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Our 40 day stay in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

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View Travel Through Central America June 2014 - 2015 on TravelbyBeach's travel map.

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)

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