Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Saturday, February 12, 2011


A man with slicked back black hair, in an army fatigue shirt, solid green army pants, and knee-high galoshes strides across the soggy grass to meet me.

I ask if he is militar and surprised, he stops,  glances down at his outfit, and then looks up to say “no” with a smile.

I ask about parking for the night. He brings me to one of the structures with an attached palapa that appears to be a restaurant and house. A womon is leaning behind a counter and an adolescent boy is perched on a tall stool in front of her.

We talk and she says the price is $150 pesos. I tell them no way, muchas caro – very expensive. I explain again I only need to park and a bathroom – no electricity, no water, no shower (I know, Bridget, would want a shower).

She confirms I am sola, and explains that this is a Baleanario with a river and palapas and other things I don’t understand. I tell her most of the time people let me park for free or charge me 25 or 50 pesos.

The three of them speak rapidly to each other. It is Saturday and I am the only business they seem to have.  They reaffirm the charge is $150 pesos, and I point out that it is raining, although it is now only misting.

The man tells me it will not be raining tomorrow. Disbelief floods my face I am sure and I inform them that tomorrow is not important, that I will leave early in the morning.

The womon tells me I can park for 25 pesos up the hill about 20k – I assume at the ecoturisco places. I tell her okay but I am not happy about driving back through the rain 4k on the rutted, stone and dirt road and then an additional 20k – but I will do it.

As I turn to go, my greeter says to me $80 pesos is okay. I look at the womon questioning and she nods her head.

I count up all the empanadas, tacos, tamales I won’t be eating now that Bridget has left, and I think about driving up the hill in the mist to rain – and returning tomorrow, probably an 8 liter diesel round trip which is close to $80 pesos.

(I have been running on diesel since yesterday. I have not wanted to take the time in the last 2 days that Bridget is here to find more veggie oil.

And I am concerned about the increased chance of water being in the oil if this rain is normal for this area, which I believe is a given considering the abundance of verdant foliage, rushing rivers, and plentiful lakes.

I tell them okay, I do not want to drive in this weather that is so pleasant to walk around in but not so great to drive in.

I park my truck, check out the beautiful, clean modern toilets, and then explore the lovely grounds. I feel very fortunate to be here, although I am missing Bridget. She would love it here too.

Leaving Bridget - tears....

I have left Bridget at the airport – or rather she has left me at Villahermosa, Tabasco – after a wonderful morning waking to the jungle sounds of millions of birds and insects singing – interspersed with the rumblings of trucks pulling into and out of the Pemex (gas) station we have spent the night at.

I head even closer to the outskirts of Villahermosa and just before Centro, take the cutoff heading south towards Teapa.

For the first time in 3 months since I’ve been in México, it has been misting to a very light sprinkling now for two days almost none-stop since we were entered into the clouds heading north to Palenque.

As I drive the straight, flat road the misting rain increases to a deluge. There are several large lagunas lining the road, outside Villahermosa. Huddled and squeezed between the edges of the water and road, under temporary plastic tarp palapas or simple umbrellas, are large, still bunches of fresh, dead fish hanging off a pole next to a smoking grill or pit with a couple of men cooking over them.

I briefly consider trying to also squeeze between the lake and road to purchase some fresh fish but then I think about pollution and question if the fish are healthy, so I don’t stop.

I continue down the road, 195, which is perfect with few topes or potholes. I am able to go 45 almost the entire way to Teapa. Although mountains are barely visible through the rain and mist in the far distance, the road is entirely surrounded as far as the eye can see – and in my truck, one can see very far – by mega-farms of bananas with the occasional cow pasture in between.

Men walking or on bicycles and/or horseback along the route are bending into the hard but warm rain, peddling rapidly, urging their horses along, or hanging out under the low branches of an occasional clump of trees. Only a few wear raincoats.

I reach Teapa in no time. The first sign just outside Villahermosa tells me it is 50k; the next sign 3 or 4k later tells me it is 23k; and the last sign about 15k later tells me it is 28k. Go figure.

I go to the Grutas (caves) first and find, once again, no tourists are there but me. The man at the gate wants to charge me 80 pesos: 30 for entering the caves, and 50 for a guia (guide). He is willing to allow me to park overnite.

I tell him a guide is not necessary, I will go without one and he tells me it is not permitted. I HAVE to have a guide.

No, I don’t. I don’t want a guide so I leave to retrace my steps and this time follow the other signs for ecoturisco – swimming this time.

Without Bridget navigating, I have to depend on signs. Fortunately for me, the turn-off to swimming and ecoturisco is again well-marked: 28k, which is about 15+ miles so I head up the paved road.

And up it is! I am entering the wonderful mountains and I think I’m very close to the magical Chiapas. Before I travel a mile or so I see a sign for “Baleanaria – 4k” so I take that road.

I drive down a rutted, bumpy, rock and dirt – and now water-logged road as it is still lightly raining – until it ends into a beautiful property delineated by bright green grass, foliage, and trees declaring “bienvenidos” welcome!

I can see a beautiful rushing river at the end of the road that winds through the property around a couple of structures, 4 or 5 palapas, and a children’s playground.

I park outside the gate and enter on foot. I think I will really like parking here tonite!