Marc Becker's Home Page


Find on

Marc's Blog

Friday, January 23, 2009

World Social Forum

I'm attending the World Social Forum (WSF) in Belém, Brazil, from January 27 - Feb 1, 2009. I'm posting more information at

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Crossing Borders

Just to close off this story, we had a rather long but rather uneventful trip back from Creel. As always, the train stops at Divisadero where everyone gets off and for 15 minutes to run to the edge to take a picture of the deep Copper Canyon, but it is hard to do this if you do not know that we are there and the conductor never seems to announce it. The train was not too late leaving Creel in the late morning, but arrived back at Los Mochis about 1.5 hours late. We grabbed a taxi to the bus station, arriving just as the bus was supposed to leave for Tucson. Fortunately, a very friendly driver waited for us to purchase tickets. The weather continued to be bright and sunny, but cool, and it was a very scenic trip back down through the mountains.

As we were going to the train station in Creel, a tour guide named Pepe that we had met when we got off the train stopped us and said he had been looking for us, because he had been thinking that if we left really early in the morning we could make it to Batopilas if we left really early in the morning. Unfortunately, the point wasn't that we wanted to make a one-day trip (which would have been a very long day), but that we only had one day in Creel. I asked about security, and he said it was fine, but the police presence and writings on the walls indicated that there were still tensions in the air from the August massacre (see Creel killings: Massacre of family escalates Mexican drug wars and Massacre in the Sierra Tarahumara).

John Hart's book The Silver Of The Sierra Madre ends with the comment about Batopilas:

At present, the new bonanzas of tourism and marijuana provide unprecedented levels of income to the rural folk. ... For now, however, prosperity is offered by the Sinaloa Cartel. This time, the batopilenses have no expectation of Las Hadas.

and our Lonely Planet tour book says:

Batopilas can be a little rough around the edges. The military recently razed the marijuana crops in the surrounding area, effectively bringing the local economy to a grinding halt. As a result, the town has seen an upsurge in robberies and kidnappings. Foreign tourists aren't usually targeted, but do yourself a favor and be vigilant here.

We spent the night on the bus, and arrived at the U.S./Mexico border in the morning, where we waited for about 1.5 hours to cross while birds flew freely back and forth over the iron fence.

| Marc Becker's Home Page | |