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By this Author: TravelbyBeach

Video from Puerto Escondido!


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Posted by TravelbyBeach 15:33 Comments (0)

Time Vortex in Puerto Escondido

Three and a half weeks in Puerto Escondido...

sunny 75 °F
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Puerto Escondido is a little surf town on the South Pacific coast of Mexico. I think I only wore my shoes about three times the entire time we were there. Sand from the beach littered the streets and it felt as though we were walking on velvet most of the time. In a recent Facebook post I chimed:

"I know beach life is for me because I can literally go anywhere in just my swim suit, if I so desire, and no one even blinks an eye. "No shirt, no shoes, no problem!" I have literally worn my shoes 3 times in the past 3 weeks and I regularly mosey over to the store or restaurant in just my shorts and a sports bra. I love it! Really, the less clothes, the better."

Our first two weeks were spent at Casa Kei, a lovely outdoor living style guest house. We spent Thanksgiving there cooking up all sorts of goodies and I even got to visit with an old pal from back in La Cruz when I first arrived in Mexico. We frequented a few local restaurants and cafes that were all within 10mins walking distance from Casa Kei. Cafe Ole had the best omelettes and crepes and smoothies and juices. They also had a cute little natural grocery store where they sold their house-made yogurt and almond milk (which we never ended up buying any of). There was a Thai place that had me so giddy! I have been craving Thai since before I left the states. The Pad Thai was good and the basil mojitos were better. Another place called Munchies Station served a wok style dinner where you could choose between noodles and rice, meat or fish, and about 5 different sauces. All plates came with 8 different vegetables. We ate there a couple times. Of course we enjoyed the beaches very much as well, but spent plenty of time relaxing in the cool shade and company of kitties back at the casa. These first two weeks literally went by in the blink of an eye. Before we knew it, it was time to move on.

But we didn't want to leave just yet.

We emailed another guy on Workaway who owned a hostel on the other side of town and seemed to be looking for artists. I emailed and said we knew how to use a paint brush, but weren't exactly mural artists. Either way, we wanted to help out however we could. We met up with Ross, the owner, a couple days later and got a quick tour of the place. It was jaw-dropping phenomenal. Vivo Escondido is literally a mansion turned into a hostel. There is a large shared living area, kitchen, pool, outside bar area, upstairs terrace with hammocks, you can sit on the roof top and watch the sunset at any time. Needless to say we were instantly sold! Ross agreed to let us stay for 7-10 days, before his holiday rush, and help paint a few walls to get some more color in the place. We couldn't wait to arrive the following Sunday!

Our ten day stay at Vivo was incredibly action packed and practically leaves me speechless with all the experiences. We met some very incredible people from all over the world (so many Aussie's!) that I hope to stay in touch with for a long time to come. One of my best friends from high school came in and stayed at Vivo also for about 5 days! We regularly frequented the local bars - where I still did not wear shoes and we quickly learned how small Puerto Escondido really is, as we saw all our friends who work at the cafes we went to regularly when staying at Casa Kei. We went to Laguna de Manialtepec and swam in bioluminescent waters which was way magical but also kind of eerie swimming in a lagoon in the middle of the night. The water was bath water warm. We got up at 7am one morning and took a boat trip out for view of a humpback whale, ~3 giant sea turtles, and a GIGANTIC school of Spinner Dolphins! We even got to jump in and see them swimming far below us. You could easily hear their noises in the water. It sounded like gentle laughter. I was mesmerized. My friend from High School brought us down a GoPro so I got it all on video too!

Still in those ten days I got stung by a scorpion. I had left my swim top outside to dry over night and a scorpion, liking cool dark places, crawled into the cup of the top and nestled himself in there. I got the sting when I reached for my top getting out of the shower. In quite a funny site I threw my bathing suit bottoms on (without looking for a scorpion in there) and ran downstairs topless to inform a staff member what had just happened. I was so worried but trying to stay calm. All I had ever heard from locals in the scenario of a bite was to smash the thing, put it in a bag, and go straight to the hospital. When I announced that I had just got stung everyone was like "Oh, you'll be fine." With that calm reaction I immediately loosened up. I kept the tip of my stung finger in tea tree oil for about an hour and kept up on my fluids. The local cleaning woman who happened to be at the house at the time told me to put my finger in bleach IMMEDIATELY and drink lots of milk. I don't really like either of these things though...I drank one cup of milk and put my finger in bleach for maybe 15 minutes, then I went back to the tea tree oil. The next day my finger joint felt a little stiff and sore but other than that good to go! And let me tell you, to my surprise I did not think it actually hurt that bad at all. Literally a sting and the feeling of my finger going numb and that was about it. Just a weird sensation.

