Archive for the ‘Modelling’ Category

In the Church they were holding communion. and of course being important people they had their reclinatorio which is a kneeling chair made of fine wood and covered in velvet, to kneel on. I was in the pew behind them with the rest of their family.  It seemed like they all where looking at me, wondering “What on earth is this prisoner doing with my parents?”  Of course I just kept praying and thinking “God let me be free of this nightmare,  I did not commit  any crime, why am I here?”

Now I need my 007

Now I need my 007

Wait a minute, did not commit any crime? Oh yes,  I had a half a roach in my pocket (it was not mine, it was my lovers, but nevertheless it was on my person) and seeds of Marijuana. It did not matter if I smoked it or not? I had them in my possession, but for 30 seeds, came on! Give me a break! It had been almost a month and a half and I was still a prisoner!

When the service was over, we walked over to the corner where there was a dinner place. The

rest of the family left, so the Licenciado, his wife and I sat down  in this restaurant “Maria’s” and between some food (glory be to God!), real food, we talked and I told them my story. They must have had a son who was on drugs or alcohol or something, because they were very sympathetic towards me and very gentle. I could read in her eyes tears wanting to come out, while he was concerned and gallantly containing his  emotions. Then he said I will try to help, and ask me don’t you have a lawyer?  Well, no and yes.. if you could give me permission to make some long distance calls to Caracas? I thought, maybe I can get someone to help me?…..

Smoking my dreams away

Smoking my dreams away

In  a few words, I understood that he would give me Monday the number of an abogado (Licenciado)  that was a very good friend of his– Lic. Lawyer Public Defender  Morales– to see if he could talk to the judge, they played golf together, to see about my case and when I would be going to court to finish this matter. The only thing I could say was GRACIAS, with tears in my eyes which I did not try to hide.

And when we were in the Cadillac,  I dared to ask if was also possible to allow me to use the phone with their permission to call my mother and my ex-husband? They said it would be OK.,  just that I have to ask his secretary for permission and not  to tell any other inmates,.

(I could spend many pages describing how moved they were  about my situation, but at the same time they could not show it, after all, I was their prisoner– yes, with some unheard of privileges).

They were holding back their laughter and smiles over this stupid incident, but the law is the law! They were so cute,  like seeing  that is exactly what they would havce been doing when they were younger, doing these crazy things that they never did, but would have  liked to have done!

Then when we got to the reten it was unusually quiet,  there were some men on the other side of the street, smoking and talking,  but my friendly cops were not there ,so  I went straight  to my hammock with my kitty and went to sleep with dreams of getting out of  Maracaibo and being back in the elegant parts of Caracas.


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That Saturday, after gambling until very late, for a change I lost some of may Bolivares, maybe because?– no,  I  am sure,  that the reason I is, I was  getting tire of playing with these guys, they were bad players and did not even knew the rank of cards well. So I drank and drank until I drank almost the hole of a litter bottle of rum by myself. There were several of than,  Saturday’s nights were  like this, ( thats not a surprise to any of you readers that know me).

Ludmila has been whit Peter in scary situations like THE ONDA NUEVA festival

Whit Peter Graves in Onda Nueva Festival in Caracas we had to confront almost Jail whit the mafia union to hired there grow of cameraman, in Onda Nueva festival that the close I ever became in prison ” (before this )…………….

Sunday I was tired but very excited: “I’m going out, out,!” Even if just to go to a Church  that is not mine, (Roman Catholic and I am Eastern Orthodox, you understand the difference?)+ I will see the streets and places; I was thinking that today there was also chance to talk  with Dona Magdalena and her husband the Jefe of this place,  and who knows what else es he? and of course beside being an: lawyer, lets not forget that, so let’s acknowledge that,  in fact he the and has wife may will be my ticket to ride out of here.

They arrived in a new black Cadillac parking  in front of the detention house main doors, Charlie call me out, escorting me too the car: “portate bien” he whispered in my ear.  We wink to each other with an smile.

(God bless  Dona Magdalena and her husband and her husband, at  times I think in retrospect it may have been her nagging her husband to set me free; she became my angel).

" In this photo, I was before in jail but was only a theater play"

” In this photo, I was before in jail but was only a theater play”

I was  dressed with my indian black dress and I did my long hair  on a Grace Kelly bun twist, nice and simple but elegant, very light lipstick very presentable  for Church ,  of course I still had my make up with me, being a model, what do you expect? not overly made up, just very presentable as I said before  for Church.


I  notice that , I must say one thing,  that  in different civilisations women from tropical or latin countries tend to overdo their make up going to church, and the young dressed unprohibited for Church where I came from, of course that was my upbringing from my adored mama.

The smell of this new Cadillac reminded me of the good life, that I all of the sudden became too much, memories came back to my mind, my beloved William dancing in the private clubs, sunbathing in the Tamanaco pool, eating in great elegant restaurants, drinking out of crystal classes, real cloth napkins, etc,. men lighting may cigarettes, pulling my chair, opening the doors, where is all this gone? This was so rough, almost cruel, have to go back, I  miss it!.


