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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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The  big door opened and I move my head slowly in; then my body followed, half with  fear and half curiosity and with 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 has 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. Senor?” (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 their 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 Senor 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  suppose to be a sort of kitchen? I kept walking on to  this big  room like a storeroom, a gigantic space piled high with boxes of what  looked like powder milked and more boxes and people behind the counter going through papers. The secretary of senor Rodriguez was  giving instructions  which I did not understand clearly , and towards the front of the room toward 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 don’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 but  a couple more policemen arrived, maybe 4 or 5; 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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Book Scans Two0002

“Yes , I guess, yes , but you cannot leave this office or go outside. You must just stay in that corner, so  no one will see you , but I must put you back inside there at 5 am because the other jailer is coming to relieve  me and I would not be back until this evening. Hopefully you will be O.K.”.. What did she meant by hopefully? Well I couldn’t think,  I  just sat on the floor and tried to rest between her desk and the corner wall,  away from the rotten, broken door left open all the time. So I could hear the noises of the giant square cell outside and the women cursing and laughing and screaming at each other with words that I had never heard before (and I heard plenty of curse words since childhood!. They even expelled me from one school that my sister tried to put me in, because those was the first words I learned when we arrived in Venezuela). O my dear God, Help me!…. but the night went by amazingly fast.

5 am: “hey, let’s go, let’s go!” My jailer walked  out only couple of meters from where we were, and I was following her very hesitantly.  Then she opened that giant iron gate door, pushing the women away and telling them to back off. “Go in!”  In there? “Go!”  and she almost pushed me. I was carrying my poetry book of Khalil Gibran against my chest, clutching it for dear life, when they all  surrounded me and I barely get to the first bed I saw and just sat there, with them all around me. One of them was walking towards us screaming “Let her breath mariconas!” They just backed off a little, and this one came up and grabbed my book. ” What is this?”  I humbly but forcefully said, “That is dried flowers that I picked up hitchhiking from Mexico to here.” “What?” Ha ha ha ha!” All of them laughed,  but she just stood there and said too the others, “let her be.”  Looking at my book she said, “This is not Spanish,” and  I said, “No it is Ingles.”  “And your read Ingles?” she asked?  “Yes, si”

The cockroaches were still flying everywhere, it was getting later, and the morning wanted to come in,  even into this pocilga, pigsty. The smell was horrendous and the rats, well,  they could not care less for these humans. I put my feet under me in yoga position  and  did not move. One of them brought a beat up steel cup (very dirty in my opinion)  with water, and saying  “Drink this and relax you are going  to be okay.” “what?”, “The men are gone.” What did she meet by saying the men are gone?  Oh my God!

Tad picking Tomatoes through our trip

Tad picking Tomatoes through our trip

After a while, I don’t know how long. some jailers brought in coffee that tasted like pee water, and I had a chance to say “Please may I  speak to an officer?” Yes,  one was just here. “Si,  please can I call again the American Consulate?” No need,  the officer said, “they called last night and someone from the Consulado will be here this morning.”  “What time can I ask?” “Who knows? later…”

.

So I went back  to  my bunk, and they all still were  there sitting on my bunk, all talking at the same time, and many if not all of them were scratching their heads. My head was spinning, because I was powerless over the situation for the first time in my life. All I could think was, a drink would be very welcome now, to soothe this pain!”

There  were some ugly faces and there were some sweet faces, and faces  with cuts through their cheeks, some women with one eye,  some limping, some had their arm in a cast– but they all had lice in their hair! Oh God!  No!  I have  long hair, it  was in a ponytail, I thought,  I  must roll my hair around my head,  to not get these  lice or hair mites!

The hours went by miserably, slowly, and very disgusting, but I will not go into that at this point, everything I seen in their,  I will leave it for my book…

About noon the American Consul arrived, but he did not even speak to me. They just went straight to some office, with several people, and I could barely see them through the iron gate. In  about 15 minutes or so, no more, they left without me. Why? I was about to cry or scream or do something crazy, when the head jailer came in with two others and opened the gate and said “Follow me, Ludmila Millman.” That was my last name from my marriage to Jack.  Oh God, what now? I could not believe hearing my own name. So now I am out? (wishful thinking!). There was a police car and a black van, and the Jefe said “Get in!”

My dear God,  what’s now?