On one of our last days in town we got small and simple tattoos. Mine is meant to simply remind me of the beach life I love and Puerto Escondido will always have a special little place in my heart with it.
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I had a misunderstanding of dates and night buses before our departure. What I thought was a 6-8 hr bus ride turned out to be 12-14 hrs and resulted in one missed night in our rented apartment for the next week - but it was well worth it! We made it to San Cristóbal in 13 hours. No military checks, no robberies. Just a freaking SORE body, as I did not get any good sleep the entire time. Our apartment is the cutest little place ever and this town reminds me so much of the PNW. The crisp air is lovely, but definitely different to get used to after being in a beach town for 3.5 weeks. Yes, I am the person wearing black socks with my Birkenstock sandals.

Video footage from Puerto to come soon and more details on San Cris too, as we are not staying in this town too terribly long. Sending out lots of love to everyone in this holiday season! xxoo

Posted by TravelbyBeach 16:27 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Video Summary of our stay in Tepoz

Caution: You could feel dizzy from watching this, it's a bit fast paced ^_^


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Posted by TravelbyBeach 19:04 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Stress & Detox

Our 40 day stay in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

semi-overcast
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I like reading about places I've visited either half way through a stay or as I'm leaving, sometimes completely after. It's just more fun that way!

Tepoztlán is derived from Nahuatl and means "place of abundant copper" or "place of the broken rocks." This is derived from the words tepoz-tli (copper) and tlan ("place of/place of abundance"). (Wikipedia)

The town is famous throughout Mexico as a symbol of fierce civic pride and independence. In 1994, a multinational firm secretly negotiated a deal to build a Jack Nicklaus golf course and residential development on communally held lands; part of the plan involved construction of a heliport and a funicular to the top of Tepozteco pyramid. When the project came to light, townspeople joined forces, ran the city government out of town (hanging them in effigy), and occupied the Ayuntamiento (town hall), sealing off the city limits and repelling state military forces until the developers backed out of the project. (Frommers)

To continue to quote Frommers I think they give a great introductory description of Tepoztlán too: Largely undiscovered by foreign tourists, it occupies the floor of a broad, lush valley whose walls were formed by bizarrely shaped mountains that look like the work of some abstract expressionist giant. The mountains are visible from almost everywhere in town; even the municipal parking lot boasts a spectacular view.

I recommend reading all of that short article from Frommers to get a nice little idea about where we have stayed. To the point: it was gorgeous there. The people are nice. It holds a special energy that you can really feel. The weather is usually sunny, and if not, overcast but warm. The Pirámide de Tepozteco looks over the town from high on the mountain and is said to be the birth place of Quetzalcóatl, the omnipotent serpent god of the Aztecs, over 1200 years ago (read about our hike to the pyramid). Tepoztlán is also deemed a Pueblo Mágico, A "Magical Village" that represents a place with symbolism, legends, history, important events, day-to-day life – in other words, "magic" in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism. Only 83 towns (as of 2012) in Mexico are said to be Pueblo Mágicos.

Our warm welcome to Tepoztlán can be read about HERE, from my Health for Happiness Blog, before I swapped over to here. If you read that post you will see that we originally thought we would be staying here until mid-December, well...that changed pretty quick, but you will see the reasonings as you keep reading on.

After we stayed with Fernando we went to visit the woman named Anosha, who we would be Working-away with come beginning to mid-November. She set us up with a room to rent through her [only] employee's family. It was a very nice place, the people were friendly and we had a large kitchen at our disposal. We stayed here for one week before Anosha agreed to let us into her home earlier than we had originally agreed.

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Anosha has a beautiful bed and breakfast called Casa de la Vida. We responded to her Workaway ad writing with great excitement, for it was surely to be a place where Tyler and I could both learn a lot and help out in many ways. We were more than thrilled when we were told yes! -We sounded like we could be a good fit. The house was enjoyable, however I voted our experience as "neutral" in the review I wrote:

As serene a place Casa de la Vida is, with perfect mountain ambiance, just outside a very lively and wonderful town, with plenty to do and see within walking distance and very deliciously fresh food - my stay at Casa de la Vida with my boyfriend Tyler was not the smoothest.

