(May 3) Here we go again, dear diary. A fresh notebook with all those blank pages waiting to be filled. Good to be on the way at last. Alleghenies already receding behind us like pale green ripples on an algae-covered pond. Thinking back to the actual beginnings of this tripalmost a year ago? Those careful hints dropped at the White House like crumbs for the President's vacuum-cleaner mind to suck up. Until finally they coalesced into some kind of ball and came out as his own daring idea: okay, send some unofficial figure out there, purely informala reporter not to closely identified with the administration, who could nose around, blow up a few pretty trial balloonscan't hurt! A tingly moment when he finally broached it, after a big Brazil briefing session. That famous confidential smile! And then saying that he had a little adventure in mind, wanted to discuss it with me privately. . . . Was his tentativeness only his habitual caution, or a signal that if anything went wrong the visit (and the visitor) were politically expendable? Still, an important opening in our foreign policylots of weighty arguments for it. Heal the fratricidal breach that rent the nationso the continent can stand united against rising tides of starvation and revolution. Hawks who want to retake "lost last of the west" by force seem to be growing strongerneed neutralizing. Ecotopian ideas are seeping over the border more dangerouslycan't be ignored any longer, might be detoxified by exposure. Etc. Maybe we can find a hearing for proposal to reopen diplomatic relations; perhaps trade proposals too. With reunification a gleam in the eye. Even just a publicizable chat with Vera Allwen could be usefulthe President, with his customary flexibility, could use it to fend off both hawks and subversives. Besides, as I told Francinewho scoffed, naturally, even after three brandiesI want to see Ecotopia because it's there. Can things really be as weird there as they sound? I wonder. Have been mulling over the no-nos. Must stay clear of the secession itself: too much bitterness could still be aroused. But fascinating stories there, probablyhow the secessionists filched uranium fuel from power plants for the nuclear mines they claimed to have set in New York and Washington. How their political organization, led by those damned women, managed to paralyze and then supplant the regular political structure, and got control of the armories and the Guard. How they bluffed their way to a stand-offhelped, of course, by the severity of the national economic crisis that struck so conveniently for them. Lots of history there to be told somedaybut now is not the time. . . . Getting harder to say goodbye to the kids when I take off on a long trip. Not that it's really such a big deal, since I sometimes miss a couple of weekends even when I'm around. But my being away so much seems to be beginning to bother them. Pat may be putting them up to it; I'll have to talk to her about that. Where else would Fay get the idea of asking to come along? Jesusinto darkest Ecotopia with typewriter and eight-year-old daughter. . . . No more Francine for six weeks. It's always refreshing to get away for a while, and she'll be there when I get back, all charged up by some adventure or other. Actually sort of exciting to think of being totally out of touch with her, with the editorial office, in fact with the whole country. No phone service, wire service indirect: uncanny isolation the Ecotopians have insisted on for 20 years! And in Peking, Bantustan, Brazil there always had to be an American interpreter, who couldn't help dangling ties from home. ThisCallenbach, Ernest is the author of 'Ecotopia', published 1990 under ISBN 9780553348477 and ISBN 0553348477.