I get emails from Kayak.com, a travel site. The most recent email offers this cutting edge travel opportunity:
Immigration and border patrol seems to be at the top of every political conversation. At Parque Eco Alberto, you can go on a pretend ‘Night Border Crossing Experience.’ The parque is owned by the Hnahnu Indians in Hidalgo, about three hours from Mexico City. The $18, four-hour night hike starts with the Mexico National Anthem. Your ‘coyote’ guide, Pancho, pulls off his black ski mask while actors gather around to scare you senseless along the way. Run from border control agents; dodge hidden actors shooting (blanks) at you, and make your way through barbed-wire fences. Survivors are blindfolded, led across a rickety bridge, and then set free to run across the border to freedom!
Believe it or not, this is not a joke. It’s the real deal, ready-made for those who want to feel the illegal immigrant’s pain. As the New York Times explained this past weekend (and how could I have missed it?):
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. (Emphasis mine.)
The Hñahñus are people who know something about that life. Of the approximately 2,200 Hñahñus from this area, 700 live in Mexico and 1,500 live “on the other side” — mostly in Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada, where they install drywall, drive trucks or work on farms, residents say. Many of the tour guides here have crossed the real border several times.