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We were sitting there 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, had fun wonn some money

Using all my charm (and showing them my phone book), I persuaded them that I only needed to call to the Herrera or the Boulton families, or to my political friend Rafael with a penthouse in Maracaibo.  Having so many influential friends, including my brother Anatoly who levies on Canaima, I really did not know who to call!  it this horrible moments so I called on Jack’ my x, , and had Jack call other friends I had introduced him too,  at the Onda Nueva  International Music Festival.

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

At that time, money was pouring from the U.S. to Venezuela, through the companies that Marcos Pérez Jiménez (General ) had set up in deals many years before, and which were still in  business. So 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 ok.

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

This is were 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 this unbearable heat! Being all my youth have my away, So 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 rich people. But it cost more than we wanted to pay, we had no money to spare because hadn’t achieved our destiny, not 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, “:Lets get out of here, we’ll talk in the van on our way to Maracaibo” So it was goodbye, adios and gracias, lets go. Finally we were on the other side of the border, so far so good.  I was so happy and drunk I started singing!

Anyway, 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– thru  the ride too Maracaibo,  well, to be honest I passed out, and woke up when I heard Tad say ” did we arrived is this your  home?”  “Yes!”“three voice sounded off.

I can tell you that the heat of Maracaibo is uniquely hot !  I had been there many times with William,  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 William gave me for cocaine. I was going to plant them  somewhere? Sounds good: 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 it,  at was just barely a third of a joint, in my safari pants  which had  many pockets,  (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 officer female, 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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A few minutes down the little trail, there was no one around us, but their was this big tree for a tropical jungle that is, down on the ground, so I said “Let’s have a drink”  “From where?,” said Tad, “there’s nothing here not tiendas.”  Will I said it happened that I have a bottle of rum and some cookies. So we sat on a limb of of this dead tree near the entrance of a small river, where there were many places for little boats to get in and unload their merchandise. We were too tired and hungry to be concerned about anything but getting to Medellin for a hotel, rest and relaxation, after all this ordeal.

The sun was up  and getting warmer, the tropical  humidity will be very high on this shores now .

But we  still had to walk and walk looking at this unknown land, when  finally  we saw a real road! Heyy look it this, we are getting  close!  Then we walk too what now became a highway with cars going  and coming, so we hitched a ride too Medellin. What a beautiful city!  We went to the first hotel that seemed okay, even if it was not any class, and we took a room; at this point  we did not care .

After sleeping and resting for a few hours and getting ready to see the city and exchange some money, Tad asked me, where first? I said the Bank I think, so we went to the Bank to change money.

There was music everywhere playing in the early  afternoon, with people dancing on the streets, and it seemed that happiness prevail everywhere.

Which bank I don’t remember, but the exchange rate was not so good as we expected. So we went outside to see if any of the guys by by the door,  who were approaching the people that enters the Bank, to see if maybe they  would have a  better  exchange,  and they did.we proset to exchange the dollars Tad head too change .

Border Colombia and Venezuela waiting for Help S.O.S. .from

Border Colombia and Venezuela waiting for Help S.O.S. .from

Tad counted the money  that the guy  gave him too caunt the exchange moneys, then I counted the money giving back too Tad he counted it again and then the Columbia gay took the money from Tad and counted it again in front of us,  then gave us the change money back correct , yes correct, and we went satisfied with the exchange of the money, happy,  to the hotel to pay our bill.. .

But when we sat down and counted the money again,  surprise, what? Tad with a loud voice what?….. The whole amount  was half what it was supposed to be! we counted it once, twice, a  third and fourth time. No, no,  no good!,  We have been fucked.

All of this  contributed to my university, now I know people call some fantastic people,  saying that they went to the university of life. Many famous millionaires and other amazing people were educated that way, but I had  the heart of a gentle gazelle, which was soon turning  into  a Cossack Warrior , awakening that nomad in me, including the drinking part..

Well,  we had certainly been taken by these Colombian con- men, for all that money, which did not stop Tad  from taking us out to dance and see a little of the nightlife in Medellin .

Oil in Maracaibo, Venezuela

Oil in Maracaibo, Venezuela

We stayed in Medellin for a couple of days, and on the third day we ventured off to continued our journey to Venezuela then reached the route  to Maracaibo.

We went through an incredibly beautiful jungle, with houses along the route, little huts of vendors of tropical fruit and the smell of  mangos, bananas , ananas or Pineapples like delightful flowers well, it is a flower, like a tomato is a fruit.

We spent another couple of days enjoying the Colombian countryside from Medellin to the border with Venezuela, and from Maracaibo we were to fly to Canaima. Maracaibo is located in the Lago de Maracaibo, Edo. Zulia, Venezuela, which is the largest lake in all of Venezuela and one of largest places for oil extraction. The temperature is over 100 degrees F. every day and only a little cooler at night.

