Category Archives: Adventures in Mexico

Do you have my passport?

Sunset on another wonderful adventure

Our flight home from Huatulco on Sunday was not a direct one. My beloved booked it for Sunday not realizing if we left Tuesday, Westjet flies direct. He always likes to find the most ‘interesting’ routes for us to travel. Which is why, at 9:15pm we are standing in line at Toronto INternational airport to get through customs, worried we might not make our 10:15pm connection to Calgary.

We just do.

We’re the last people on the flight. Not because of long line-ups. There were long line-ups. In Toronto, you go through customs, put your bag on the conveyor belt to continue on its journey, and then enter the airport proper only to have to clear through security again.

When I went through security this time, they asked to open up a parcel in my carry-on. It was bubble-wrapped. A raiku incense burner I’d bought in Todos Santos created by a local artisan.

The security guard was apologetic. They’ve asked me to check it, he says.

It’s okay, I reply with a smile.

He finds a pair of scissors and cuts away the paper wrapped around the bubble wrap.

He pulls out my incense burner, admires it and then helps me package it all up again. The time is 9:40. Our flight has started boarding.

C.C. and I hoof it down the airport towards our gate. It’s not a short walk.

As we walk quickly to where we need to be, my mind reviews the process of rewrapping the package. In the flurry of getting it wrapped up, pulling all the things that were in the bin with it, including C.C.’s wallet, I can’t remember where I put my passport. I dig through my purse as I walk. Check in my carry-on bag as best I can.

I can’t find it.

I ask C.C. if I gave it to him.

He is adamant. I did not.

We get to the gate. The passengers are boarding.

We rummage through my carry-on and his.

No passport. My boarding pass is inside it.

I go to the check-in counter. I tell him what I’m missing and ask him if he can call security. “I don’t have a number to the security desk,” he tells me.

I hoof it all the way back to security.

The same guy who looked inside my package tells me he didn’t see it. He checks with others. checks garbage bins. My passport isn’t there.

It’s 10pm  Our flight leaves at 10:15.

I race back to the gate.

C.C. has gone through our bags again. My passport is nowhere.

We go to the desk.

The same check-in agent smiles and tells me not to worry. He gives me the number for Toronto airport to call when I reach Calgary.

I am almost in tears.

He takes my driver’s licence and checks me in without my boarding pass.

C.C. pulls his passport out of his back pocket. Opens it up to his picture and looks at it. Looks at me. Smiles sheepishly and says. “Oh. I do have your passport!”

I look at his face. Look at his outstretched hand where my passport photo stares back at me. I start laughing.

The check-in agent looks at me nervously. He looks at the passport. He too starts to laugh.

C.C. joins in.

We are still laughing as we race down the jetway to the aircraft.

All I can keep saying to C.C. is, “I can’t believe you had my passport all along.”

He too can’t believe it.

Travels with my beloved are filled with their own special adventures.

I’ve promised him I won’t let this one go for quite awhile.

“You know you’ve be reliving this story many times,” I tell him.

He smiles that way that makes my heart do a little happy dance and says, “I know.”

We made it home safe and sound. Beaumont has returned home. A little sulky but happy to see us.

And as to our passports, they are securely stored away until our next adventure.  It’s almost a guarantee they’ll be interesting in their own special way!

Happy Trails!

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And as a special little bonus, my daughters organized for a photographer to come and share some time with us while in Todos Santos and to take photos.

The video she’s created is AMAZING.  My heart melts every time I watch it (and that’s a lot) 🙂  @marianaleonphoto is very gifted. She’s based in La Paz and spent four hours with us to capture this incredible visual.  I feel so blessed and loved.

Photos by Mariana León Fotografía

For those interested in hiring a photographer while on vacation, Alexis, my eldest daughter, searched instagram for photographers in the Todos Santos area to find someone whose work she really liked.

I’m not sure how to load the video so I’ve linked in my Facebook page Watch the video HERE.  (You may have to scroll down on my FB page one or two posts)

 

 

 

 

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.

Creating Joy in Mexico

Sunset.

A pink band of colour quietly stretches itself out across the horizon. The bright yellows of the day time sun soften into rose and purple as the day eases into night.

I am standing at the edge of the pool looking out at the ocean, breathing deeply into la magia del atardecer en Huatulco (the magic of sunset in Huatulco)

It is a phrase I have just learned from one of the staff here at Villas FaSol. They are all very helpful in providing me Spanish words and phrases. Patient. Kind.

It is the way of the people.

To help. To be patient. To laugh with you when you say or do something that does not quite make sense. To encourage you to try again. Slowly. Slowly. Lentamente. Lentamente.

