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February 4, 2007 9:06 PM   Subscribe

It's border-smuggling re-packaged as a tourist experience. According to the New York Times, this is "one of Mexico’s more bizarre tourist attractions: a make-believe trip illegally crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States." Perhaps your fully-paid border simulation will soon include being shot at...
posted by BLDGBLOG (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thanks to a tip from Pruned, I should add.
posted by BLDGBLOG at 9:08 PM on February 4, 2007

Hey, why not make money from it? We have paid tours of various parts of the United States' for-profit prison-industry complex. It's all about the dollars.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:25 PM on February 4, 2007

Thanks, but holy shit.
posted by nj_subgenius at 9:35 PM on February 4, 2007

See also Slate's coverage of this from last month (thanks, Jose!).
posted by BLDGBLOG at 10:14 PM on February 4, 2007

I'm pretty sure it's not actually illegal for U.S. Citizens to cross the border that way.
posted by delmoi at 10:27 PM on February 4, 2007

I know nothing about Mexican law, but my impression as a U.S. citizen crossing the border is that you can only do it at certain places, you have to answer questions, and you have to be ready to be stopped and searched. This seems pretty illegal.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:54 PM on February 4, 2007

This seems pretty illegal.

I think people are missing the part where this is done entirely inside a park north of Mexico city. It is a simulation. You are in Mexico the entire time. No border is crossed. Well, no physical one at least.
posted by vacapinta at 10:58 PM on February 4, 2007

This is fascinating -- I think the most important part of the article is when it points out that the most of the tourists that take the tour(simulation) are domestic, that is, Mexican. So even if the performance is designed with an international audience in mind it is for the most part being performed for an entirely different audience, for whom, I would imagine, crossing the border illegal has an entirely different import.
posted by jrb223 at 11:05 PM on February 4, 2007

ahem... crossing the border illegally.
posted by jrb223 at 11:06 PM on February 4, 2007

So, it's like a practice run then? This is trippy.
posted by IronLizard at 11:09 PM on February 4, 2007

odd. very very odd indeed.
posted by andythebean at 11:27 PM on February 4, 2007

The next thing they should do is simulate a chainsaw massacre: you and some friends are given an old van that will break down at some point in the next 10 hours - but you don't know exactly when or where. You are then sent out on backroads into the mountains of western Texas, with no cell phones, and no other form of contact with the outside world.

What's happening is you have paid a company to hunt you down with chainsaws.

When your van breaks down, however, you get a little freaked out - worried that the game will be too real, or that maybe they won't know where to find you. After all, one of your friends asks: was the company for real? Or was it just some lunatic? Did you read the fine-print?

And is that man over there looking at all of you, with a chainsaw in his hand, part of the simulation or not...?

You then descend into the hermeneutic abyss of the simulation industry...
posted by BLDGBLOG at 12:54 AM on February 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

Agreed Vacapinta. It might be noteworthy if it was actually on the border but it's just too fake to be of any interest. But it does give me a couple more Euro-centric ideas.

Come and sit in a disused shipping container for a week - a genuine taste of being people smuggled!

Walk through a disused railway tunnel with someone with a Albanian accent - and experience the terror of the those who sneak through the channel tunnel.

What a load of crap. This is just a night hike and the NYT looks credulous for running it.
posted by rhymer at 1:23 AM on February 5, 2007

I wonder how dangerous it would be to try the real thing? I doubt the various border enforcement agencies will cause you too much grief. Like most cops, they probably have a well-developed Us vs. Them worldview. But unlike most cops, they may not think of the average Americans as "one of Them". Similarly, departmental policy also works in your favor. The procedure for dealing with adventurous troublemakers is bound to be a bigger hassle than, say, escorting a lost hiker into town. Unusual incidents demand lots of paperwork. It's so much easier to give you a pamphlet on desert safety and drop you off at a gas station.

From a legal standpoint, it seems pretty safe.
posted by ryanrs at 3:26 AM on February 5, 2007

Carrying on the theme of simulation, I was watching a short documentary a few months back about a service available in NYC, where you pay some people to kidnap you. Can't recall the details.

Personally, I'm not going to be satisfied until I can pay some people to hunt me for sport - I could stand to lose some weight.
posted by Ritchie at 3:45 AM on February 5, 2007

rhymer: "But it does give me a couple more Euro-centric ideas.
Come and sit in a disused shipping container for a week - a genuine taste of being people smuggled!

Taste a few years of life at the Bangkok Hilton, as that white substance that your tour guide assured you was nothing more than an inert substance provided for the purposes of the dope smuggling adventure holiday actually turns out to be genuine Elephant Brand, Number 4 heroin.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:02 AM on February 5, 2007

Park Entrance.............................$18.00
New Balance running shoes..........$68.00
Black clothing.............................$12.00
Being chased in the dark by men screaming at you in English and Spanish...........Priceless
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:38 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Can we get a little paintball action thrown in for good measure?
posted by itchylick at 9:20 AM on February 5, 2007

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