Oh yes I missed that life, seeing my mother dress  up for Church,or going to a Russian Ball. All this was spinning  in my mind,  I felt  so weak in my present  nightmare. When is it going to be over?  I want get out of this situation and out of Maracaibo! It is a long and incredible story!

In Church on my knees I prayed and prayed and my tears just roll on by themselves; I could not stop them! Why  am I here?

There was an answer, but I did not know that yet, I was a alcoholic and I did no know at, and  that was that.

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All was quiet again in the evening, everyone went to their homes. I did not see Senor Rodriguez or Senorita Pepita that day,  just the two cops, policemen sitting at the table and talking and drinking something.  I noticed they had a deck of cards and I thought: this is getting exciting, maybe I can win some money so I can get that  Wayuu dress I want. I have very few Bolívares, so I have to be very good, or they have to be very bad!

Ludmila before the arrest

Ludmila before the arrest

Ola Officer Pedro! He responded, Señora? Is Pepe okay? Sientese. Thank you,  I will.  Then came Carlos,   now there three card players with Juan there. I said, “So now we are four is good for playing poker no? “

Pepe agreed, “Si señora, you take the dice and tirelos to see who deals!”  Bueno, I picked up the dice and rolled them fast and I had the biggest number, double six, so I dealt the cards. Juan pulled a bottle of rum out of the bag he had with him (a mochila) and passed it around discretely, while Pepe made sure to give me a glass too.


An empty sardine can was our ashtray, and we smoked and played for hours  I was tired and nervous that  if I won too much they would get pissed off at me , so I said I was tired and needed to go to bed. I had made some extra Bolívares that I did no have before! Well, we sure did finish the bottle that night; and to my surprise they were very much the gentlemen and did not say nothing outrageous or crude, simply saying goodnight. Pepe only said, “Señora be prepared- that  there may be  lot of noise tonight, this is Saturday and there will be a lot of rum and aguardiente (these is the local cheap alcoholic beverage)  and ” muchos accidentes. ” I could only imagine what he meant, but I said, “I understand, okay?  Buenas noches,  gracias” and I went off the bed with my winnings.

Anatoly awaiting Ludmila in Canaima

Anatoly awaiting Ludmila in Canaima

But as soon I was sound asleep on my comfy  but dirty hammock, (have to wash it tomorrow),  the noise started up: drunk people with bandages still in:

after they were attended to by the medics; I don’t know what they were doing there, but they were making  lots of racket.

When it cooled off a little and everyone was back where  they were supposed  to be, Pepe knocked on my door and said,  “I have a surprise for you!” He handed me this little black bundle of fur– My kitten! “He was  right by the main street door, you want him?”   Si , si!   Back on my hammock I had the sweetest sleep in a long time,  with this little thing purring into my ears, it sounded just like a lullaby!!!!

And the week went in and out, and it was next Saturday. By then I hand a Wayee Indian black dress with the winnings of my gambling every night, a party accompanied always by rum or aguardiente or sometimes cheap vodka.

This is the third week in this reten (holding place jail), with some medical nurse por mainer things ,  the series once of course stay in hospitals, not here,.   After they  area will,  then they bring them here.

I still hadn’t heard or seen a familiar face and to tell the true I really did not worried  or care I hand booze,  cigarettes , gambling and thats all I care at the moment.

Saturday  before they close the milk giving and all paper worked in all this accidentes , people either went home some and others not  ,The secretary Pepita came to my room, my I came on , of course,( is your  place I  thought to myself,) They worked until 11 in Saturdays and invited me to the office of Licenciado Rodriguez, which by now was familiar to me, with me almost being a working person here for free. “Si Senor, at your service,” I said.  “Please sit down. Are they treating you good?” So. of course Senor Licenciado si!”  I called you in,  for this reason; my wife asked me  to ask you if you would like to go to the Cathedral tomorrow, where? is  Sunday  and is going to be a good service? We would be happy to take you, in our custody of course.”  “Yes yes ( thank your God) yes  if that is possible?  I would love to go with your charming wife and yourself, Senor Licenciado!”

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All the Guajira Indians wore these cover up dresses; so now I know why the Wayuu dress goes with this incredible heat and scenery!.

Waking up, on this bench, just as the people were starting to come and go, there were lots of cops and men with everyone looking busy and worried.

Now that confirmed my suspicion that this place was a sort of retencion place, half jail or halfway house  for people that have car accidents. Venezuela, like Mexico and most Latin countries, has Napoleonic law codes, which means, you are guilty until you proven innocent! Contrary to my beloved free country the USA. In Venezuela, if you have a car accident you go straight to this type of carcel!

That was why there were  so many men dressed in suit’s (lawyers) and some of this men were wounded with stitched and bandages and almost walk they just went in  the patio and lay down in pain,  mooing.

 I guess women had a different place, or may be they did not drive?

 I will never know and don’t really care!

Some how I managed to get breakfast a bread whit butter and coffee with milk, and after that I stood by the door of that big room that resembles almost a store, in there were two woman giving out containers of milk ,to each women that  walked on with a child I guess a container of 3 Kls. for each child?, with a paper on hand, mark with some code, and a date on it. So I asked, can I help and they were very happy to hear that, with a smile they said yes, came in here and just do what we do and  gave a big can of 3 kilos  of powdered milk to each señora with a paper.  yes very good, I will help, that was the easiest job I ever had and I loved it, it gave me a chance to speak a couple of words and forget about my situation.

