Friday, December 15, 2006


It is the anniversary of the Revolution and the Zapatistas are blocking all the roads in Chiapas to celebrate.
Lopez Obrador who lost the presidential seat in a highly disputed and rather sketchy election, has declared himself president of a parallel government today.
The state of Oaxaca is still in a state of disaster with teachers striking in order to oust the governor. Around 30 protestors have been killed by the police in the last year.
The three issues, though very separate, have gotten confused, and there is a spirit of revolution and possible violence in the air today.

But we need to get to our performances! So get an early start and brave the roadblocks.
At the first one, the road is lined with at least 300 men and women in black Zapatista hoods. It is very impressive. But they don't even make us wait 10 seconds before letting us through the block.
At the second road block, there are fewer people, most of them men in cowboy hats. They are very cheery and are having fun blocking the road. Indeed they keep us waiting for almost 2 hours. After watching and playing gin rummy for a while, Rudi and I get bored. He gets out of the truck and starts juggling. The crowd gathers. He does some hat tricks. I get out of the truck and stand in the crowd watching, trying to meld into the audience. I love getting a taste of what it is like on the audience side of a Clowns Without Borders trip. I feel their surprise and delight and excitement at this strange character that just stepped out of the blue truck with California plates. The laughter ripples through the whole crowd. I feel, just for a few moments, that I too am part of them. Belong to that group of local zapatistas, or the other mexicans who by now have gotten out of their cars to watch; we're all laughing together.
Then Rudi pulls our giant slinky and I join him. The two of us start doing routines from our show together. I become a slinky animal. We do the water lazzi and I spit water at him. The crowd loves us.
Finally the director of the road block comes over. "We are distracting everyone, they are forgetting why they are here," he tells us. "Besides they are about to let the cars through". So we pack up and hit it.
As we are pulling out we hear an older man say "payaso!" They've had a good laugh and though we weren't wearing clown noses, they know what we are:

"clowns that know how to get through roadblocks"

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