Escobar found out about it and he ordered me to kill her.
She was going against my God, Pablo, and she was using me.
So I had to execute her.
Look at this beautiful city.
It's a beautiful city on top of a cemetery with hundreds of thousands of victims.
And this is the only way to escape poverty.
You won't understand, because we're from two very different worlds.
I am the product of violence, of blood and of prison.
This is what has the power: my gun.
[David] I can't help but think being Pablo's hitman must have seriously damaged Popeye.
Have you ever been to a psychologist or something? Like, talked about it? Have you been to therapy? I see a psychologist sometimes.
So I can give you their number, maybe.
I talk to my black beauty here.
She is my counsellor.
[David] We've got different approaches.
We've got very different approaches, you and I.
[laughs] I'll give you the number for my psychologist! I don't want the number.
[laughs] Don't want their number.
[both laughing] [David] I don't wanna like you, but I do like you.
I was warned I'd end up liking you.
Yeah, you're a very likable man who has done some very bad things.
[David] I'm feeling conflicted about being charmed by a brutal hitman.
I'm just not convinced that Popeye is truly reformed.
He can't seem to escape living in the shadow of a long dead drug lord, like most of the people I've met here.
I've discovered that Pablo Escobar's legacy is still very much alive here in Medellin.
From the barrio boys and beauty queens who live in his houses to the narco-tourism still making money in his name.
I'm heading up to Mexico and landing in the largest metropolis in the Western Hemisphere: Mexico City.
I've arrived on the Day of the Dead, the day that millions of Mexicans head to the graveyards to be with the souls of their deceased loved ones.
They're the perfect crowd to mingle with if you're a dark tourist.
But I'm here to dig deeper than scary-looking masks and face paint.
I've heard about a new dark obsession sweeping Mexico.
A cult called Santa Muerte, that worships the saint of death.
I want to know what kind of people pray to an evil-looking skeleton in a hooded robe, and why.
The Santa Muerte religion is rising in popularity in thousands of backyard shrines, but is outlawed by the mainstream churches.
So before I begin my religious journey, I thought I should get some advice from a priest.
The next morning, I head to a church where their priest is performing an exorcism.
[women shouting] [David] He was in the thick of it with a bunch of bad spirits.
What's happening here? [preist] She came here with her mother but I saw a spirit in her.
[David] I've never seen an exorcism before.
I wonder if they get any complaints from the neighbors.
- Very loud, isn't it? Very loud.
- [women crying] [David] I guess this is, like, the go-to place - for someone who needs an exorcism.
- Exactly.
[David] God, I wonder how many people have thrown up in that bucket.
[David] The exorcist takes a hard line with the types of people who worship santa muerte.
Santa muerte is completely satanic.
The gangs in Mexico, drug traffickers, thieves, rapists, the worst, they all worship santa muerte.
The worst is the human sacrifice.
Did you say human sacrifice? [David] But I didn't get an answer.
He was distracted by a lady with a suspicious-looking tattoo, and went into full interrogation mode.
[priest] Are you a follower of santa muerte? Can we see this? This is a santa muerte tattoo.
Is this a santa muerte tattoo? Yes, this is a santa muerte tattoo.
[David] The woman had brought along her troubled son, a santa muerte worshipper, but he ran away as soon as he saw the church.
Before she knew what was happening, she was surrounded by a team of holy warriors, all determined to cast out the demon they suspected was inside her.
[praying in Spanish] [David] It's getting spookier, and I'm worried that they're about to cast out the contents of her stomach.
[priest] Out! Go now, in the name of Jehova I order you to get out.
[priest praying] [David] But the demon isn't budging, even though they're trying all the tricks in the holy book.
[speaking Spanish] [David] It looks like the exorcist is about to throw in the towel, but suddenly, the exorcism becomes much more physical.
[David] She's on the ground.
Always end up on the ground.
[holy warrior] In the name of the Holy Spirit I kick you out! - [woman groans] - [David] God, this is awful.
She looks like she's experiencing real pain, but I wonder how much of it is caused by the rigorous hands-on healing that's now going on.
[holy warrior] She says it won't go if you don't drag it out.
[David] But it seems to have done the trick, and her demon is finally released.
[priest and woman repeatedly] Out! Out! Out! - [woman grunts] - [priest continues chanting] [David] I have absolutely no idea what to make of this.
I didn't see any demons exit.
I'm just relieved the two-hour ordeal is over.
- [priest and woman repeatedly] - Free of all rulers of evil.
