August 18-21, 2011
Walk Across What???
Juarez seems to be the LAST place any sane person would chose to even go to, let alone walk across. Most people assume that my body will end up filled with bullets, decapitated, and hung from some bridge with a scrawled cartel note tied to it.
But the actual situation and threat to US citizens is actually much different than what we expect based on most US press reports. I will walk across this border city from the Rio Grande to the south neighborhoods and simply report what I see moment by moment…and let the results speak some reality into the situation.
Who I am:
I am just “one solitary gringo” walking across Juarez.
I am also the owner and lead guide of Authentic Copper Canyon, the premier supplier of culturally rich small group experiences on the train through Copper Canyon, deeper and more vast than our Grand Canyon and 4 hrs south of Juarez.
I have a deep love and respect for the people and land of Mexico. Our groups often travel through the border in the Juarez/St Teresa area, and I am pursuing this walk as a small step in bringing understanding and connection across the border.
Purpose: To give a clear view of life right now on the streets of Juarez from an outsider’s point of view. People on the US side are filled with negative images only and this will give an actual moment by moment story of what it is actually like on the ground in Juarez.
Plan: Enter Juarez from El Paso by the Bridge of the Americas on Friday morning and simply walk across the city. I will stay overnight, interact with people, etc. Moment by moment I will send pictures, text, audio and videos via twitter and blog to followers across the USA and the world. Then I will follow with more in-depth articles and videos of the experience.
Rationale: Many of us who work or live in Mexico have been frustrated by the one-sided perspective that most US side folks hold to of everyday life in the border areas.
Of course there are serious problems there. Yet when people travel there, almost all of them are amazed at how tranquil it is. So if it is possible to take a larger number of people there via the internet, perhaps they can understand more accurately that actually, there are not serious concerns with tourist travel to Mexico now. More broadly this little journey may help to replace distrust and negativity with respect and interaction.
Perspective: The idea is not to make a political point, but rather to communicate an accurate, on the ground picture of what life is like. I will not carry signs, make political or policy statements, meet with officials, etc. I will simply walk a path across the city to include busy streets, parks, markets, stores, restaurants, etc, and the message will be whatever I experience.
Interestingly as I have been preparing for this walk, 100 % of the people who know something about Juarez have very strong cautions. On the other hand, 100% of the people who live there or who know it well are very positive. Perhaps my observations will help connect these two groups.
Find Dave at www.AuthenticCopperCanyon.com and follow him on twitter @CopperCanyonGuy.