Immigrationland

February 7th, 2007at 08:28pm Posted by Eli

Maybe it’s a cultural gap, but this seems very, very strange to me:

CLAD in black clothes and moonlight, our guide Poncho adjusted his ski mask and faced us to speak. The desert has claimed many lives, he said, but tonight we would make it across the border.

The night was crisp and clear in the central Mexican highlands, the moon illuminating mesquite trees, cactus and pastures. Our group of 13 was about to set out on one of Mexico’s more bizarre tourist attractions: a make-believe trip illegally crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States.

(…)

The four-hour caminata nocturna — nighttime hike — traverses desert, hills, brambles and riverbeds in the Parque EcoAlberto, an eco-park communally owned by the Hñahñu Indians who live on some 3,000 acres of land in the state of Hidalgo, about three hours northwest of Mexico City (and roughly 700 miles from the border).

Organizers say they opened the park about two and a half years ago, with financing from the Mexican government, and began the caminata as a way to offer tourists a taste of life as an illegal immigrant.

(…)

Park guides say about 3,000 tourists — mostly Mexican — have hiked the caminata since it began in July 2004. It costs 200 pesos (about $18 at 11 pesos to the dollar), and tourists who want to stick around at the park can also go river-rafting, rappel down a cliff and sleep in cabins with roofs of maguey leaves. But guides say the mock border-crossing is the park’s main draw.

“Of course it’s just a game, where you’re always safe and where there are no real fights,” said Antonio Flores, a sociology professor from Querétaro, in central Mexico, who hiked the caminata in November with a group of students. “It was very interesting, very important. Often, immigration is a subject so far away. This gave us a chance to experience it through our own steps.”

I’m really not entirely sure what to make of this…

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Weirdness


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