Expectations were laid out as being never a lot of work, but working whenever it is needed is what is expected- here and there, a few hours per day, but no set hours. No matter the time we started working it was clear after the first few days that we would be working through about 5 in the afternoon - with an hour lunch break in the middle of the day, which was always tasty. We arranged our own schedule with Anosha so we could take time for ourselves in the morning, usually starting work around 10:30; however she mentioned her other work-awayers would get up at 8 and start working right away. This was only problematic for me because I was not expecting to work 5-6 hour days. Also, having basically the entire day occupied at the house it was nearly impossible to make plans with friends we had made in town, as they were only available in the mornings one day a week.

So far, my other Workaway experiences have been quite different from this one. In conclusion, for me, my time here felt very stressful/uncomfortable, with feeling somewhat mislead from the beginning and communication issues on and off throughout. Though I appreciated how acceptable open-communication was, I still found it difficult when I did try to discuss my concerns with Anosha. I think this could be a great workaway for many other people, I did very much enjoy Tepoztlan itself and we also had a Temazcal experience with Anosha, which was quite nice. I can tell Anosha is a kind, caring, loving soul, but for whatever reasons we personally did not mesh as well I as I would have originally hoped. I do wish Anosha the best of luck in her upcoming workaways and all the success in Casa de la Vida.

The rest of our time in Tepoztlán was extremely enjoyable. We studied a lot of interesting subjects including pyramids and astrology. Tyler read quite a bit and even I read a fascinating book called Crystal Healing Secrets that I really enjoyed. I also listened to the audiobook of Eat, Pray, Love, which is a book I highly recommend and really love. We got into a regular [usually morning] yoga routine, made friends with an engaged couple who owned a super delicious food cart (Juanito's) near the main square that we visited almost every day, became regulars a coffee shop, Cafe Revolucion, -- where they pretty much laughed in my face when I told them it was our last night in town (which is just hilarious to me, especially since we spent almost every single night there) -- we discovered a chocolate shop, a delicious pizza joint on a second story overlooking town, and a mediterranean place called Cardomomo; no we didn't justp eat during our stay. We experienced quite the array of cultural affairs within our 40 day stay, including dia de muertos, a boy scout gathering of 5,000+ troops of all ages, and the revolucion day celebration. Despite the unsettling experience with Anosha I would say we very much enjoyed our time in Tepoztlán and would be more than thrilled to return one day. Our friend's at Juanito's even said we would have a place to stay next time we're in town, bless their hearts!

I would say, for me, my most enjoyable experience in Tepoztlán was the Temazcal we did with Anosha on one of our first nights with her. A temazcal is a type of sauna-like experience that is also extremely spiritual - at least it was for me. A small hut is built out of natural earth materials and volcanic rocks are heated on the inside to keep it warm and lined with fresh herbs/plants of all sorts on the bottom. Chamomiles, mint, lemongrass, plus other flowers and plants that combine to the makes the most divine smell. You get your own bundle to sit with inside, which you whap around in the air above our head to help the flow of heat that actually keeps things a more cool temperature.

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Before entering the temazcal a small ceremony is performed, the man who owned this temazcal, Hector, lead this for us. We stand in a circle and close our eyes, he says a type of prayer in spanish. He gets a wooden flute/recorder type instrument and plays a song on it, it is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. Then sage and incense is lit and he walks around to each individual person and blows it around our bodies, all whilst we stand with our eyes closed (I'll admit I peeked). I have read that Native Americans used sage in this manner as a way of clearing an aura before a ceremony or spiritual journey of sorts. Then he took a conch shell and blew it around our bodies in a particular way that was meant to open up our chakras. I felt mine immediately, a vibration throughout my entire body that was so light but distinct, almost a tickling sensation. I could not help but smile and feel a serene peacefulness come over myself.

Inside the hut I could immediately feel how small it was. Supposedly you do a temazcal with upwards of 5 or even 9 people. Having a wee bit of claustrophobic nature, I was very glad that it was only the 3 of us. We all got in and sat down with our bundles of herbal plants. I brought my crystals with me, so I set them out on a small ledge near the volcanic rocks in the back center of the hut. Hector splashed water onto the rocks and we whapped our bundles in circles over our heads. Then he pulled a thick blanket type curtain over the door. We were left to sit with each other, with the herbs, with the heat, in pitch black darkness. I will admit I felt a tad bit claustrophobic but I breathed deeply and distracted my mind with how amazing this experience was. Oddly enough, one tiny dot of light from the pulled curtain also helped me feel safe - I guess because I knew exactly where the door was if I needed it. I continued on with the deep breathing, we did some chanting, deep breathing, I focused on opening up my chakras more and cleansing my soul, I smiled and hummed a mantra that I say to myself sometimes, kindness, calmness, love, and change, come in to my heart and stay. After awhile I opened my eyes, because really, there was no difference between having them closed or open, so why not open? It was interesting to me that I felt a complete [and accurate sense] of where everything was in the temazcal. When I wanted to hold my crystals one at a time (I have 6) I knew exactly where they were to grab them and put them back, I knew where Tyler was precisely sitting next to me if I wanted to place a hand on his knee, I knew where Anosha was sitting across from me when I wanted to stretch my legs out and not bump her. After some time of getting comfortable and really just relaxing with my eyes open I started to see some glimpses of light around the hut and near the ceiling. At first I had to triple check with myself and make sure my eyes were in fact open - an odd feeling for sure.

