I suffer the risk of death while you simply have to suffer my horrible grammar.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mr. Rebel, Can I Have My Passport Back?

At the time, my Guatemalan visa was about to expire. But, I discovered a look-tight loop hole where if I reached over the border and dangled my passport in Mexican airspace, snap, I could instantly reset my Guate' visa.

"Como?" The Mexican border agent was confused about my loud long extended celebration.
"...laaaaaassooooooo!!! Oh, sorry. Argentina just scored a goal."
"Against Mexico," added the unamused border agent as he held my not-yet-stamped passport.
He expressed his displeasure with my World Cup antics by power-hammering a stamp into my passport. I quickly jumped back on the bus before he stuffed me into an underground mule tunnel to Detroit.

"Hello! There is no toiler paper in here!" I yelled from the Mexican hotel bathroom.
"$1!" replied the local hotel staff.
I replied by clearly articulation that I was then not accountable for how I may or may not use the bathroom faucet to clean myself if paper was not properly and freely provided. A square piece of 300-count Egyptian cotton was slipped under the bathroom door. I was happy. Actually, I was also a little nervous. See, before leaving Guatemala, I was given a hot lead for visiting and interviewing Zapatista rebels.

I dashed out of my hotel to meet my initial Zapatista contact. My instructions were to knock on an unmarked door that was directly in front of a local church. The surveillance cameras around the door would identity which door. Unfortunately, when I arrived, I couldn't see any door that looked promising. I only saw a bunch of shoe stores and hammock shops.

"Can I help you?"
"You sure can," I confided. "Well, see, I'm ah...I'm here to interview, you know..."
While tweaking my optimistic eyebrows, I nodded my head to the Subcomandante Marcos T-shirts hanging on the wall.

There was a show of him all pretending to look confused. That's cool. With us both standing there alone in the store, I just let the awkward pause hang there, using it to my advantage to let him know that I was serious.

I wiggled my eyebrows again to break the silence. He responded by knotting his.

To let this Zapatista secretary know I was serious. I kind of lied and said, "Look. It's okay, compadre. I have an appointment."
There that will speed things up a little bit.

While it might have looked like he was gesturing to the door for me to leave, I knew that he really meant for me to speak with the sympathetic taxi driver out front. I hopped into the taxi satisfied that I was finally getting somewhere. The taxi driver merged with the traffic.
Though it really wasn't necessary, I proudly announced our obvious destination, "La Oficina de Los Zapatistas, por favor."

In an unprecedented act in the history of all taxi drivers, he actually released the car horn to be sure that he had indeed heard me correctly.
Exaggerating a little bit, I confessed, "It's cool, my friend. I know the password."
The taxi driver reclined his chair all they way back into my lap to be sure that he had heard me correctly.
"Oh?" the driver was waiting or confused.
I leaned forward to share the password, "...'Rage Against the Machine'..."
The driver promptly dropped me off at the next street corner.

Okay, fine, this wasn't working out so well. New plan. I had solid intelligence on where their compound was. I'll just go there directly myself, interview all the top ranking commanders, get deputized, snip' an enemy and then, of course, be invited to be a lifetime board member.

While taking a shuttle out of town to the Zapatista compound, I was day dreaming about how I would surely meet a female rebel. I would woe her with my hand-stitched ski mask that would have a heart-shaped opening for her beautiful eyes, bridge of her nose and eyebrows.

Suddenly the shuttle stopped and the door swung open. As the shuttle tore off, I was hurdled out in front of a Zapatista guard box.
"Good Day," came from a motionless ski mask.
And a good day to you, sir Zapatista rebel.

I was handed a customs form and asked to hand over my passport for review. I was standing at a blockaded road with two guard boxes. Behind the guard boxes was a small little Zapatista town with a dirt road that went to a parade field.

"We will confirm with the commanders that you may enter," reported the guard.

My application and passport were handed off to another masked rebel who ducked into a nearby office to review my application. Not that I was worried, but I did appreciate that I had just simply handed over my passport to two masked rebels. I then asked the rebel guard if he had a ski mask tan line. He responded by asking me to step back and to put away my camera.

As I knew with unquestionable confidence that I was personally being watched during my security review, I wanted to look as pleasant, cooperative and socialist as possible. So, loudly, for all to hear, I greeted every single passing pedestrian and then emphatically waved to them as they crossed the visible horizon. I spontaneously and unconditionally helped an elderly lady shuck corn. And finally, I discreetly dragged four local kids over to the guard so that he could see me give them each an identical Popsicle. Clearly I would be fast-tracked into the rebel compound.

Overall, I must admit, I was thoroughly impressed with the meticulousness of my security review as I was able to observe three hourly guard changes.

Then a naked-faced Canadian announced, "You know you can wait in their information booth."

He also shared that he had already been waiting for seven hours.
I thought about this and then shared my solution, "Mmm, maybe if we bought ski masks from the shop across the street, well, we could just walk right into the compound without any issues at all."
Doubt was expressed.
I followed up with, "But, what if we added life-size cut outs of
Subcomandante Marcos' face under our ski masks--"
"--They'd noticed," concluded the pessimistic Canadian.
"Right. But not if you created a distraction, like, by dropping your pants. Huh? What do you think now?"
Due to his questionable cooperation in the face of all that is logical, I was forced to conclude that he was part of the elaborate security review process.

While I let my Canadian team mate have more time to think about my perfect plan, I remembered a recommendation by some of my friends and got my picture with the Zapatista soccer team.

Still there hadn't been any decision on my security clearance. Obviously, they were too busy showing off my Facebook pix to all their squadron leaders.

But, with their media black out and the last transportation back home leaving in 10 minutes, I had to concede that my fantasy of hijacking the heart of a Zapatista rebel wasn't going to happen. I also concluded that it best not to have a summer slumber party with remote revolutionary rebels anyway as it might trigger a spontaneous second menopause with my ever-worrying mother. So, I asked to have my passport back. And to insure a better chance for my Canadian friend, I left after advising the Zapatista guard not to worry because I was absolutely 100 percent sure that other white guy was definitely not a spy.

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