Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Hola de Mexico! Playa del Carmen, Feb 22nd, 2007

Hola amigos y amigas!

I hope you're well and missing me, ha ha!

Well, I arrived safely, and have just spent the afternoon passed out on an almost pristine beach and swimming in the turquoise if slightly polluted waters (damn those jet skis!) of the Caribbean and have just stopped to write a few words in an attempt at procrastination at having to de-sand myself!

I'm having a really interesting time here in Playa del Carmen. I feel like I've been here for ages as I've done so much in less than 4 days! I've done Kundalini yoga to the sound of the ocean waves, had a massage, made several flaky friends (I'm generally revied for not being a drinker) and a couple of real ones, spoken lots of Spanish, been to the beach many times (now the sun has finally come out - a freak cold spell welcomed me forcing me to sleep in all my trekking clothes), visited a timeshare place for free gifts and got thrown out, and eaten some amazing food, including a very tasty cactus for lunch!

On Tuesday night I thought I was going to listen to a boring talk and ended up at a fire puja ceremony conducted by my Tibetan friend, Lama, in an enchanted piece of jungle. It was a purification ceremony used to call the elemental spirits to help heal the earth - or something like that! It was quite magical to feel the warmth of the fire and watch it dancing and lighting up all the meditating faces in the dark. Truly amazing.

All sorts of interesting things came from that evening. One of Lama's friends is a lovely American woman, Anna, and I'm going to stay at her place in the Bioreserve about 100km south of here next week. Where she lives is an artist-spiritual retreat centre between the Caribbean and a lake, 5km from the nearest village and full of wildlife and no boozy idiots, carbon monoxide fumes, salespeople or surfy types - can't wait! She is a pipe carrier for the Navajo Indians, and interestingly enough has two more pipe carriers coming next week and they're going to do a sweat lodge for me. (A sweat lodge is a Native American ritual to connect with elementals and cast out demons. You build some kind of ceremonial hut and all sweat to death in it for many hours. All my demons are coming up right now, I guess that's why the universe has sent me two sweat lodges!!) Anna is also connecting me with all sorts of fascinating-sounding people on my onward journey. I also met two lovely Mexicans, Utama and Pedro. They are strangely enough also planning a sweat lodge for me, a Mayan one this time. Which is, of course, all fantastic material for my next book or three. As uncomfortable and lonely as I feel at times in this glitzy tourist trap, I know I must persevere as I'm in the right place.

Last night, Lama was sick and pure hunger drove me to take myself out. I went to listen to a Cuban band in a nearby restaurant and ended up dancing with the waiters!! Everyone was looking at me with curiosity as I was alone, and I was writing like a maniac. It was such a funny place, so much material - all the waiters were silly and carried the drinks on their heads, and the music was ou of this world. I imagined their thoughts ranged from 'what's she writing?' to 'how much?'!! It didn't help that they put me on a high stool near the bar!! Anyway, it was fun and a good lesson in not to take myself too seriously.

Lama has an art exhibition tonight in a fancy sand-floored Buddha bar on the beach, and on Friday I'm going to see me some ruins. Write soon with your news!

lots of love and blessings,

Sandra xxx

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