Maybe I will call Peter Lawyford"

Maybe I will call Peter Lawyford”

But still, I had this empty space inside of me that only booze seemed to fill up, so the day went fast and easy, and when I realized I had free lunch given to me in the kitchen (a  bowl of soup made of bread and and egg), I thought it was so simply but delicious. Then it was siesta time , so I went back to my bench.  As I sit down ready to curl my body into the shape of the bench again, the cop Pedro (Pepe like everyone called him) said to me, pointing over to a corner room that had too big tall doors, “Go there,  there is a hammock es for your, your  can stay there, its the womens’ room.”  I walked over and there were of course no one there, but there was a hammock no so clean but large

.  As you will remember  I slept on one for a long time, in the Island of  Margarita, Porlamar where we lived before and with my fiance on long time ago.

As I opened the door, the first thing I see is a window and a small desk with a rattan chair and nada más. Well, I did not need anything, I had nothing with me anyway, though I would love to buy one of those dresses that the Indians wore. But I had no money, just a few bolivars, not enough for a dress. Maybe I can call someone to help! But what  would I say?  No , I can’t say I am in jail!  for what?, they would ask?.

To leie down and rest is what I need,  but I could not take myself from the window as the outdoor was so inviting and looking this window had no bars of iron on it,  would be so easy to get through and out of  this jail,  but then what? How am I going to get to the airport with no passport and no money? My ticket! Where is it? I don’t know, but they must still have it, so I should just stay, relax and think about nothing. You can call me a coward I guess, but today I call it smart move.

Standing by the window, I looked out at the road, and  a baby black little kitty was crossing the street. Meow meow! Like me, it was hungry and lost and lonesome! I went to Pedro who was sitting on his chair leaning against the wall, smoking a puro cigar and relaxing. “Senor senor, there is a baby kitten outside! The cars will kill it!” He just sat without moving and continued smoking, it’s O.K. not worried ma’am, so I went back to my hammock , but first I look through the window ,  to see the cat…  and the kitty was gone.

“Oh well, I thought,  just as will how would I fed him (  there’s milk)!  jajajaj,  but he is gone, lastima!, it would been a nice companion!, and talking to myself, I  said just relax Ludmila, God will help him, as he did help you, , as he has done so far, yes?.

The sky was so  blue, the heat very high and the  clouds they look like cotton….


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The  big door opened and I moved my head slowly in; then my body followed, half with fear and half curiosity, also a weird air of hope. “Pase, pase, Señora,” a voice came out from this large mahogany desk behind which a gentleman stood up, stretching his hand to me, “Welcome… please sit down.” This nice old colonial-style room with expensive looking antique furniture; the room had a high ceiling, and this short good looking older men was directing all his attention to me. He seemed to be saying to himself, “What am I going to do with this young Lady?” Curiosity seized my soul, so firmly and quickly I went up to this man and shook his outstretched hand, saying, “Como esta Ud. Señor?” (in Spanish of course). In so many words he made me welcome, after this initial formality that I knew so well. I asked, “Where am I? and how long will I be here?”  “Oh, that depends on your lawyer,” he assured me. I did not know I had one! I never met him, but I did not want to question my situation and was satisfied with being here and not there in that pocilga. Leaving his office, he said, “Just sit on the bench back there. If any news comes, my secretary Senorita Pepita will let you know…” I could only say “Gracias Señor Rodriguez”

At home writing my life, it seems like a movie

At home writing my life, it seems like a movie

No one stopped me from walking around, looking and inspecting this cazona. I was kind of free, and it felt great, walking around looking, hoping to get same rum or aguardiente, anything to calm the insanity going on in my head. I found the location of the kitchen, or what was supposed to be a sort of kitchen. I kept walking on into this big room like a storeroom, a gigantic space piled high with boxes of what looked like powder milk and more boxes and people behind the counter going through papers. The secretary of señor Rodriguez was giving instructions which I did not understand clearly, and towards the front of the room near the street was a long counter separating the room in half. A long counter so that the people entering from the street couldn’t reach the boxes on the other side. Then I went walking toward what looked like the patio I had seen when I walked in. But now I could see clearly there were many men in there: Why? I thought I understood why they were there, but I didn’t know why I was here at all?

So I went back to my bench and soon it was closing time. Everybody was going home except for a couple more policemen who arrived, maybe four or five; one or two of them went to the patio where the men prisoners were, and one went to the front doors looking and closing them better. Two of them sat by a table not far from my bench. I wanted to sleep, so after yawning and  saying goodnight, I said to them “I wish I could have a drink of something strong? my nerves are going to explode!”,  Pedro said, “We’ll see,” so I just had a glass of water.

