Three of us remained, after a week in the Yucatan Peninsula we finally got a taste of authentic Mexican streets as the Mayab dropped us off the highway in Bacalar. We walked with our packs on our back asking around in our broken Spanish where the centro was. In the city's charming plaza we met a man named Guillermo, he escaped Mexico City thirty years ago, after a world tour painting his murals. He told us that Bacalar was magical, when I asked him what made it magical, he replied "because extra-terrestrials live here". We spend the night in a hammock in his backyard on the lagoon. Driven out by vicious fire ants we spent four nights at a campground in the middle of town, each morning waking up not wanting to leave, Palenque was calling our name but there was still a certain mystery in the air in Bacalar that I couldn't leave behind just yet. Nights at the Galeon Pirata, I met artists who were making waves, watched a bold exhibit of sexual photography, got slapped in the face by a mute creature of the underworld and soaked with love by a being from another world. Extra terrestrials do exist in Bacalar. In the early evenings we sat in the street with a group of French and Columbian travelers who sold jewelry, they left their homes seven years ago and have been moving north ever since, teaching themselves their art and supporting themselves with their craft. They sold us some wire and some stones. During the early afternoons we swam in cenotes and the paradisiacal lagoon, picked mames, coconuts, chico sapotes and anonas from trees, listened to Lukas, a fellow Vancouverite who has been escaping winters for Central America for ten years recount hours of inspiring information on living simply, extracting all necessary nutrition for the body from local fruits and veggies and working the body without repetitive exercise. We visited a medicine man among 500 species of indigenous mayan plants in his botanical garden. He cut fresh Sisim for me to boil and drink. On our final day in Bacalar, our group split yet again, Brandon and I continued to Palenque while Matous stayed behind with a woman we met at the forming of Camp Flow, a mayan astrologer who was moving to the desert to land that she had inherited form her grandfather to start a farm.
(Written on March 17)
Day fourteen in southern Mexico, we're running on short periods of shut eye between the bumps, stops, ignition roars and engine stalls of the eight hour night bus ride from Bacalar to Palenque. I am sitting at a candle lit table draped with a pink paisley fabric, psy trance plays as lights dance atop the tin roof of the out door bar neighboring our campground at El Jaguar. Thus far, I have spoken more French than Spanish, somehow, read more Russian than English. I was seeking an abrupt shift to what had become habitual and here it is, like nothing I had expected it to be. After I finished writing my last post we split up to ease our chance at hitching a ride in a warm tropical drizzle at sunset, Devon, Aidan and I following word of mouth directions to the gates of El Encanto, a communal campground that the boys had come upon a few days prior, returning with tales of high vibes and djembe jams. I am and will continue to dream about a place like El Encanto, lit tents mottled the jungle terrain, a yoga & meditation hut, an alter, a fire pit, a wooden geo dome, a communal kitchen enclosed in mosquito net where we drew, wrote and cooked. An ancient cenote inhabited by a crocodile sat in the back where we swam. We worked in exchange for a portion of our stay, the boys worked the compost and garden while Devon and I cleaned and painted psychedelic designs on clean wooden slates in the kitchen. I fell in love with the djembes, practicing whenever I could. There we met Axel and Elina, their heart centers wide open, they told us of their life and their work. They are spending a few months there (Axel's mom owns El Encanto), painting a teepee that they will bring around to festivals in Europe this summer selling their creations. Their brand and future art collective, Light Projection has a beautiful concept behind it and I will interview them for my blog sometime in the near future. We spent two nights there then hiked back to the Reserva de la Biosfera Sian-Ka'an. On the 11th, we woke up on the white sandy reserve after a stormy night that had blown our stakes out of the ground, broken our zipper beyond repair and covered our sleeping bags with a thin coat of sand and water. We sat on the corners of the tarp, hit with winds and rain as we held the tarp down through the eye. That morning Devon decided it was time to go home, we hitched hiked to downtown Tulum in the back of a pillow lined van and we said goodbye to her and Aidan as they left back to Cancun to catch a flight to Vancouver.
Writing has become difficult for me, creating in general has become arduous and I am waiting patiently for a shift. A quick glance of the head in a direction that has escaped my awareness for the weeks that have flown by so meek and dry. I've always known that I would travel well, that one day I would acquire enough courage to set myself free from the iron western web and ride the currents of the wind down paths known to no one I encountered in the city. My upbringing was not ordinary, and because it was not ordinary I have known more homes than I can count on my two hands. Maybe my blood has been cursed, or maybe blessed, destined to run through the veins of a nomad. A few months ago I began to lose touch with a serendipitous flow that had become my sole mode of being. My dysthymia returned, dull and obstructing. I thought that if I answered the incessant call to leave the life that had become habitual in the three years that I have been living in Vancouver that it would return to me again. So that's what I did, gave up the Pacific North Western winter, a home that had become a sanctuary filled with belongings that spoke the story of my life, in exchange for an 80 liter emerald green backpack and a one way ticket to Central America. Here I am now, sitting under a wooden bungalow near Tulum, Brandon playing a compact electric guitar as a fellow traveller accompanies with a harmonica behind me, Devon writing a love letter to Grady from across the table, Matous on a journey into town under the scorching heat and little Aidan sleeping atop the yellow table, his face covered with a wide brimmed leather hat from the sun. We have spent these first days in a bungalow hostel in Cancun centro, tasting our first delicious taste of small town Mexican life, eating cheap, authentic empanadas, watching the chilled, passionate flow of it's people from the terrace, sneaking into a five star resort so that I could feel the Caribbean Sea on my skin for the very first time. Then we rode down to Playa del Carmen, then to Tulum where we walked into the Reserva de la Biosfera Sian-Ka'an as the sun set and settled between a circular collection of palms on the secluded shoreline, sleeping under the stars without a tent as scorpions and iguanas roamed around us. We spent a few days there, the boys picked coconuts and broke them open on tree stubs, we cooked beans and rice on the fire and watched a full, orange, gargantuan moon rise over the ocean. We then hitched a ride back into town, to rest, refuel and recharge, and we're about to packup and head back to the playa, to see what awaits us.