Monthly Archives: August 2017

Silence, Urban Vibes and Travel Deceptions

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San Cristobal de las Casas

It has been another eventful month. I finished model 2 of the spiritual path that is Hridaya yoga and afterwards I did a 10-day silent retreat, as I felt in the groove. The retreat officially confirmed to me that I am a recluse, as I loved spending my time not speaking and being internalised. It’s a bit like being stoned. I did find it a challenging experience on a different level.

Surrendering in Silence

I had moved accommodation and the new place I was staying at was extremely hot and the ceiling fan only seemed to circulate the hot air. Despite leading a terribly healthy lifestyle I was dealing with some skin issues and the combination of the heat and dermatological challenges resulted in sleepless nights. Only six weeks ago I manage just fine with little sleep being on a total roll. This time the sleep deprivation lead to an inability to go deep into meditation, which is a big part of the retreat. This I found a rather frustrating ordeal after having had a pretty solid meditation practice for more than two months. After 10 days in silence many retreat participants raved about the life-changing process they had just experienced. For me it was mainly about surrendering. A submission to the current state of the process, that might not be to one’s liking, but it is what it is. So one accepts what is, observes what is and is aware that one is not one’s experience.

Finally leaving Mazunte… or not

After the silent retreat I stayed in Mazunte for a couple of days and then I had planned to travel to San Cristobal; A colonial town, the capital of the state of Chiapas and another place labelled pueblo magico. Despite my profound experiences at the Hridaya yoga centre, I had enough of the heat, the dust and the small-town-es of Mazunte and I was dying to leave. I left the accommodation that was too hot to handle for me and went, yet again, to neighbouring beach town Zipolite. I would just chill in a hammock the whole day and catch a bus in the evening from the nearest bus terminal in Pochutla. However, when I arrived at the bus terminal after a 40-minute taxi ride, there were no more tickets left for the night bus to San Cristobal and I was forced to spend yet another night and day at the Oaxacan cost. The next night was the night that I boarded a bus to San Cristobal de las Casas for considerably milder weather and urban vibes.

Urban living in San Cristobal

I planned to do some hiking and other day trips from San Cristobal, but for the week I was there I made the city my home. I did yoga on the roof terrace of the hostel I stayed at and worked from my laptop in funky cafés enjoying absolutely delicious, yet overpriced, hot chocolate and other treats like cocadas, which are coconut sweets, and to-die-for passion fruit macaroons. It was pleasant spring weather during the day and slightly colder in the evening. After five days of sunny weather, the sky became overcast and the rainy days had come to town, which was a sign for me to leave and I embarked on the monster journey to Tulum at the Caribbean coast.

Hot faux- hippy farts in Tulum

Tulum, another pueblo magico, has – or rather; had- this legendary reputation of a laid-back hippy mecca and I planned to stay a considerable amount of time before leaving the country to my next destination. Tulum is known for its Maya ruins and its clear-blue coloured ocean. Right at the beach you can find the expensive resorts and condos, while lesser mortals can be found in Tulum town, an urban development about three kilometres inland on both sides of the motorway, that leads to Cancun travelling northbound. I stayed in a lovely hostel very close to the bus terminal, as accommodation at the beach cost a mint. The hostel, the ruins and meeting up with resident Alberto, who I got to know in Mazunte, where he worked in the kitchen at Hridaya as a karma yogi, was what I liked about Tulum. Besides that I find the place overpriced and highly overrated. I imagine Tulum to have been that bohemian paradise 20- or perhaps even 10- years or so ago. I’m sure it’s still a paradise for bohos with very fat wallets, but the more it is about the moolah, the less boho it gets. Tulum is not a pretty or scenic town and the road to the beach is one straight, busy and boring stretch and it takes you at least 20 minutes by bike to hit the beach. When I was in Tulum, that beach was either sandy and covered in seaweed or rocky and sharp for you to injure your feet and other body parts. I was seriously underwhelmed and went immediately in search of some beach paradise considerably less pretentious and far more affordable. So after five- rather than fourteen- days, off I went.

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Tulum as in the brochure

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