[David] Despite his warnings, the exorcist didn't convince me to give up my journey into the world of santa muerte.
So he offered at least give me a blessing of protection.
[priest performing a blessing ] [David] After what I just saw, I might need it.
But I'm still determined to keep going.
I want to find out more about Santa Muerte and her followers, and I found a street-wise guide called Christian who's going to take me to them.
He's got hookups in their world.
We're on our way to the notorious santa muerte stronghold in Tepito.
Somebody's gonna die tonight, you know? That vibe is just out there loose tonight, it's like the devil's out tonight.
[David] Tepito is the neighborhood of outcasts, thieves, - the poor, and forgotten.
- [driver] Only in the neighborhood.
[David] Here in the underworld, santa muerte is their holy mascot.
We arrive along with the pilgrimage of kneeling santa muerte devotees who are crawling in atonement for their sins.
They're all painfully heading towards a public shrine that first appeared in 2001, when a local woman, Dona Queta, decided to bring her santa muerte effigy out of the house and down onto the sidewalk.
It's the day after The Day of the Dead, but in Tepito, the festivities are still going on, only they celebrate in a very different way.
Once a year, they honor The Lady of Death, and here, she has a hype man.
[chanting] The saint, the saint, hooray, hooray, hooray.
You can feel it.
You can feel it.
The saint is here.
I'm David.
Nice to meet you, sir.
[speaking Spanish] All my life I have had problems.
I got run over really badly but she saved me.
- [guide] He's like, "I got ran over" - [David] Oh, you got ran over.
The santísima muerte says: In the name of the Father, - of the Son and the Holy Spirit - [people applauding] [David] A common theme for many of these worshipers is having lived hard lives, and now they thank Santa Muerte for them still being alive.
I felt like I should join in and make an offering at her famous shrine as well.
Christian says booze is a popular offering.
She likes the strong stuff, and she indulges in a bit of weed.
We've got the candle, the alcohol, we've got the marijuana wow.
[guide] Damn, the marijuana.
That's the best thing.
Thank you.
Slide boom.
[guide] That was not planned, but I mean - [David] It just happens.
- [guide] I mean, I told you, man.
[guide] In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
[David] I've swigged petrol-flavored mescal, and offered weed to Santa Muerte, Now I need to meet the lady behind the shrine, the lady who started it all Dona Queta.
[chattering] [David] Christian and I grab an effigy, and take it to be blessed by her.
Dona Queta, I'm David.
She wasn't quite what I was expecting.
I brought this along as well.
So I thought maybe, I don't know if you could bless her or You are going to hold it.
- She says, "You're going to hold it.
" - Okay, I'll hold it.
But you got to give it lots of love.
You hold it, like this.
[David] She pulls out some kind of fragrant holy air freshener, and sets to work blessing my statue.
[woman blessing] My pretty little girl.
[David] Is this the smell of heaven or hell? [continues blessing] It's quite strange for me to be holding this, because like, where I'm from, we don't celebrate death like this.
For me, this is quite scary, you know? We are very happy with death, but for everyone, God comes first.
She is good and not evil - That's what you're saying? - [guide translating] "It's nothing bad," she says.
She takes care of you, she takes care of me, she takes care of everyone.
"Takes care of all of us," she says.
[woman] She’s so pretty.
Thank you, thank you.
[both speaking Spanish] [David] She instantly put me at ease.
And invites us upstairs to her own personal shrine.
It's like a magical spare room filled with dark trinkets and weird effigies.
Dona Queta is just like your average grandma, only she's not handing out cookies, she's showing us her collection of bizarre death statues.
She's cool.
What's it like living in this neighborhood? 'Cause all I've heard is how dangerous it can be.
[speaking Spanish] She says, "Yes, hell, no.
I'm not gonna lie Here, we live however we want to live.
"We live however the fuck we wanna live here.
" Everyone does whatever the hell they wanna do.
"Anyone, everyone does whatever the fuck we wanna do.
" And people here know not to mess with you.
No one messes with me.
She says, "You better fucking not even think about it.
" [both chuckle] [David] I can tell.
I can tell you're a strong lady.
And did I see a photo of your husband downstairs as well? Is he is he around at the moment, or Yes, he's here, taking care of me, but he's been dead for a year and a half.
But his spirit is here.
He has to be here.
He takes care of me.
She says, "He has nowhere else to fucking be.
This is his place.
He should be here, and he should be taking care of me.
" What happened? - [woman speaking Spanish] - He was mugged.
[woman] That's how it goes.
That's true.