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We sat on  a broken bench with all our belongings, near the boat dock, and watched the sunset; then slowly, hesitatingly, we went over to the boat where the captain’s men were loading refrigerators and boxes and boxes of other things, we waited to the side in the background until they finished loading. Finally, it was getting  dark, and that night there was no moon, so that a smuggler’s perfect night’ so 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

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

Captain Juan made a sign to us with his big hand – “Come on…” , so we got onto his boat  while the crew  made ready to cast off out, untying  the ropes. We put our belongings in a little corner space and just watch the show.

The sailors were just like Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate crew; one of them had a scar all over his face, another had one arm,  and they all looked very terrifying. We were as careful as 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.  About 4 am we stopped in a shallow of a small river, and the captain, machete in hand, came to us (almost scared us to  death!) and said, now my friends you are to go with him, pointing to this ugly deformed man down there in the water on a small dinghy, loaded with couple of boxes from our boat. “He will take you ashore to the Colombian shore!” So it was gracias  adios! I didn’t know if Tad  knew about this arrangement, 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 an sleep?

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 women was standing next to this rotten boat whiting for her connection, maybe her husband whit a contraband merchandise from Panama

Now we step down carefully on this small boat, that I looked and the water was almost  up to the gunnels. I knew enough about boats that this was no good,  plus this was a river of water poisoning snakes and big crocodilos– Our new Captain Raul is telling us with a knife on has sinch and a machete next to him, explaining that was why he was very well armed  meaning  that the has a pistol , slowly I whisper too my partner your know? he can just kill us and we would never be found in these crocodile infested waters.  Lets keep looking at him and be very alert , we had no “Plan  “A”   or”  B” what  to do on that case?

We had no  weapons, 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) jajajaj his name he said is  repeatedly  Raul ,  si we said,. I am sure none of this names were real! He held a knife on has cinch and a machete next to him,  we whisper to each other as he started the little motor and we departed from captain Juan with a big smile, which boat seems safer now?,  this one is scarier? what should we do if he attacks us, takes our things and throw our bodies in the water?

Now we were really afraid.  Will, we said to each other, let’s set 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 too far from each other in case the boat sinks.   We were going almost with water 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 where we from and that I was his aunt, etc, etc. 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, its too far from the Pacific shores beach , your walk straight, It was still  dark– we still can be killed by him or others that are 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 will soon be coming up,few hrs . ago, it was a full sky of stars, not  that there were more starts, they just that they were  much  brighter,  I must say it was hard not to notice that fantastic sky in the middle of the dark waters and we were navigating in a very dark night, one of the darkest I ever remember seeing.

The. light is coming slowly,  slower than what we wanted!    Tad can you see land? Yes,  we’re on the Pacific side, Colombia here we go! Hush, we are not completely safe yet, a long ways from Medellin remember?  Finally, after a little while we stop, gave a tip to the captain and said our goodbyes and thanks gracias 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, again we said  goodbye, after helping us out,  he had a  big  smile  on his face, with all the front tooth broken, was a even scarier face in the morning   letting to let us off,?   Those last dark minutes , we knew  this last minutes  we can still be killed by him or maybe others that area waiting for him  and has cargo at the shore.  At this time  the stars became fewer.  It seems that  they slowly are  disappearing, a sign that very soon the sun will be coming up.  I sad too Tad there were many  more stars the sad they were  breiter earlier in the night,  that is why they were  much  brighter,  I must say, even with  all this fear,  it was not  hard  to notice that fantastic sky in the middle of the  dark night on this river waters when we were navigating  in a very dark night, one of the darkest I ever ben, that I remember saying.

