Jul 8, 2014


One of my readers (didn’t know I had any left since I don’t update and I am so undeserving) asked if I had any updates on my sweet life now that I am free. Pretty succinctly and accurately put. I wasn’t free before, I mean I wasn’t in jail, but all the freedoms that my situation curtailed made me a kind of prisoner.

Other than the nasty acute sinusitis I am battling right now (gunk everywhere!) I AM living the sweet life. Sure, Colombia was robbed of that game by FIFA and that stupid referee (I haven’t stopped crying for James), yes Venezuela still suffers daily blackouts and shortage of goods, but me, personally have nothing to complain about.

What does one write when there are no demons to fight? I still feel directionless when it comes to this blog. I see comments and it makes me feel guilty of neglect and on the other hand I can’t shut it down, it would be like severing a relationship with a therapist, because believe me, sometimes writing (ranting) on this blog was the only thing that kept me sane.

DH and I went to Arizona, haha yeah, me. Remember that post I wrote four years ago? http://diaryofanillegalimmigrant.blogspot.com/2010/04/arizona-loves-guns-hates-spics.html

 Well that sure came to bite me in the ass because I spent a week in Sedona and I gotta say, aside from people in Mauii I have never seen such customer service, everyone and I do mean EVERYONE we met was so incredibly nice and attentive. Everywhere we went people would hand us bottles of water because Arizona is SO DAMMNED DRY, I mean I have never been so dry in my life, I was turning into a freaking prune and my eyes were so red I thought I was getting pink eye for the first time in my life. Nope, it was just the moisture being sucked out of my eyeballs by the dry heat. It was lovely.

There is something majestic about Sedona, I don’t know if it was the famous Vortex or not but the place is certainly magical, those red rocks, I just can’t explain how they make you feel. I will shoot for awe and leave it at that, I was in awe with its beauty, the intense reds and blues, the promise of road runners crossing (didn’t get to see one) the memories of watching Wile.E. Coyote chasing that damn bird over the familiar rocks. It was like a place I’ve never been but I somehow remembered. I also loved the fact that everyone is Sedona was so eco minded, there were recycling bins and solar panels everywhere.

DH and I got back from Phoenix suitcase full of sage, Navajo jewelry and feeling like daredevils after crossing Devil’s Bridge and hiking like pros on such high altitude (not a myth, the altitude will kick your ass). I feel I am a fairly fit individual, I may not be able to do a push up but by God my cardio game is on. I was seriously challenged hiking those trails, I mean I hiked all the time back at home in the mountains, on muddy, mossy terrain with no problem so dry rocky terrain should be fine, but it was haaaard man!

The Grand Canyon was, as expected, fucking huge. I mean I had an idea of how big it was gonna be, I knew the size in my head, and yeah I knew it can be seen from space, yeah, yeah. And then you get there and realize there is no way to accurately imagine the magnitude of that hole. One feels kind of miniscule and insignificant faced with such size.

Every time I get on a plane and I am terrified that it will be last time I take a breath and see my family and I will die a fiery death I am also so damned happy, happy that I can finally, finally, finally after 10 years do what I always wanted to do, which was travel and write. The writing part is more difficult that I thought it would be, but hey I’ll get there. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy this sweet life.

Next up is Colombia in October, going home after 12 years of absence will be interesting, DH can’t wait (I think mostly for the food and the pretty girls he will ‘discreetly’ check out without me noticing)

Feb 20, 2014


For the last few days the streets in Venezuela have been taken over by an ever growing group of students. From Caracas to Merida, from Maracaibo to Valencia, all the major and minor cities are involved in a protest against the tyranny of the government.

I am talking about young women and men, some no older than seventeen years old, many even younger than that. Can you remember what you were doing when you were seventeen? How many of us were out in the street fighting against oppression, rampant delinquency, corruption, shortage of basic goods, inflation, fighting for life.

I was growing up in those same streets when I was seventeen. I walked them without fear, I walked them happily; I walked them at any hour of the day without fearing for my safety. It was beautiful time to be a seventeen year old in Caracas.

So far five students have lost their lives fighting because they are tired of the land they live in, they are tired of the fear, they are no longer afraid (The number of victims hasn’t been confirmed since the protest is still going). I see the videos that fill the net (Facebook and Twitter have become the only way for them to spread the news since the government controls all forms of media) I see them there standing defenseless, wearing a flag, singing and facing off against a line of fully decked guards and running away from tear gas (some are saying even nerve gas) and they come back, they don’t give up, they cough, they cry, they convulse and vomit and bleed and fall, and die and come back. They are so brave, I was never that brave. 

I see them singing the national anthem Gloria al Bravo Pueblo (Glory to the brave people), praying Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers, repeating “The people united will never be defeated” or “Viva Venezuela” holdings hands and helping each other and it rips my heart in two.

I saw a video, filmed on someone’s cellphone and uploaded to Youtube and one of those students (Bassil Alejandro Dacosta) is seen falling down after running away from the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard). He was peacefully protesting, he had no weapons on him and as he ran away he was shot, right there on the street in front of everyone. You can see him falling, probably dead before he hits the floor and is such a disturbing thing to see, life snuffed as if it was nothing. He was 24 years old.

