There is no end to paradise


My deserted beach

I am walking on a deserted beach. Aside from a turkey vulture pecking at something lying on the sand further down the beach, I see no one.

I want to laugh and yell out loud, letting my voice be carried by the gentle pacific breeze that stirs the branches of the bushes that line the sandy beach. Other than C.C., Guillermo and his lovely wife Roscio, along with the three staff on the boat that is moored 50 metres out from shore, there is no one to hear me.

So I yell and throw my arms up into the air and do a little dance of joy. I also want to cry. Tears of pure exhilaration and joy and happiness.

I feel so free and blessed and grateful.

Villas FaSol from the water

At 8 that morning, Guillermo, the owner of Villas FaSol, arrived with Roscio to pick us up to go to the boat. Anna, one of the staff at FaSol joins us

At the dock where Guillermo’s 45 ft fishing boat, Do It, is moored, Jorge and crew have everything ready and waiting for us to depart.

We head out to sea for a wonderful day of touring and fishing. And while C.C. did catch one big fish, we threw it back into its watery home after thanking it for sharing in our adventures. We were not after food. We were savouring the experience.

We travelled down the coast towards Guatemala, past the site of the recently discovered Mayan ruins south of Huatulco, as Guillermo shared the history of the area. The stories of the peoples of these lands are as ancient as the Far East and Asia, he told us. Long before the Spanish arrived, long before guns and conquerors, the indigenous peoples farmed and fished and lived off the land by the sea and in the mountain ranges high above.

And then we turned north in search of a quiet cove to moor and swim in and have lunch.

The first cove we entered was too busy Guillermo said, and we motored to the next which is where I ended up walking on a deserted beach and dancing in the sun after diving from the boat into emerald green waters and swimming to shore.

On Friday, Placido, our taxi driver who drove us back to FaSol after dinner in town the night before, took us to the Magical Waterfalls, Cacidas Magicos. After about a fifteen-minute drive north of Huatulco on the highway, we turned off onto a dirt road and began to climb and climb and climb into the hills. The road was rough. The driving slow. We passed through tiny villages that clung to the hillside, the roofs of many of the homes concealed by the jungle that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Laundry hung on lines between houses and I wondered how it could even stay clean with all the dust that rose from the clay road.

Children, chickens, turkeys, burros, dogs, iguanas, goats, a cow and a horse wandered along the roadside. Like many of the people, the animals live off the land too.

Two hours after leaving Huatulco we arrived at the starting point of the trail leading to the waterfalls. Placido lead us down the path, telling us about the 3 waterfalls we were about to see, his pride visible on his face.

The entry point for the grotto behind the falls

We followed the river, past banana trees and wild birds of paradise blooming everywhere. We climbed up, higher and higher until we came to the first falls. Here, someone had hung a rope from a tree and people were swinging on it and dropping into the emerald green waters below. I would try that on our way back down. For now, we kept climbing.

When we reached the base of the largest fall, we stood on the wooden platform and admired its majestic beauty. Placido told us, “We wait here now.” He had organized with a local guide to come and meet us and lead us up and into the grotto behind the falls.

C.C. opted not to join me as his breathing has not been good in the humid air of Huatulco.

When Roger arrived, he motioned for me to follow him. Down the steps from the platform, along the trail leading into the river.

Above us the cascading waters crashed. Mist covered my body.

We stepped onto the rocks and began to cross to the other side to reach the stairs someone had carved into the rock alongside the bottom of the falls.

I am feeling nervous. Scared. Exhilarated.

This doesn’t look too safe to me but Roger keeps urging me along, taking my hand to help me cross waterways where the force of the water from the falls almost knock me over.

We reach the other side and keep climbing until we reach the place where we will enter the grotto behind the falls.

Roger motions to a stick that has been secured between the rocks. A short rope hangs from it.

He grabs it. Holds on tightly and disappears into the veil of water pouring down from the rocks above.

I take a breath. For a moment I wonder who last tested the security and strength of the rope and stick.

I put my thinking on pause. Those thoughts will not lead me forward. And I cannot go back down alone.

I grab the rope and slip behind the cascading waters.

The waterfall pummels my body. I can barely breathe. I push forward, climbing over the rocks.

Suddenly, the water stops and I am in a grotto behind the falls. Roger waits. Smiling.

I smile back.

We crawl through a small cave, into a cavern the backsplash of the water has carved in the rock behind the falls. The sound of the water cascading is loud. The water is emerald green in the pool. I cannot see out to where C.C. stands below on the deck of the platform below the falls, but I know he’s there.

Roger jumps into the pool. I take a breath and let go. I jump in.

Pure, utter joy sweeps over me.

This is bliss.

We fly home today.

Over dinner last night, C.C. and I shared in the joys of our travels these past 17 days and laughed at our trip planning expertise, which never ceases to amuse me. If we had stayed until Tuesday, we could have taken a direct flight home to Calgary. 5 hours. Instead, our travels home will last 10 hours as we must first fly to Toronto (5 hours) to catch a flight to Calgary.

Oh well I told him. At least our track record of unusual travel planning is intact.

It has been a glorious adventure. The trip home is just part of the journey.

I shall miss this land. The people. The food. The sights. The experiences. The sun. The sunsets. The incredible beauty of those we’ve met and all we’ve seen.

But in having taken this time I have been reminded once again of what is most important in my life. The people who make it so rich. To have had 10 days with my daughters, their partners and my grandson followed by another 8 with C.C. alone in this beautiful place is a gift.

This was our second trip to Huatulco.

Until we meet again.

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