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

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Now that we arrived in Tepoztlan near Cuernavaca and I broke entry without having confirmation of Maria to use her home, but it was empty  I reason too myself so most be O.K.so I found the away in did no say too Tad anytihing about it,  beautiful place, wood bims celing and told spaceis roms, big bad with furs on it, now one thing there were not enough wood to keep the whole house warm, so we were in bad early with a cozy fire a bottle of wine and acurucaditos with lots of fur covers all over the bad, and same in us,  we love, we read , we laufgh,and fell asleep early, the wood was still in that big fireplace burning with, the room look so so romantic and Mexican, whit precolombian art every where on the room shelves and candles and that smell of burning wood that only in Mexico, the wood  smell”s like that,  will get firewood tomorrow but now  too …..  Next morning we decided to go to the peak of the mountain, Tepozteco, where the clouds sometimes cover the temple and half of mountain and there is a pyramid dedicated to the god of pulque (the Mexican alcoholic beverage), about 1420 metres of altitude very heart to climb and very dangerous, many of tourist head to be taken to Mexico City for the bad fractures D.F. is about 3 or 4 hrs . drive in car depends of trafico, our to Cuernavaca  40 minutes, this last one is a retreat for the very rich people, per week ends , many many famous people live their,  Rodolfo Valentino was their many times guest of archaeologist and Powerful  people, Errol Flynn  quest of some spies  he himself was accused of being one, “the rich  poor  girl”  Miss Hutton  build a palace for herself and event Clark Gable visit Cuernavaca, everyone love at  perfect climate almost year round , green with Valleys and rivers with water falls piramides mountains and above all tranquility low key discretely wonderful, hideaway .

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

‘El Tapon de Darien” nears port on one of the rivers

Most of the days you don’t see the mountain top and the ruins of the old pyramids of Tepozteco, in Tepoztlan where we were now stay for couple of days and meeting very interesting people, (or what is left of the pyramids now in ruins), but, it was clear that day, so we decided to go and claim to see these ruins,

I  prepared a basket full of food and liquor and some wine, 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 star coming upon us, as we were finishing our meal, enjoying the scenery drinking the rest of our buzz. The clouds swept over us slowly and covered us with the fog, so it was like being inside clouds envueltos in it floating in the sky, this was a marvelous feeling,  also quite different ,  looking up at them from the bottom of the hill, but then it started pouring down water on us and we had to descend, because the rain would not stop soon.

Canal de Panama in that time look like this

Canal de Panama in that time look like this

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

By now I told Tad I knew people  and friends right where he wanted  to go, to see Lake Atitlan and 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 and 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, 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 hard was coming crazy, , but I contained them for my pride. Tad was just a fanboy for me up too now, I did not really love him,  as Jose was still there on my mind and body, but now it became more than that, now Tad  is great company and fun and he cares for me, I like that, do Jose seems not he’d forget our love,  showing us looking at me the motorcycle in the middle of the bedroom,  next to the baby, with which we had  the accident and call her La Tzarina,  I couldn’t play anymore that game,  I start liking Tad  a lot.

 I said,  Well, let’s get  something to drink, we’d come from a long journey  dirty, shirty and tired, (good excuse) to drink unfortunately  the only thing available  buzz was Mayan real  aguardiente, the strongest cheapest alcoholic drink available in this pueblo, the only one the Mayan Indians sold. There’s  not a single liquor store in this valley in or  out of this beautiful mountains,  with the most beautiful lake  inside a crater of a volcano,  millions of years old!

We slept in the next room to Jose’s and my mind was thinking of the past we had with Jose.  And in the morning after having had Mayan grown coffee, and some more aguardiente me alone, no one else drink like I did, we had a tour by the  coffee  plantation and all their proceedings up to  the shipping.  The following day we proceeded our journey to the next country, Honduras.  Sometimes in  buses and sometimes hitchhiking with  the trucks.  I must be honest, since this area  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 say and talk about us, me being so 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 too Pamplona also.  We ate with them and drank with them and it was O.K.– but  camping in tents was not my bag!

We had no problems on the borders. I said I was his aunt, and while they most probably did not believe it,  that was alright with me.   Next stop 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.  So he did 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 San Jose. Luckily there was a motor home empty that belonged to somebody who was out of the country.  So we rented it for 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 what men can do.  Then walking on down town we found  a incredibly luxurious hotel (at one time, long ago most had very important people,) with white stairs made of alabaster in a caracol shaped, marble  tile, tall ceilings with big crystal chandeliers and big ventanales and balconies hanging out of the ventanales. It was a great stay.  We love the fruit called Maranon.  We stay 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 in more details of the beauty of all of this countries and their costumes and traditions.)

We were trying to cruise by car and or by ferry to Colombia from the last Port near El Tapon de Darien but there we found only swamp mosquitos, old very sad homes made of rotten wood by the jungle weather, and 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) that is 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 never will be the part of that finished.  Well, now what?

Tad’s plan was this and this is the only time he will be able to do it.  We must and had to get to Colombia and then to Venezuela, we could not afford flying, because this was not in his budget and I don’t think it included me another person in that nor I ask him about his money so I really don’t know, and never ask him about his money situation to go any other ways.  Back to 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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