The other students turned around, saw him on the floor and without any care for their own safety ran back for him and took his lifeless body with them. I see that video and I cannot wrap my mind around what is happening.

A 22 year old beauty queen got shot in the head and died yesterday. The picture of her being carried away to the hospital on a motorcycle gave me chill and haunted me all day. Her hair flew in the wind; her arms were limp, her head thrown back. The guy carrying her was holding onto her so strong. I wonder who he was, a family member? A friend? Boyfriend? Concerned stranger?

I am in bed with Zoey and Max next to me, my husband watching TV downstairs, all safely home and I feel this raging impotence, kind of like when I saw Blackfish, angry tears made my chest hurt, I feel so frustrated and angry and sad.

I wonder what I would be doing if I were there. Would I be outside fighting alongside them? Or would I hide in my house, away from the dangers. DH said to me that if he had to go through what Venezuelans are going through today he would be outside, marching, fighting. It makes sense why they risk their lives, their safety.

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come”. Victor Hugo knew what he was speaking of. The time has come for Venezuelans and I hope nothing will stop them.






Jan 3, 2014


There is only one word that will do Prague justice; Prague is magical. With its cobblestoned streets, medieval castles, astronomical clock towers and old as dirt bridges, Prague looks like a fairy tale town trapped in time.

We made it to town after Paris and it was a balm to our stressed out souls. You can still see signs of the Czech Republic’s not so distant Communist past when we were on our way from the airport to the old town. The buildings all look like each other, square and plain, sans adornments, zero frills. The bus (ridiculously cheap at $1.58 per ticket) took us from the airport to the underground and we made it to Stare Mesto (old town) without any problems. Our underground exit was literally a stone’s throw from the apartment we were staying in. Our host couldn’t receive us since our flight was delayed so many hours, but his girlfriend was a dear, super friendly and informative she gave us tips galore to take advantage of the little time we had in town. We took her at her word and went to a restaurant she recommended that had authentic Czech food and beer.

DH and I walked first to the Astronomical Tower in the Old Town Square and waited for the hour to chime, the clock has been there since its construction in 1410 and off it went telling us the time, the standing of the earth and the other planets…so flipping cool I couldn’t stand it.

From there we rushed, starved and thirsty to dinner to Lokal, the restaurant we were told to go to. We waited by a table for some space to clear and drank pretty damn good beer in the meantime. Prague has this weird sense of unpretentiousness and calm, there were a lot of people waiting for tables to clear and I am sure they were all hungry as we were, but the waiter kept on walking around with a seemingly never ending supply of beer, replacing empty jugs for full ones while we all merrily drank beer that was cheaper than water and patiently waited without complaint.

We had an interesting dinner of goulash (DH) and fish (me) with dumplings (a sort of steamed bread that tasted lot better than it sounds) and fried cheese (why doesn’t EVERYONE fry their cheese is a mystery to me) From there we went to the iconic Charles Bridge and walked around in the dark, surrounded by equally awed strangers, stepping on stone that had been laid since the late 1300s. The bridge seems like is guarded by 30 statues one creepier than the next, all looked to me in the dark like the Witch-King of Angmar and I couldn’t walk by them without getting a serious case of the hibbie jibbies.

The next day we woke up bright and early and the day couldn’t have been more gorgeous, crisp cold air, shinny sun and blue skies. God, Prague looks so gorgeous in autumn, the light just makes everything glitter and the ridiculously pretty architecture looks even more so under the sun.

Since we hadn’t climbed enough ancient stairs in London and Paris we climbed the clock tower and enjoyed the views of the Old Town and the Prague Castle with its St. Vitus Cathedral in the back.

St. Vitus Cathedral has been there if I remember correctly since 1060 but a church to the same saint has been in that place since 930. The building itself it’s enormous and I had to practically sit on the floor to be able to lean back and appreciate it all. It’s so gothic too, with the intricate details and the scary gargoyles, so incredibly romantic and with such a rich history.
We walked and walked around, taking it all in and imagining ourselves in that time and how different life was, how short and dangerous, how betrayal ran rampant, how power and a kingdom meant more than love or family to some. Life was so frail, yet people were powerful and willful enough to built palaces and churches and towns that still stand and remain breathtakingly beautiful.

The Czech Republic opened borders only 25 years ago. Before that it was part of Czechoslovakia and thanks to a “Velvet Revolution” it peacefully transitioned to what it is today.

I can’t think of that city without sighing and I am so glad we decided to include it in the trip, even if we did have to sacrifice Venice. I still remember how to say ‘thank you’, ‘beer’ and ‘castle’ in Czech, a very sonorous yet pleasing language.

We left Prague with a suitcase full of marionettes, soaps, chocolate, fridge magnets, books, notebooks and pretty Koruna coins. We were on our way to Rome and I did nothing but dream of Prague’s red rooftops all the way there.