Thursday, October 30, 2008


Hello everyone out the in the www.
We have been traveling for 22 days from Vancouver, Canada to Mexico City.
Stay tunned we will be posting the last three weeks in a few days.
keep the rivers flowing free
Rodolfo Rada J.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wednesday the 31st - The Pyramids

Our first day of sightseeing had everyone excited. After driving one hour north of the city we arrived at the UNESCO site of Teotihuacan.

Walking in the valley of the living , you feel the energy rising in your veins. That energy is a sense of appreciation for the past that one can only experience standing next to these pyramids. The city of Teotihuacan is considered the first urban settlement of Central America. Between 450 – 650 BC this city was larger than any other European city, with a population of over 175,000 people. This city was sustainable, the people lived for the land, and water was their most valued possession. They built elaborate drainage system to maximize the use of rainwater.

It was a reward to be there. We felt that we had been meant to come here all along, we simply hadn’t known. We arrived early in the morning before the heavy tourist traffic. Hawkers were out in full force, all approaching us saying “jefe ayudeme a hacer la primera venta del dia, porfavor” (boss help me make my first sell of the day please, I’ll give you a good deal).

We spent the whole morning there. Relaxing on top of the pyramids made us feel like our energy was being reloaded. We took the time to do some stretching and absorbed the positive energy.

These pyramids are the same diameter as the ones in Egypt, and they are aligned with the moon and the sun. This city went through years of drought. Without water to grow food for everyone, the “best solution” was to start sacrificing people to the gods in the valley of the dead.

Every one in Mexico is getting ready for “el dia de los muertos” or “the day of the dead”. According to many Mexicans this is the most celebrated day in the country, and the kids love it. We saw a graphic that said “Halloween, it’s not the same”.

Back to the airport for the second time in three days, we picked up Steve’s brother Russell. This was Russell’s first trip to Mexico. To celebrate we went to the Amigo’s Hostel Halloween party. And what a party, with live Mexican reggae.The crowd was from everywhere, from Russians, Danish, Germans, Canadians, Americans and Chileans.

Tuesday the 30th - Last Day of Promotions

Our last day of promotion has arrived. We have accomplished something incredible, driving from Canada to Mexico and taking on a three week promotion tour throug over 10 different universities in the largest city in the world. All worth it to get the young Mexican generations to appreciate their rivers.

We are closing the promotional campaign in style with a presentation at La Salle University. To arrive by 8 am, we had to leave our place at 6 am. The security guard at the school takes public transport on Tuesdays because of car restriction; he left home at 4:30am to get there before 8am. And we thought we had it bad.

We parked Laura in the main courtyard where other companies and programs were promoting as well. The university had organized a commerce fair for two days; we got hooked up at the last minute. We definitely drew the most attention. The principal of the university came along and congratulated us on our mission, which always brings our spirits up. I had the chance to address the students in the auditorium, and we had the car outside so the students could learn about veggie oil. Everyone signed Laura to give us their support, and we had a table showing the whole 2008 project on a map.

When five o’clock arrived, Roger and I hugged and called it a promotion completed. Ready to celebrate, we went to our favorite gourmet restaurant; the street food stand outside the university. Tasty hot spicy quesadillas , only $6 dollars for of the two of us.

Monday the 29th - Impromptu Geography

Our last week of promotion has arrived. Roger and I drove back to Mexico City to visit two more universities: the Tech of Monterey and De La Salles University. Steve stayed at the Papagayo River organizing and fixing thing that needed attention before the race next Saturday.

As we entered the city the police stopped us again. They went off about the restriction and how we can’t be use our car on Mondays. We were a little confused; last time they stopped us on a Friday and now it’s on a Monday. We managed the situation calmly again and guided them to the back of the car to show them the bio diesel transformation. In short time they had signed the car we were on our way to the TECH of Monterey.

We didn’t have a contact to get it, but that didn’t stop us. We parked on the street and Laura did the rest of the job for us. There was a lot of foot traffic by the main gate so handing out flyers and telling people to sign the car was easy. After only two hours at the gate we had one team registered for the race.