After awhile Hector opened the door, which let in a nice small cool breeze, and he served us warm tea (did you know consuming warm/hot foods in a warm/hot climate actually helps to lower body temperature?). Hector had also placed a cool bowl of water on the inside of the door to splash onto the rocks, but at this moment he took a small bowl full and threw it onto each of us. It was quite cold, but extremely refreshing. He did this periodically throughout our remaining hours in the temazcal. At one point he also served us small bowls of honey that we were told to put all over our bodies as a purifying agent. I put some on my face and then rubbed it on my arms and stomach. With the mixture of sweat and heat the honey was not sticky at all and made my skin very soft. Anosha dismissed herself from the temazcal maybe an hour or so in to get a massage from Hector. Tyler started getting over-heated after about two and a half hours and stepped out. I stayed in for almost a full three hours, lying on the floor in the herbal plants, staring at the ceiling where I was still seeing the small glimpses of lights, breathing deeply and feeling truly in touch with myself.

At the end Hector hoses you off with a cold water hose - similar to the cold water plunge you commonly see in a spa, after being in a hot environment dousing your body with cold water has some very therapeutic effects. Then I got changed, gave Hector a nice big thank you hug, and we were on our way. It was an unforgettable experience and I would love to do another one when I get the chance! They seem to be quite common throughout Mexico, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

We have now endured a 20+ hour trip fromTepoztlán to Puerto Escondido. 3 taxis, 4 buses, and 4 cities from our departure to our destination at Casa Kei. We will be living in the sand of this beach town, sun shining all day long, 90+ degree weather for the next week and a half or so. Having been out of the HOT climate for a couple months, it's something to get used to, but we're loving it! This town seems to be a hub for surfing and has a deep Hawaiian feel, with many shops and restaurants (including where we're living) taking on Hawaiian names. Our current sleeping arrangements are in a two person tent, the small property we're at has outdoor style living arrangements - which I am so in love with. There is a girl named Liz from Scotland Working away here as well, 2 cats + a kitten, a tarantula that I named Brownie (and have yet to see) living under the stairs, trees all around, hammocks to lounge in...certainly not much to complain about here, as long as you don't mind things that crawl :)

A video recap of our stay in Tepoztlán is in the plans, so stay tuned. Otherwise, probably no posts for another couple weeks...

Cheers y'al!

Posted by TravelbyBeach 07:37 Archived in Mexico Tagged hiking culture travel mexico friends love sauna revolucion puerto_escondido yoga tepoztlan dia_de_muertos morelos mountain_living yoga_practice yogis chakras temezcal heat_therapy therapeutic Comments (0)

Dia de los Muertos

A short video of our day in Tepoztlán for Dia de Muertos

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Posted by TravelbyBeach 15:23 Archived in Mexico Tagged altar mexico fun love happiness shrine singing song dia_de_muertos Comments (0)

It's 8:30 in the AM...

November 7th, 2014 Tepoztlan, Mexico

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It's 8:30 in the AM. I just lathered a bunch of coconut oil into my scalp, hoping to rid this dandruffy dry scalp thing, and wrapped a blue bandana around my head to hold it for the day. The morning sun is on my face, as I sit in my undies and a sports bra with a pot of limon tea brewing in front of me.

Most mornings I have been sitting out on the back porch of the house we are currently house sitting and listen to the book Eat, Pray, Love on audio for at least a half hour, sipping my tea, soaking up the day's first light with my feet on the moist grass, before making a smoothie, doing some yoga or stretching of sorts, making breakfast, then getting on with the rest of the day. It really has been pretty picturesque perfect mornings; relaxing, and slow paced.