Me now, Painting writing living to which I am getting costume to it

Me now, Painting writing living to which I am getting costume to it

I was still shaking a little, because there weren’t  any women there that I could see, except the old lady  in the corner at La bodega de la esquina.  The front door was half open with the policia talking to the one standing  in the street. I finally closed my eyes and in no time I felt someone standing in front of me , I opened my eyes in fear and there was Pepe with that crocodile smile, picara, passing into my hands a flask of rum and a package of cigarettes, I asked, ” Cuanto le debo?” but he replied , nada (nothing);,

God bless this guy, I’ll never forget him.

I drank up all that little bottle of rum and lay down again on the bench in a fetal position, with whatever I had as a pillow and went to sleep feeling okay: God had not forgotten about me.

Snoring in a sound sleep,  I was brutally awakened by the screaming siren of a police car, and through the  big central door came a few more drunk men covered in bruises.  My God,  they must have been beaten by the policemen! I did not move, I just lay there watching them all go straight into that patio where all those other men were…

Let’s get back to that dream whatever it was! Anything would be better than this..

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The black van raced along at great speed. “Where are they taking me?” Oh I know, to the American Consulate, of course!  That’s why he didn’t speak to me this morning when I shouted at him through the iron bars in jail. Or maybe even straight to the Aeropuerto de Maracaibo? I was feeling a little better thinking that as soon I get to Caracas to change planes I will call Walter in San Francisco, and tell him I am having a great time seeing Maracaibo! I would love to stay in the same hotel where we stayed! Sweet memories: we danced in the disco club until the wee hours of the morning. But I have to go to Canaima too, my brother is waiting for me. Walter’s memories are haunting me, and my love for him after all those years still makes my heart jump!

Guajiara India woman in a every day dress and I had one too

Guajiara Indian woman in an everyday dress and I had one too

All this made me feel nostalgic suddenly, and I was not very happy about Tad abandoning me. What a coward with a capital C! Walter would never do that– or would he? or did he? I will tell him how much I still really love him, no matter how many lovers or husbands I have had over the years!

The van kept moving, I think we went past the aeropuerto. “Now where are we going?” I dared to ask, but no answer. I need to open these dark windows to see, but of course they were sealed,  so I could only see a little bit, from where the driver and his companion looked through their big window, which of course was not tinted. I really would like to see and get some air, it’s an inferno in here! The temperature must be over 100F and the air conditioner does not reach back here. But I just shut up and said nothing at all. The AC seems to work only in the front cabin, far away, separated by bars. Of course the windows were sealed and the bars were locked.

Now I realized I was the only one in the baucan (van) wherever it was, with these two jailers, and they were staring at me, which did not look very good to me! “Oh not, not that, my dear God. They’re not going to do something like rape me!”

Finally they stopped the van and the doors were open and these two guys stepped out and closed the doors– what now?  I guessed they were buying cigarettes, liquor, rum, and then they would take me to a remote place, rape me and may be even kill me and no one would ever find me, oh dear God please help me!

They took their time in the store, in the meantime I could try to see where we were. It just looked like the street of a colonial old style suburb, but I could only see half of the store. I couldn’t see the whole picture because of the way the windows were blacked out, with my nerves on fire and my mind spinning thinking of hundreds of scenarios, none of them very good! At least I had the faith that always took me through life unharmed. My thoughts were interrupted by the guards getting back in the van and shouting “Vamonos!” I yelled at one of them, “What’s going on?” No answer.

After what seemed an eternity, I heard voices and another car and lots of commotion going on, but I couldn’t see from my seat. I was still handcuffed. Then the van came to a stop, voices and cars noises, and finally they opened the side door that gave me access to get out, “Out,” one of the jailers said, “out! afuera!”

It was a nice street in a very old colonial area, the sky was blue and clear with fluffy clouds dancing to a soft breeze and the temperature over 100 F, but I did not care!

At least I could breathe fresh air, not the putrefying odor of that jail! There was a big corner house, very old Spanish style, with those old windows I liked so much and some big wooden doors; it was painted a blue grayish color with white borders all around the entire house. There were women with children coming out of the right far door, and from the center door there were men in suits that looked like lawyers, going in and out.

Through the left door they escorted me, and we went inside to a big sala with a beautiful old wooden desk with lots of papers piled up, and many people coming and going, so I stood there while some policemen came in and took their handcuffs off me.

My guards pointed to a long bench down the room and left me, saying “Stay there.” So I sat there, immobile, I dared not move or even ask where the bathroom was. This was okay, I thought. The interior of this mansion was very elegant, a good place to be on this day.

I could see through an open door. There was a large inside patio with rooms around the square, and men sitting and talking. Some were shaving, talking, or drinking coffee. Oh I really wanted something to drink! They all looked like regular people. I felt like God was smiling down and I just sat and enjoyed the comings and goings of so many different people. What a welcome distraction! On the far end of the room, opposite me, there was what looked like a very private office. Only a few people went in. I could hear telephones ringing everywhere, but behind doors that were closed all the time.

I sat and sat until around 4 pm, I could see a big clock in the wall, that was visible to all. There were typewriters click clacking and the constant sound of a busy office. I thought, this big old casona must have been very expensive, maybe it belonged to some hacendados, a rich Spanish or Venezuelan family, maybe some big oil money from the black gold!