It was getting late, and all the flyers were done, to the printer we went, hoping for a chance to catch another game of soccer with the kids of the neighborhood.
These kids were fascinated by the fact that we were not Mexican. They were so interested, and asked so many questions, that we moved from soccer to geography lesson.

Before coming to Mexico I went to a volunteer fair in Vancouver. The Canadian International Development Agency had a booth showing all their programs around the world. They were giving out world maps, so I took advantage of the great generosity and asked for maps to take on the trip. Tonight was the night one of those maps came in handy, and it was the best gift ever.

It felt amazing to give to these kids, all I can offer to most of them is my time.Their reaction tells me that quite often, time is enough. Well a map and a couple of stickers too.

At about 9pm we headed to the airport to pick up Noel. Noel has been Roger’s flat mate for about two years, and recently their relationship turned into a love story. The story becomes even more exciting now that she is meeting him here. She is an amazing singer, probably one of the sexiest voices that I have ever come across, smooth and original. She’s great on the guitar and drums, and she played at our river race event in Canada. Soon she will be playing by the Papagayo River. Noel is a painter too, she loves to do body paint and we love her support at the last two events.

Sunday the 28th - Playing on the Papagayo

Every time we paddled the lower Papagayo we found kids playing, swimming and fishing on the side of the river. We wondered if they have any idea of the government’s plans to build the largest man made lake in Mexico. We wondered if their house will be affected. We wondered if their community will be displaced and boxed into urban housing.We wondered if they will like the lake better than the river. We wondered if this kids have a future in their community, whether they will be able to find work here when they grow up.

We plan to work with these kids, teaching them the skills they need to become guides in this area. There is so much potential here for being a rafting, kayaking, jungle trekking, rock climbing or mountain biking guide. The opportunities are here. Free Flowing Rivers as an organization can serve as a catalyst to make these ideas into reality for youth.
Once we have these educational programs running in the local communities, the projects have the opportunity to flourish into local sustainable and responsible tourist industries. Tourists and university students can be involved in this positive change by visiting, and learning more about the communities from their guides. The youth can then bring the money back into their local community economies.

If the dam is built, we will still work with the kids. We will simply teach different skills like rappelling, base jumping, sea kayaking, or water skiing. Whatever decision the government makes, we will ensure that these kids see the windows of opportunity in their futures.

Saturday the 27th - Don't Take Your Noseplugs Off

This morning we were off to the Amacusac River. We were warned that this river is a bit polluted and that it might stink. A bit of pollution has not stopped us yet. However, as we were getting geared up we saw that even the shore of the river looked dirty, with brown water and garbage on the river banks. We almost didn’t run it, but there is nothing better than a new river.

I love running rivers for the first time. Seeing how the water flows, it’s amazing. This time, we been paddling for about 40 minutes and still had not seen any whitewater. I had been wearing my nose plug since we started; the river stinks like shit and there are plastic bags, tires, and bottles all over the place. Roger and I agreed that this is the most disgusting river we had ever been in. We come to the confluence with another river and that’s where the fun began. The canyon narrowed and the whitewater started . There were some good class III + and one class V where we portaged the drop because of some sharp rocks .

Now our mission was to find the take out before the bridge, and we hope that Negro and Steve are going to be there to pick us up. Vultures, cows and other bird will take our mind away from the smell when this huge highway bridge comes into sight and from the inside of the jungle Steve jailing get out take out is here.
We were happy to be out of there when we met Negro and Steve at the takeout. We did paddle some nice rapids, but I would not get in that river again, unless someone paid me a lot of money.

Friday the 26th - Back to UNAM

Today we headed back to UNAM. Negro lives close by, so we decided to meet at his house. He guided us to places he knew well; the gym, social gathering places, and some of the local bars around the area that are just for students.

In the faculty of political science I got the chance to speak to a large audience of students. They were all gathered to celebrate one of the teacher’s birthdays. The teacher’s reaction to our speech was fantastic; she spoke about the importance of fighting the construction of the dam, and the huge social, political and economic impacts it would have on the country.