Sometimes my mind runs in giant lists of things I feel like I need to do, this day, week, month, or year. Of things I want to accomplish, how I will accomplish them, when I will accomplish them, how I can make all my life interests and goals really work together - because I am convinced that I can. This morning, in particular, is one of those days. I went to bed last night after looking up yoga retreats in Thailand and a 3-month holistic massage school in Costa Rica; each costing about seven thousand dollars. So, I need to continue doing with what I love in health and fitness, be really successful in the next year (give or take some) and start taking one of these courses. I chuckled to myself a bit as I layed my head down last night. I must be in some sort of transitional phase in my life where I am ready to learn, explore, and grow as a person. I am loving it here in Tepoztlan, but I feel like the most of what it is giving me is a big spoonful of me time. Which is great, it's what I should embrace. Listen to yourself here: It's what you should embrace! Learning more about yourself in this time of solitude, when you have the opportunity, is going to teach you great things about yourself and ultimately help in your big life plans. Listen to yourself.

However, strangely enough, on the back of my mind I can't help but think of something that I have lightly pondered in my head for some time now. I really love the motto to each their own. What if this was a really true way of living? I want to know how the world would be if each person truly respected what everyone else believed in and no one was trying to shove their ideas into any one else's brains. When I play this little world out in my mind the people who believe in God would all accept each others for believing in some sort of God. No one would think my God is THE God, the most mightiest, the one who will ACTUALLY save you. The atheists would have their own place in society, naturally - there's a place for e v e r y o n e and people would be able to hold meaningful conversations listening to each other's insight and truly thinking it's interesting to hear another's point of view, without feeling threatened or simply not hearing one word this other person is saying because you can't help but think they are sooo wrong right now or that is absolutely not what I believe. I imagine people who are really gung-ho about recycling would collect recycling from the people who "don't believe in it" and they would have some sort of cheerful exchange, because the people who don't believe in it would at least be open to it. Instead of cramming all their recyclable items in the trash in spite of the goddamn hippies. Of course you would have people who weren't sure what they believed, but that is beside the point. They would find their place eventually, or they wouldn't, but it would all be okay. I want to live in a place where we step away from some societal embeddedness and start lightly accepting people for simply being people. Now I realize this is entirely unrealisitc, however a part of me truly believes it could be made possible if we got rid of money (but that's entirely another story), but I do have a point here. We all have our own individual opinions and motives in life. The people that are ambitious are going to go for it and succeed! The folks who aren't sure what they want are going to take their time and maybe have a little harder time figuring out their place. I want it all to be okay. I want it all to be acceptable. I really want all folks to start realizing that they can have a good day because they feel like it and no one else can influence that! If someone makes a rude comment to you or doesn't smile back, that's on them. We are all going through something at some point in life, whether you can see it on the outside or not, and that is the one thing we all know and we all seem to forget about. Please, let your ego fall to the side a bit. Embrace the day because you are you. Own everything you do. And when the bah-hum-bugs of the world, and frownie Frans cross your path, greet them warmly. A smile, if nothing more. Your attitude makes an impression on people and whether you want to believe it or not, your attitude draws the same attitudes towards you. Just like a day when nothing seems to go right for you. Keep your chin up, it will turn around sooner than later. For that matter, if you are having an off day, don't be afraid to admit that to others. If you are quiet or short with someone, you can tell them you're having an off day. We are so scared to be vulnerable in our society, so scared to be, well, ourselves. How sad is that? Here is one of my favorite quotes:

"We’re all one thing, lieutenant. Thats what I've come to realize. Like cells in a body. ’Cept we can't see the body. The way fish can't see the ocean. And so we envy each other. Hurt each other. Hate each other. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell."

There is some food for thought for your morning. I am going to listen my audiobook now, sip my morning tea, and feed this yowling little calico.

Make it a wonderful, delightful, day. Keep your chin up - portray confidence, smile if you can, and if you can't, then just reflect today. Remember, every single day is a new day and in everything you do you are helping build the path that you are walking down. Choose what's right for you.

Posted by TravelbyBeach 07:31 Archived in Mexico Tagged travel tea new sun love morning society smile energy societal_normals dreamer world_travel Comments (0)

New Blog Space!

You've reached the correct location

Thanks for following the link from my Tumblr to here! You will get all the travel updates as they come, but I do not currently have any to post...
I am working on a small video compiling a conclusion as to how our Dia de los Muertos went and with that will follow a short blog post about it.
I hope to get this up soon.

Just so you know, even if you are not a member to this site, you can still comment on the pictures and blog posts here, so if you have something to say, feel free to comment!

Thanks for reading, come back soon~

Posted by TravelbyBeach 14:36 Comments (0)

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