What A difference in dresses before and now

What A difference in dresses before and now

The private door to that big office came open and a very pleasant pretty young lady looked at me and said politely, “Please follow me.” What now!

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We sat in that scary immigration office at the border of Venezuela and Colombia.  Finally, after many hours of interrogation, we convinced them that we were just having fun cruising around the world.

Went to The horse Track, had fun wonn some money

Went to The horse Track, won some money

Using all my charm, and showing them my phone book, I persuaded them that I only needed to call the Herrera or Boulton families, or my political friend Rafael with a penthouse in Maracaibo. Although having so many influential friends, including my brother Anatoly who lived on Canaima, I really did not know who to call!  In this horrible moment, I decided to call Jack, my ex-husband, and I had Jack call other friends I had introduced him to at the Onda Nueva International Music Festival.

Finally, after all of the information I gave them, they realized that I was a Venezuelan citizen and resident and pretty well known celebrity from shows, and that my friend with me was just my lover, a harmless young American.

At that time, money was pouring from the U.S. to Venezuela, through the companies that General Marcos Pérez Jiménez had set up in deals many years before, and which were still in business. In other words we needed a friend to come driving to the border to pick us up and vouch that I was who I said I was, and that Tad was okay also.

This is were we are flying to Anatoly Island, from Maracaibo

This is where we are flying to, Anatoly Island, from Maracaibo

Boy oh boy, I was not a happy customer while we were in that hole full of rats in unbearable heat! I was drinking whatever I could find there! I found a little bodega, a hole with a piece of wood or old door for a counter, some fruits and veggies and some rum. And there, in this dusty place, stood one single bottle of “El Cacique King of Venezuela” rum, which I spotted immediately, remembering my wild social life in Caracas where that expensive rum flowed like water at the tables of the nuevo (new) rich people. But it cost more than we wanted to pay. We had no money to spare because we hadn’t reached our destination yet!

So I found a very inexpensive rum and Tad bought a bottle of wine to give to our friends when they arrived, as a gift. Well, I was oblivious by the time they arrived. While all the kissing, hugging, and introducing went on. I just said, “Let’s get out of here, we’ll talk in the van on our way to Maracaibo.” So it was goodbye, adios and gracias, let’s go. Finally we were on the other side of the border, so far so good. I was so happy and drunk and I started singing!

Rafael had come with his girlfriend and another lady that seemed to be an official, maybe an immigration secretary, and she was the one that signed for us and did all the paperwork at the border, before we could cruise on down the road.

I slept the entire ride to Maracaibo, well, to be honest I passed out, and woke up when I heard Tad say “Did we arrive? Is this your home?”  “Yes!” three voices sounded off.

I can tell you that the heat of Maracaibo is uniquely hot! I had been there many times with Walter, and then with Tony Aguilar on a tour with him singing and me promoting the Kent cigarettes that paid for the tour. We spent a few crazy days there at this condo of Rafael. We had fun; they were smoking marijuana everywhere we went, and I was snorting cocaine and drinking as much as I could. I am not so proud of the time we spent there. I was promiscuous and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

The time came to say goodbye and so we went off to the aeropuerto of Maracaibo. When we arrived there, we still had a few minutes to spare before boarding. Tad had a joint of marijuana he wanted to smoke before going on the plane. So we went out and sat in a semi-private area outside. I had been collecting some pot seeds as a hobby, and putting them in a silver little box that Walter gave me for cocaine. I was going to plant them somewhere. Sounded good and why not on the island, or better yet at my home in Los Angeles, in my own garden!

Then we heard the flight being announced, so Tad quickly put out the roach. Not wanting to waste it, I told him not to throw it away and put this barely a third of a joint, in my safari pants which had many pockets. We put it in a different pocket from my little silver box.

Walking to our line to board the flight, Tad went in front and passed me. It was my turn, and as I stepped up, this fantastic female officer, with a lesbian smile that seemed much too nice to me, started frisking me– she was touching me a little more than necessary I thought to myself! Then, when she touched the pocket with the little box, it must have been her curiosity, she stopped and touched it again almost like grabbing my calf muscle! I remembered what was in it and blurted out, “Oh shit!”

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We sat and waited on a broken bench with all our belongings, near the boat dock, as we watched the sunset. Then slowly, hesitatingly, we went over to the boat where the captain’s men were loading refrigerators and boxes full of other things; we waited to the side until they finished loading. Finally, it was getting dark, and that night there was no moon, so it was a smuggler’s perfect night, the boat would be very hard to see. There was contraband on board for sure, but even if they were transporting drugs nobody would be able to see us.

Waking around the Las Palms looking for a owner of a boat  that may takes to the shores of Colombia

Walking around the Las Palmas looking for an owner of a boat that may take us to the shores of Colombia

Captain Juan made a sign to us, waving his big hand, “Come on.” We got onto his boat while the crew prepared to cast out, untying the ropes. We put our belongings in a little corner space and just watched the show.

The sailors were just like Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate crew; one of them had a scar over his face, another had one arm, and they all looked very terrifying. We were as careful as we could be not to leave our things out, and even so, we were soon missing some money from Tad’s bag.  But I had nothing of importance, so I was just watching Tads stuff.

