Well, It's Definitely Not Disney World

| Wed Feb. 7, 2007 7:52 PM EST

"'Run!' Mr. Santiago shouted, frantically directing us toward a concrete bridge at the bottom of the sloping road. 'Shut off that light, they're coming. Fast, fast. Damn it, shut off that light!'"

"Poncho shooed us into a thicket of bush. We'd nearly been discovered by the Border Patrol. We hid as men with flashlights roamed the field in front of us, taunting us in Spanish and accented English."

Just an account of an immigrant's arduous journey across the U.S.- Mexico border? Nope. It's the latest in the tourism industry. In the Hñahñu Indian's Parque EcoAlberto, a communally owned eco-park in Mexico, women, men and children can embark on a make-believe trek across the Rio Grande River, a journey many real immigrants make everyday. Kind of makes you scratch your head, right? But like the New York Times reports in this article, it's not the first time that groups have tried to raise awareness through "reality tourism." (I just made that up, but it works, right?)

Over 3,000 tourists, mostly Mexicans, have paid $18 to set out across the Rio Grande in groups with guides from Parque EcoAlberto. One of the guides says, "They learn to value the liberty they have in their own countries, that they don't have to run and be chased in their own lives." 800,000 Mexicans cross the U.S.-Mexico border every year. I guess this is one way for them to know what their fellow citizens have endured.

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