See, that scares me a little bit, but you're probably a lot more at peace with it than I am.
The most beautiful way to live in this world is to live without any fear.
Just live, just live happily.
because when you die there is no time for living.
- And she has a good point, like - I agree.
And I have cancer.
I'm happy.
And I love my cancer.
She loves her cancer 'cause it taught her out to live life.
It's mine.
That's the most positive outlook to cancer I've ever heard of in my life.
[David] When it comes to facing death, Dona Queta is an incredibly positive person, and I'm humbled just being around her.
There are plenty of people who have come here for the same experience.
[children saying hello in Spanish] [David] Through Dona Queta, I've realized that Santa Muerte isn't about worshiping death.
It's about not fearing death.
[crowd chanting] [guide] I think she just came to scold him.
- Oh really? - About something, yeah.
- Yeah.
- Telling him off? Santa Madre says “you’re crazy!” She says, "Fuck you motherfuckers, 'cause you're crazy!" [David] People were getting in line for the famous giant cakes that she serves each year.
An entire community has grown up around Dona Queta's little shrine, and now she's like The High Priestess of Tepito.
The queue for the cake starts over there.
Dona, these cakes look amazing.
They're so huge.
[David] I came here to find an evil death cult, but instead found a group of outcasts strengthened by their faith.
I always get a bit nervous cutting cake, thinking I'm gonna do a bad job.
I'm just gonna get in there.
They aren't actually worshipping anything evil.
They're just not scared to look death in the face.
This is good.
And they eat death cake.
Surely, cake can't be evil.
It's time to leave Mexico.
Tourists might relax one more time poolside, sipping their last tequila before catching their plane home.
But I'm not interested in leaving Mexico the easy way.
MEXICO MEXICO CITY So I head 1,000 miles north to the US border, to see what illegal migrants are confronted with as they try to flee Mexico for a new life.
I've heard of a border crossing experience that turns being an illegal migrant into a tourist attraction.
I want to find out what making that journey would be like, and how realistic this tour is.
President Trump campaigned to build a wall, so I'm surprised that there's already one here.
is more like a fence than a wall, and it's not even finished.
Surely, this tour is going to be pretty easy.
[man shouting] On the floor! [speaking Spanish] [David] It's 7:00 a.
, and I'm lying on the icy ground in a small town in the middle of nowhere.
It's really cold down here.
Oh, sorry.
Most tourists are still asleep, enjoying their warm hotel beds.
[man] After this, no more answer, no more question.
Today, we no play.
[David] But I'm being shouted at by a masked man who demands we call him "Commander.
" [man] The river is very dangerous.
60 feet deep, 50 feet wide.
100 mile an hour.
[David] The tour begins like a military boot camp.
The Commander is an ex-people smuggler.
He says he's seen countless people fail, and worse, die, trying to cross the border.
He set up this tour to show that crossing the border isn't safe, and to discourage locals and raise awareness.
As dawn breaks, I can start to make out my companions.
Amongst them are the odd foreigner like myself, and also some Mexican dark tourists along for this misadventure.
- The river was going to be 60 feet deep? - [woman] 100 miles an hour.
- [girl] And 50 feet wide.
- We're all going to die, basically.
[David] Migrants in real life pay their smugglers around $3,000 to get them safely across, but this tour is only costing us $50.
[man shouts] If you no pay, you die.
Okay, I don't want to die.
[David] Our commander takes his role very seriously, and we nervously set off.
The action starts almost as soon as our six-hour trip to the pretend border begins.
- [gunshot] - [man] Oh! Shit.
[David] I don't know where they're coming from, but those gunshots sounded very authentic.
How real is this going to get? [David] I don't know if it's just Mexico or the tour.
I'm jittery with nerves, and I don't know what's going on.
- [chattering] - [gunshots] [David] Who is shooting at us? - [David] We're about to find out.
- [police sirenes] [man] Get down! Get down! [man] What are you doing here, motherfuckers? [David] Apparently, being robbed by criminals on your way to the border is common.
[man] Are you the guide? [David] For a split second, I forget this is a tour.
[David] Quite authentic.
[men shouting] Stand up! Up! Up! Up! On your feet! [David] I look to our commander for guidance - [David] Commander, what's going on? - but I should have kept my mouth shut.
[man] What are you sayin? Is this your bag? You can take that.
[man shouting] What motherfucker? What? [David] I don't really know how to react.
This just seems nuts.
[man] Don't laugh, fucker.
Only English.
No Spanish.