We were too excited to go to sleep, so we asked for some sodas and paid for it. At about 4am we stopped in a shallow of a small river, and the captain, with a machete in one hand, came to us– almost scaring us to death! He said, “now my friends you are to go with him,” pointing to an ugly deformed man down in the water on a small dingy boat, loaded with a couple of boxes from our boat. “He will take you ashore to the Colombian shore!” So it was gracias and adios! I didn’t know if Tad knew about this arrangement, I couldn’t tell.

When and how some money disappeared from one of his bags remains a mystery to me because I did not leave his things, maybe when I went for a minute to the boat galley for some aguardiente or rum when Tad was asleep?

As we were walking, this women was standing next to this rotten boat whiting for her connection,  maybe her husband whit a contraband merchandise from Panam

As we were walking, this woman was standing next to a rotten boat waiting for her connection, maybe her husband with some contraband merchandise from Panama

We stepped down carefully onto a small boat, that looked like the water was almost up to the gunnels. I knew enough about boats to see that this was no good, plus this was a river of poisonous water snakes and big crocodilos. Our new Captain Raul is telling us with a knife on has sinch and a machete next to him, that was the reason why he was very well armed, meaning that he has a pistol, slowly I whisper to Tad, “you know? He can just kill us and we would never be found in these crocodile infested waters.”  We kept looking at him and being very alert, as usual we had no Plan A or B for what to do in that situation.

We had no weapons with us, not even a decent knife. I begin to pray and forget about my bottle of rum that I got from the cook. We said nothing, and sat on the end opposite to our new captain, his name he said repeatedly is Raul. I am sure none of the names were real! We whispered to each other as he started the little motor and we departed from captain Juan with a big smile, but which boat seems safer now?  This one is scarier! What would we do if he attacks us, takes our things and throw our bodies in the water?

Now we were really afraid. We said to each other, let’s sit a little further away, separately from each other, so we can defend ourselves better just in case he attack us. “OK?” I said to Tad. Yes was the answer, but we also did not want to be apart to far from each other in case the boat sinks. We were riding almost with water up to the gunnels of this little boat. I started a conversation with captain Raul, to distract him from looking at our luggage as much as possible and at me. Tad was telling him where we were from and that I was his aunt. Raul said it should soon be getting morning, we said to ourselves we hope. Dear God help us!

Tad was asking him how to get to Medellin from where he was going to let us off. Captain Raul said, it’s too far from the Pacific shores beach, you walk straight. It was still dark. We still could be killed by him or others that were waiting for him at the shore. At this time the stars became fewer, they seemed to have disappeared, a sign that very soon the sun would be coming up, just a few more hours to go. It was a full sky of stars, not that there were more stars, just that they were much brighter from the river. It was actually hard not to notice that fantastic sky in the middle of the dark waters. We were navigating in a very dark night, one of the darkest I ever remember seeing.

The light was coming slowly, slower than what we wanted! “Tad can you see land?” I asked. “Yes, we’re on the Pacific side, Colombia here we go!” he replied. “Hush,” I told him, “we are not completely safe yet,” still a long way from Medellin. Finally, after a little while we stopped, gave a tip to the captain and said our goodbyes and thanks, gracias and adios! With the outboard motor the boat couldn’t go any further, so we had to walk in the water to the shore. Captain Raul said adios, and again we said goodbye. After helping us out, he had a big smile on his face with all the front teeth broken. It was an even scarier face in the morning when he let us off. In those last dark minutes, we knew we could still be killed by him or maybe others that were waiting for him and his cargo at the shore.

Our bravery only can be described as naive, or a case of muchas bolas (a lot of balls)!

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We arrived in Tepoztlan near Cuernavaca and I broke entry without having confirmation from Maria to use her home, but it was empty. I reasoned to myself it must be okay, so I found the way in and did not say anything to Tad about it. It was a beautiful place, wood brim ceiling and tall spacious rooms, and a big bed with furs on it.  The one thing missing was enough wood to keep the whole house warm, so we were in bed early with a cozy fire and a bottle of wine and lots of fur covers all over the bed to cover us. We loved, we read, we laughed, and fell asleep early with the wood still burning in that big fireplace. The room was so romantic and Mexican, with pre-hispanic art everywhere on the room shelves, candles, that smell of burning wood that only in Mexico, the wood smells like that.

The next morning we decided to go to the peak of the mountain, Tepozteco, where the clouds sometimes cover the temple and half of the mountain. There is a pyramid dedicated to the god of pulque (the Mexican alcoholic beverage), about 1420 metres of altitude, very hard to climb and very dangerous. Many tourists that climbed had to be taken to Mexico City for bad fractures and a direct flight is about three or four hours. The drive in a car depends of trafico, or to Cuernavaca it was 40 minutes. Cuernavaca is a retreat for the very rich people, per week ends. Many famous people go there, like Rodolfo Valentino was many times a guest of archaeologists and powerful people. Errol Flynn was a guest of some spies, he himself was accused of being one. “The rich poor girl” Miss Hutton built a palace for herself and even Clark Gable visited Cuernavaca. Everyone loved that perfect climate almost year round, green with valleys and rivers, waterfalls, piramides, mountains, and above all the tranquility of a low key discretely wonderful, hideaway.