Like the group that gathered around yesterday as I learned to make tortillas a manos on the outside wood burning stove at the school where I am spending my second morning learning to cook the food of the Huatulco area.

Martine, the gardener, has loaded up the wood into the body of the oven and set it alight. It is just right, he says.

I have rolled and pressed my first tortilla and to the encouraging calls of the group of five or six people who have gathered to watch, I am about to place my tortilla on the tray that covers the opening to the fire.

I carefully watch my teacher, Rosie, place hers with grace and ease. The tortilla lays flat and round on the surface.

I step up.

I am not sure if the sweat running down  my spine is from the heat of the day mixed with the heat of the oven beside which I am standing or the pressure of the crowd watching.

I place the tortilla on the grill. Quickly. I do not want to burn myself.

The crowd gasps. And laughs.

No. No. Rosie says. You cannot throw it down. She is laughing so hard she has trouble finding her words.

Gentle. Like you are laying a flower on a bed.

I have never laid a flower on a bed so I am not quite sure what that is like. But I get the picture. I am too quick. Too… Americano, she tells me.

Lentamente. Lentamente.  “No flip. Lay flat. Like this.” And she demonstrates. Her hand flows along the surface of the pan, her knuckles skimming the surface but not touching it. “You must be careful not to burn your fingers,” she cautions me.

One of the spectators, an older man with a toothy smile and weathered face, demonstrates too. In rapid Spanish he tells me to (what sounds like, “assissez. Assissez.” I repeat his words though I do not really know what he is saying. We are both laughing and smiling. I hold my hand the way he demonstrates and move it in concert with his. Si! Si! he says.

I get another tortilla ready to cook.

As I approach the oven, the crowd moves closer. I watch Rosie lay another tortilla on the grill. I see my mistake. I have held the tortilla in the flat of my hand and tried to flip it onto the grill.

I step closer. Now I know the sweat is in response to the pressure of getting it right!

Success!  I lay the tortilla in a perfect round circle on the grill! The crowd cheers. Rosie gives me a high five. The man with the toothie grin motions for me to do it again.

I spent the morning learning how to cook Tortillas, Tacos al Pastor, Mole Rojo and Salsa Verde yesterday.

It was pure delight.

And when I returned to Villas FaSol, I lay in the welcoming waters of the ocean and let the waves wash over my body. I looked up at the sun and gave thanks to the sky above for the divine beauty of this place and the people who make it so special.

I did not know I was lost. Yet here, I feel like I am finding myself again. Finding the source of my peace of mind. My joy.

At one point yesterday, Javier, one of the young students in the class asked me, “Why you do this?”

“I love to cook,” I told him. “And I love to learn. When I go home, I can share with my family and friends what I have learned and bring a little bit of the magic of this place home to them.” (Okay. So it wasn’t quite so straightforward an answer as we both had to navigate the language gap and find the words to express what I was trying to say. But that is the gist of it!)

Over a beautiful dinner at L’Eschalote last night, C.C. and I spoke of what brings purpose to our lives. What gives us joy.

I love to create, I told him. When I am creating, I feel content. Whole. Complete. I do not do it for the ‘finished product’. I do it because the process of being immersed in the doing fills my heart with joy.

When I create, I let go of expectations and surrender to that place where I am one with being present in whatever I am doing, creating that which is flowing through me, calling out to be created.

I made tortillas yesterday on a wood fire stove. They were not perfect but they created a perfect place for me to practice being present to the beauty and wonder all around me. There was no space for judging my process or what I made. There was only joy that I was willing to let go of expectations to immerse myself in the joy of being open to learning and creating.

In the process, I was reminded of the truth of what brings me joy. The act of creating.

I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

The heart of Mexico is in the beauty of its people

Sunrise at Villas FaSol

Jorge, our taxi-driver into the city centre of Huatulco from Villas FaSol, does not speak English.

We do not speak Spanish.

Siri comes to the rescue, or at least a Spanish speaking, language translating version of Siri that is.

Jorge holds up his phone and waves it at the both of us in the back seat as he drives one handed. He flings a string of Spanish sentences into the phone and holds it up again, motioning for C.C. to take the phone.

Magic! His Spanish becomes English. “What are your plans for downtown Huatulco? You plan on going shopping?”

He motions us to speak into the phone.

C.C. complies.

“Yes. We want to walk around town. Visit shops. Have lunch.”

The Mescala Lady and her Parros

Jorge smiles. Nods his head. Reaches back for the phone. Again he fires his rattatatat of Spanish at the phone.