[David] It's a weird mix of amateur drama and violent reality.
[man] Answer, fucker! Where's the drugs? Is that all you've got? [men speaking in Spanish] - [gunshot] - [David trying not to laugh] [men speaking Spanish] [David] But finally, the thugs scatter, and The Commander calls us together.
We're safe, but the staged attack has certainly had an effect on us.
Max had even handed over her $3,000 platinum diamond ring.
- You lost your ring? - I gave it to the guy.
- [commander] You gave it to the guy? - To stop him hitting you.
- That was so kind of you.
- I know.
- No give them something else.
- [David] As we set off again, I talked to Andreas from Mexico City.
He's finding the tour a lot more challenging than he was expecting.
- Duck down - I mean, those guns actually scared the shit out of me.
You can't help it, right? When it goes off.
It's like, "Fuck.
" I just keep saying, "Fuck.
" [chuckles] But how much desperation would lead you to actually try to cross a border and risk your life? [David] We're only two hours into the tour, and still had another four-hour trek into the wild ahead of us to the border.
[David] This is the mountain bit.
We're tired and hungry.
But for real migrants, there are much more serious things to worry about.
Brutal drug traffickers, or narcos, roam the border areas looking for desperate migrants to rob, rape, or murder.
We stop for a break.
We're nervous about what's coming next.
You've already been beaten up.
- What else is going to happen to you? - Yeah, I don't Not sure.
[chuckles] Hey! What's happening here? [David] Cue the narcos.
[thief] C’mon fuckers! If someone runs, I shoot! [David] Meaner, more cinematic, and much more dramatic than the younger gangsters.
[shouts] Stand up! [woman shouting] Listen, motherfuckers.
[David] Things weren't looking good for us.
[man] On your knees! [David] Then, somehow, my bag is full of pretend drugs What's happening? and I'm being accused of smuggling them.
- [David] What? - [man] Why do you have all this? - Why you have too much drugs? - [David] What drugs? [David] I could have faked it and said they were my drugs We're not meant to have drugs, really.
but, lost in the moment, I ad-libbed.
- Are those yours? - [David] No, they're his.
[David] And I sell out our commander.
Yeah, they're his.
Yeah, this guy.
- [gunshot] - [woman shouts] Don't move! [David] Can we work this out? No, don't kill him! - Move it! Hurry! Come on, let's go! - [gunshots] [thiefs shouting] Sorry about that, Commander.
[David] But my dramatic improvisation hasn't gone down well with the rest of the group.
It seems like we're all caught up in the drama.
- Why'd you do that? - I just panicked.
- Shit.
I can't believe it.
- I thought they were gonna You gave those people our drugs! Why? [David] Everyone is tired, and morale is low.
And things are starting to get awkward.
[commander] Come here! If you don't want to walk, you can stay here.
I don't care, okay? Somebody wants to stay here, they'll stay here.
Tomorrow, maybe come the coyotes to eat you.
[David] The Commander had put things into perspective.
We become more reflective about the plight of real illegal migrants.
It's strange to think that this can be people are doing this for real, - when we're just doing it for - Yeah, it's a mix of feelings.
- For the experience.
- You're doing it for fun, but also, it's like, "Shit.
" [chuckles] And if they run out of water, they die.
I mean, we're just whipping out the muesli bar - whenever we want one.
- Yeah.
It really makes you wonder if they're willing to put their lives at risk and go through all of this, they must be having a really shitty time in their own country.
- Yeah, we're pretty privileged.
- Totally privileged.
- Not pretty privileged.
- Yeah, 100%.
[David] The guns and insults might be fake, but after six hours, we're all physically drained, and there's still one more scene left to play.
Looking down the other side of the mountain, we can taste freedom.
The Commander gives us final instructions, urging us on towards our escape vehicle.
[commander] Run! Faster! Hurry up! Move it! [police sirenes] [David] Foiled by Border Patrol at the last hurdle, the tour's finale plays out like the depressing end of a bad Spaghetti Western, where you think the main characters will get away, but they never make it.
[officer] Everybody, put your hands behind your head.
[David] The people organizing this tour wanted us to understand the plight of illegal migrants, and right to the end, their commitment is admirable.
[police handcuffing them] It's good.
It's got to be authentic.
[David] It's a weird role-playing experience, that for six madcap hours, allowed us to slip in and out of a very different reality.
[officer] You're trying to cross the border [David] At times, it was entertaining, and I felt like I was an extra in a B-grade movie, but in the end, I got the message.
For real migrants, this is never fun.