 'El Tapon de Darien" nears port  on one of the rivers

“El Tapon de Darien” near the port of one of the rivers

Most of the days you don’t see the mountain top and the ruins of the old pyramid of Tepozteco, in Tepoztlan where we were now staying for a couple of days and meeting very interesting people. On this particular day it was clear, so we decided to go and visit these ruins.

I prepared a basket full of food and liquor with some wine too, a great picnic for us to eat and drink on top of this pyramid. When we finally arrived there and relaxed to eat and drink, the clouds started upon us. As we were finishing our meal, enjoying the scenery, drinking the rest to get our buzz, the clouds crept over us slowly and covered us with the fog, so it was like being inside clouds envueltos (wrapped) in the floating sky. This was a marvelous feeling, and quite different than looking up at them from the bottom of the hill, but then it started pouring down rain on us and we had to descend, because it would not stop soon.

Canal de Panama in that time look like this

Canal de Panama in that time looked like this

It was time to leave Tepoztlan, although we really did not want too. Tad had a schedule to keep in Pamplona Spain for the running of the bulls, so we continued our journey, and we took a local bus, with chickens, ducks, and baby pigs! It smelled like a farm and not a bus. We rode it to the border of Mexico and Guatemala.

I told Tad I knew people and had friends right where he wanted to go, to Lake Atitlan, since that was where Jose was now. I did not know he was living with La Negra, so I got a big surprise after an arduous trip hitchhiking, finally getting to Guatemala, and now to Lake Atitlan to the Hacienda of the coffee plantation of La Negras family. We arrived at night and as we entered their home, there was Jose with La Negra and a new baby! Well surprise, surprise!

My heart stopped for a moment and all my feelings for him revived in me, I still loved him. I had tears and lots of pain, my heart was becoming crazy but I contained my emotion for my pride. Tad was just a fanboy for me up until then, I did not really love him, as Jose was still there on my mind and heart. It was becoming more than that though, Tad was great company and fun, he cared for me, I liked that. Jose seemed not to forget our love, showing us photos, looking at me and the motorcycle, in the middle of the bedroom next to the baby, with which we had the accident. He called her La Tzarina. I couldn’t play anymore games with Jose, and I started liking Tad a lot.

I said, “Well, let’s get something to drink.” We’d come from a long journey, were dirty and tired, which was as good an excuse as any, to drink. Unfortunately, the only thing available for a buzz was Mayan real aguardiente, which is the strongest cheapest alcoholic drink available in the pueblo. It was the only one the Mayan Indians sold. There was not a single liquor store in this valley in or out of these beautiful mountains, with the pristine beautiful lake inside a crater of a volcano, millions of years old!

We slept in the room next to Jose’s and my mind was thinking of the past I had with Jose. In the morning after having had Mayan grown coffee, and some more aguardiente, just me alone since no one else drank like I did, we had a tour of the coffee plantation and all their process up to  the shipping. The following day we proceeded our journey to the next country, Honduras.  Sometimes in buses and sometimes hitchhiking in trucks. I must be honest, since this is my confessions– I don’t remember much of Honduras. I think we slept in a hostel in Tegucigalpa, and continued quickly on to Nicaragua, where we found a camping ground. There were lots of young people that probably had some cause to stare and talk about us, with me being much older than him, but they did not comment to me or ask about my relationship with Tad Gail, which was very nice of them. We made lots of friends there, some were going to Pamplona also. We ate with them and drank with them and it was okay for me– but camping in tents was not my bag!

We had no problems at the borders. I said I was his aunt, and while they most probably did not believe it, that was alright with me. The next stop was Costa Rica: beautiful beaches, great forests and we arrived at a good time, not much rain at that time of year. We arrived in a big truck with a bedroom built up like a second floor, so Tad asked the driver if we could sleep in the truck for that night, since it was too late to find a hotel or anything. He let us stay there, and it was not bad. The following morning we went out walking in San Jose. We went exploring and found a little beautiful mobile home camp on the outskirts of the city. Luckily there was a motor home empty that belonged to somebody who was out of the country, so we rented it for a couple of days. Well Tad did, so far I did not spend any money.

From there we proceeded hitchhiking rides, down to Panamá. Now in Panamá City we stayed downtown, not too far for the canal of Panama. What a fantastic labor of that men can do. We walked downtown and found an incredibly luxurious hotel. I could recognize it probably had very important people staying there at some point. There were white stairs made of alabaster in a caracol (seashell) shape, marble tile, tall ceilings with big crystal chandeliers, and big ventanales (windows), and balconies hanging out of them. It was a great stay.  We loved the fruit called marañon. We stayed for another couple of days and then on a train, we set off to El Tapon de Darien. (Dear readers of my book: very soon there will be more details of the beauty of all of these countries and their costumes and traditions.)

