09.11.2006 - 04.12.2006 25 °C
I wasn't expecting to come to Mexico at all on this particular voyage of mine but life has a funny way of working out sometimes...
You always get a different perspective when you actually stay with someone that lives in a place than you do when you stay in a hostel. Says she with SO much travelling experience! In fact I've still only stayed at one hostel and that was the same one that I stayed at last year in San Franscisco - not what you would call a wealth of experience! but I have already stayed with 4 people adding up to 5 weeks of my travelling time. So maybe I can speak with more authority on that particular topic. The rest of the time has been split between sleeping on buses, camping and the Ashram.
I stayed with a guy from the first Green Tortoise bus for a week just south of San Franscisco and that was pretty interesting as I got to check out Californians in their natural habitat. I went to hippie parties, authentic relating nights (maybe I'll tell that story some day - I think Saskia may have already been privy to that one!) evenings spent discussing the relative (lack of) merits of a certain president, thinly disguised as a book club, eating in fine restaurants and sipping fine wines, or rather organic home-pressed elderflower juice..
Next I stayed at the friend of one of my yoga buddies, also in SF after being too tired to be bothered to walk back to my hostel. We had been doing the most ordinary of things - watching a DVD. You forget what that sort of thing is like! Then it was on to stay with another girl from the first Green Tortoise in the pretty Lake Arrowhead just outside LA where I spent a most interesting evening in the company of a load of, what can only be described as, 'crazy LA kids'....driving in their hummer-style (ok much smaller but just so you get the general idea) cars, watching them down Saki bombs, looking like they'd stepped out of the OC...party life...I did get my best ever bowling score and had a v interesting conversation with one of the guys who'd just come back from serving in Iraq but apart from that I felt very old especially in my straight as a ruler post-Ashram days! Vegetarian, tee-total, non-Caffeine drinkingism...and all that..
but my favourite homestay has definitely been here in Mexico. I booked the flight a few days before and was only meant to be staying for a week but I ended up extending my stay three times...Alaska Airlines must love me! It's been such a relaxing month. The aussie and I have done a lot of yoga, a lot of teaching each other yoga, a lot of reading, some meditation but we've also eaten some great food, seen some stunning scenery and met some interesting people.
So some memories of my time here..
1. Food - always my number one favourite activity. The fresh fish and err shrimp (yes, have been consuming seafood in a non-Western country - the guidebooks would not be impressed!) have been truly delicious, and great veggie food is aplenty. As you can see my form of vegetarianism isn't that strict! Tummy trouble did occur on day 3..however..
2. Discovering magic drops that cure your tummy woes - nutri-biotic drops that make the dream of a solid 'beep' a reality.
3. Hot springs - that's why the UK will always be a bit rubbish..no naturally occuring hot springs like in the US and here and many other places. Oh I suppose we do have Bath.
4. View from the apartment - Breathtaking.
5. Sunsets - a daily visual delight.
6. Fiestas - the village has been celebrating its annual fiesta in honour of the local saint (San Andreas) for the last 10 days. You'd think that would be a good thing and of course the happy partying people are nice to see but by the 10th day being woken up by a brass band at 6am that continues all day, every day and listening to fireworks all through the day (never thought of the concept of listening to fireworks before but you can't of course see them when it's light!) gets a bit warying.
7. Roadkill - lots of dead dogs by the side of the road..very sad...lots of suicidal cows as well!
8. Smog and favellas in Guadalajara - only read about them in Geography classes. Have now seen the reality.
9. Public holidays - Mexicans have at least one day off every three weeks..usually a Friday or a Monday and then they all take to the beach in the back of pick-up trucks - at least 4 or 5 of them clinging for dear life as the driver manically drives at high speed along the less than perfect roads...only a slight exaggeration..
10. Toll roads - outrageously expensive toll roads that unsurprisingly drive (literally) almost all Mexicans to the crapper free roads.
11. The beach - camping on a beach called the 'crying lady' and being the only people on the whole beach. Swimming in the surf, putting up the hammocks and reading, watching the sun set over the Pacific and being bitten by 100 sand flies..
12. Saving baby black turtles - a real highlight! The baby black turtles had become marooned high up the beach where they'd been drawn to the light of our camp lanterns. We picked up around 100 little baby turtles, put them in a bucket and carried them down to the bottom of the beach where they could be washed into the ocean...I hope that's made up for the lamb I accidentally killed in NI.
13. Great company - spending time with someone you have a lot to say to.
14. Classic movies - have been making up for my cinematic shortcomings be familiarising myself with some of the old greats - The Great Escape, Godfather I and II etc..
15. Thanksgiving - my first ever thanksgiving thanks to a slightly loony American family living here, minus the turkey for obvious reasons. There is a saying in Ajijic that all the expats here are wanted or not wanted. In case you need that explaining, wanted as in wanted criminals, there are actually many real life examples of very bad people hiding out here (or at least so someone told us) or not wanted as in no one particularly liked them back home and they are thought of as equally weird here. Thankfully the aussie guy seems to be universally liked by all! and that wasn't to cast aspersions on the American family, they were very kind just a little bit nuts!
17. Brazilian dancing and drumming - I want to go to Brazil now!
18. Pace of life - I could get used to this stress-free existence.
19. Latin American Spanish - I want to learn it now.
20. Drinking cactus juice - a revitalising and green way to start every morning
21. Speedbumps - back to the road theme..a totally unexpected feature of Mexican roads...
22. Hot stones massage - amazing massages at rock bottom prices that left me slightly delirious..
Well that's enough ramblings for today...until next time..