Sunday, September 11, 2011

Planning is key....if you don't want to be left to die on the Mexico/ Guatemalan border)

When I travel there are some basic things that have to be planned before I head for my destination...transportation and lodging. Since the Mexico trip involved being transported to many different locations it was important to me to know where we would be laying our heads each night.

Talking with the girls about the trip they were more "free" with the thoughts of planning. They were good with just seeing how things worked out. That doesn't quite work for me. So... I volunteered to act as the planner for the trip. Think "Julie" from The Love Boat...but without the Dorothy Hamill haircut or the boat. (I have added a link for those of you too young to get this reference).

The farming part of the trip was the focus because it would be fun, would keep our costs down and would allow us to be in Mexico for a longer period of time.  We went through the WWOOFing organization. For a small fee you get a listing of farms located in the country or region that you are planning on traveling. You are then responsible for contacting the farms yourself and making arrangements. The list for Mexico was quite long.

I began going through the list, reading the descriptions and deciding which farms to contact. Some of the farms had very specific needs and time requirements, some had age/sex requirements, some sounded a bit frightening and then there were a few in the mix that sounded like they could work for us.  I began sending emails, and had Carolyn send emails in Spanish... as most of the farms provided email addresses and I didn't want my total lack Spanish to keep us from finding the perfect farm. The emails went out...then the wait began.

It took a few weeks to hear back from anyone. Out of the 15 or so emails we sent, we had only one reply. It sounded great! It was a small farm where we would stay in little tree houses where the windows were made out of the front of old soda machines. We would get to help the families in the villages near the farm and there was also the opportunity for us me to learn Spanish. The head "farmer" was American and he stated that he had moved to this area of Mexico (near the Guatemalan border) to help out the indigenous people.

Awesome! I email the girls to let them know we had found the perfect farm!

 Now...I've been told I am a pretty good judge of people and that I have a pretty good instinct.....

As I was emailing back and forth with Farmer guy to solidify our plans, there were some interesting weird things in the emails. First, he seemed a little too excited to have us there. Second, part of the WWOOFing program is that you work to pay for your room and board. Farmer guy started asking us if we could pay him a little bit of help out the people in the village. I found this quite strange. I tried to not let it bother me, since this was the only farm that we had heard back from...and we really wanted to farm.

An email from another farm had arrived in my inbox, but I put it aside. I emailed Farmer guy #1 to go over the plans for our arrival in a couple of months. I sent an email with more questions about the farm and a couple of questions about finding out about getting to the farm, the exact location of the farm and a few other traveling questions.  He replied to the farm questions. It sounded OK, but I was still getting a weird feeling. I couldn't quite figure it out...but I didn't like it. I emailed him back to get the answers to the questions about getting to the farm and travel know, the ones he didn't answer in the first email.

Oh...this is where the weird feelings came from.

 He stated that we needed to have cash in hand at the airport... and that he would pick us up. He also had raised the price since "he would provide us transportation" since buses couldn't get us there.   He also let me know there were ATM machines at the airport to get said cash, again stressing that we needed cash in hand...and that since he was driving us to the farm, which was about 3-4 hours from the airport. we didn't need the exact location. Umm....can you say I DON'T THINK SO?? (to me, it meant transportation of our dead bodies, after he had cleaned out bank accounts and murdered us...I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it could have happened ya know!)

At that point I had a feeling that we were planning a trip... to be the next headline that later would be made into a Lifetime Television movie, starring Tori Spelling. (Tori would have to play Melissa, since she is the only blonde).

Hell NO! I waited a couple of days to email psycho Farmer back. I politely lied let him know that we were not going to be traveling to Mexico due to [insert lie here] and that I appreciated all of his help. It's important to be nice to people that you fear might want to kill you...even if they live in a different country. Just an FYI.

He emailed me back a rant that was SO incredibly disturbing that I had to delete it from my inbox. He was livid. He blamed us "spoiled American women" for the downfall of our country as well as the plight of the women in Mexico.
Uh, excuse me? Weren't we the people who were trying to come there to help?!?
 He spewed some other hateful and frightening things that let me know that my instinct was dead on. This guy was off-the-chain nuts.

I wasn't going to let psycho Farmer ruin our trip. I called the girls to let them know that I had just saved us from horrific death and our deaths being made into a Lifetime Television movie...and that I would keep up my search for a farm. They were thankful that I saved their lives [it was more like  "Ok Ellen, we trust you, if you don't like that farm, we're cool" ]  and I continued my search.

I emailed Farmer #2. He sent some information, but never confirmed that we could come to his farm. We went ahead with our planning knowing that it might have to wait until we get to Mexico to figure out where to farm. I did some research on hostels...and we began building our itinerary, at least for the first week of our trip. We decided to start in San Cristobal.

Now we had a place to start. We booked our flights....and in July, we headed to Mexico.

Next post....Introducing Melissa, Carolina, Natalia and Eyen 

1 comment:

  1. Oh man! This is an awesome story! Ha ha. I'm so thankful that you didn't end up dead & the subject of an Unsolved Mysteries episode. : )