We were trying to cruise by car or by ferry to Colombia from the last Port near El Tapon de Darien but there we found only swamp mosquitos, and old very sad homes made of rotten wood by the jungle weather. There was no road to Colombia or to anywhere. People said there would never be one down there but if you open the world atlas it shows in that time there was a trans american highway from the beginning of the Andes to the end of the Andes after Chile, because of the traffic of drugs and other illegal things, but never will the part of that be finished.  Well, now what?

This was Tad’s plan and the only time he would be able to do go.  We had to get to Colombia and then to Venezuela, and we could not afford flying, because it was not in his budget. I don’t think it included me in that budget nor did I ask him about his money so I really don’t know. I never asked him about his money situation at any other place. Back at the little Port of La Palma there were cargo boats going from the near La Palma port to a river that enters into Colombia shores of the Pacific and from here we can go to Medellin and home free to Venezuela and to Canaima to see my adventurous men of the jungle.

Without  further ado, we went straight to the  Las Palmas docks, where we found a place to sleep and asked how to get on a boat to Colombia. Big ships were not allowed legally to take passengers and the big ship that did, cost a fortune so we spend day after day, me translating and doing all the talking and snooping and listening until I heard of a contrabando small boat that goes out by the back of a small river where regular boats could not go.  After talking to many boat captains, we finally met this big fat ugly guy who looks dangerous to me, but I did not panic or say anything to Tad.  So we agreed it was okay to pay and go on his boat. “Captain Juan” stood up straight and shouted to his crew laughingly, we will take these two passengers!  Well, they did not look like deeply religious or godly people exactly!  We laughed too and said “Okay”, here tonight after dark? This did not sound too promising, but we laughed nervously and shook hands with Juan the jefe. The rest of the crew looked liked thieves and one of them was like Peter Lorre with a cut on his face down to the lip!  How innocent and stupid we were!

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During the great fish dinner, which was just enough for everybody, and as a matter of fact very well done by the chef of the Hotel, with the food, wine and conversation going on, Tad was just staring at me across the table and couldn’t take his eyes off me. My associate was not feeling that great, so he paid the bill or signed for it, and retired to the room. Some of us proceeded to go out and sit by the tables outside, where many a time Liz Taylor and Richard Burton would sit to drink.

Ludmila in Bora Bora with Jack

Ludmila in Bora Bora with Jack

Some people went to discos or to another bar by the sea, but we sat there talking and holding hands. He said come with me hitchhiking through Central America down to Venezuela! We’ll see your brother in the jungle and then I will be on my way to the corrida de toros in Pamplona, since I promised my friends I would be there this year. Then we’ll see each other when I am back in L.A or if you want to come with me to Spain. Boy oh boy I was not aware how far into the alcohol I was? Of course anything seems possible under Mr. Buzz.

It was not easy to say goodbye to my future partner, of course not any more than a business partner, but as of the moment I told him I was going to Central America and to Venezuela to see my brother. He knew better by then, what was really going on. With him I had a horrible situation; he almost did not want to give me back my passport, since he paid the hotel and flight and meals. I did not explain nada to him except that I was not coming back to L.A. with him, and that I was going to Yelapa. So I left him there with no remorse.

Cuernavaca whit friends and Tad

Cuernavaca with friends and Tad

Tad and I went on our merry-go-round, into the next town by the beach on the other side of Puerto Vallarta, Yelapa. In those years there were no roads or any way to go to this place, except by horse, mule or by boat. That was how the provisions arrived there, all the food and water. As we approached the place we saw its indescribable beauty, so unique, with high mountains coated in lush green jungle, and cliffs dropping into the sea. There were no beaches except where we arrived in the boat. We walked up and up the little dirt road full of palms trees and jungle shrubs after we got out of the boat. I remember that Octavio, my Chilean friend, had a wife living there with her new husband. So she was there and invited us to her gorgeous tall and spacious palapa. There was an incredible boutique of very fine things that the rich tourists  went crazy for! Tad met Ruth and she welcomed us, then offered us a drink– well, not any drink but one especially made for her by the indians in the mountain tops, real Mezcal that was so smooth and delicious. I asked for refills of course, a second and a third one. Tad was okay with one drink, but not me!

We found a cabana in the rocky area almost touching the water, where it was possible to get in the water carefully. We stayed there for three nights and it was fun. I drank all the time, and he read all the time, and it seemed the romance was progressing because we did not argue or step on each others toes. In the center of this mini pueblo there was an open bar and once in awhile they had movies. One particular night they had one, and what a surprise, I could not believe here of all places they were playing “Kaliman”! In this Mexican film was my friend of the parties in Hollywood and Mexico City Jeff Cooper.

Ludmila whit a German Von Boron in Cuernavaca

Ludmila with a German Von Boron in Cuernavaca

Staying there I remembered Bora Bora with my ex husband Jack, where we had a different time, cocaine and making love everywhere on the water, on the long solitary beaches and even in the golf cart! That was a little different from this intellectual romantic trip with Tad.

From there we went on to Cuernavaca, where I invited us to the house of Maria, my German friend. Her father was a well known archaeologist. She had a very romantic home, with beautiful landscaping, flowering gardens and trees everywhere. This was in Tepoztlan just a few minutes outside of Cuernavaca.

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