“You want I take you to my friend who owns a shop. Lots of lovely things. I tell her you’re my friends. She give you good deal. Not like others. She will treat you well.”

C.C. takes the phone. “Of course!’ he speaks into it.

I wonder if the Spanish speaking Siri will translate our laughter into anything other than what it is. Joyful gratitude for Jorge’s enthusiastic driving and clever translation skills.

Downtown, Jorge double parks on the narrow one-way street in front of a store, jumps out of his cab and says via his phone, “Come. I take you in and introduce you.”

We follow him into the shop where without aid of Spanish speaking Siri he greets a lovely dark-haired woman in a volley of Spanish. She smiles. Thanks him and turns to us. “Jorge says you his good friends. I am to treat you well.”

We smile. Thank Jorge, pay him for the ride and he leaves us with many Gracias!

The first question, Ines, the proprietress of Las Maracas, asks us is, “Are you American?”

“No,” we quickly reply. “Canadian.”

She smiles big. “Oh good. Then I tell you right now. The prices you see are all Trump dollars. For you, they are much less.”

We laugh but she is serious. “No. I no like him. I make him pay here, at my store. I like Canada. My daughter. She met a man from Calgary. She get married and move there. I love Canadians!”

We laugh again and tell her we are from Calgary. She has never been but has a trip planned for next August. “I not go in winter,” she says, faking a shiver and rubbing her bare arms. “My daughter. She likes the cold. Not me.”

Ines is true to her words. We spend a half hour in her shop. Chatting and eyeing her wares. Her husband is the silversmith and jewelry maker. His work is beautiful.

C.C. tells her he is buying me a birthday gift. “It is your birthday?” she asks.

“Yesterday,” I reply.

“Then I make you a gift,” she says. “You pick anything you want, I give it to you at cost. Our gift to you.”

In the end, we bought two bracelets, a necklace and she gifted me a pair of earrings to match my bracelet.

“But that is not cost,” I say.

“It is a gift,” she replies firmly.

The heart of Mexico is in its people.

Sunset at villas FaSol

From Jorge to Ines, to the man who lead us down street after street to visit ‘his shops’ (the Mescal store where free samples were doled out liberally. We had to buy the Passion Fruit Mescal after tasting the concoction the salesman created), to the waiters on the beach at Santa Cruz where we visited for lunch, warm greetings, smiles and laughter, a willingness to engage and talk is at the heart of what makes this country so beautiful.

We spent a delightful day exploring and eating. And after a late lunch under a palapa on the beach at Santa Cruz, we returned to Villas FaSol for a swim and a well-earned siesta before heading out to a delight dinner under the stars at Mision FaSol.

The day is done. The sun has set. our hearts are full after another beautiful day in paradise.

A woman of a certain age.

From where I sit…

There is no end to paradise.

There is no end to the beauty and mystery of Mexico.

After a day of travel, we arrived last night in Huatulco. Jordan, son of the Villas FaSol Manager, Gerrado, met us at the airport, his smile and hugs welcoming, to transport us to the resort.

Tucked into the shoreline in the Bahia Conejos just south of Hautulco, Villas FaSol is the perfect, ‘home away from home’. White washed domed roofs á la Mediterranean stand tall, etched against cloudless blue skies in a lush tropical garden. Below, the surf ebbs and flows into the bay, splashing up against rock strewn shoreline and a tiny, perfectly groomed, sandy beach.

The air has already heated up to day time highs, its full force softened by a gentle breeze that rustles through the palm trees and caressing my skin as it passes by reminding me of a story I wrote long ago for my daughters. it was called The WindStory Tree. In that story, the wind circled the globe collecting stories which it brought to a tall tree, a proud tree, a tree of many branches that stood in the middle of the prairies where a boy and girl lived within its sheltering branches listening to the stories of the wind.

The breeze here is like that. Carrying stories, tempting my mind to stop thinking so I can hear the beat of my heart calling me to dance, to laugh, to sing out loud and dive beneath the waters in the Bahia Conejos in search of octopus and lobster like the young men I can see from the deck where I sit in the shade watching the waters ebb in and out, in and out.

This is definitely paradise continued. No end in sight.

Our two daughters are back home safely in Canada. I feel the lack of their presence, the missing of my YaYa time in the early hours of the day.

And I smile as my heart remembers. In paradise there is no lack. No need to miss someone. In paradise there is only a joyful heart full of gratitude for the time spent together, building memories, building stories to tell the next time we see each other, or as they say in Mexico, hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo mi corazón está lleno de recuerdos tuyos”. ” (Until we meet again my heart is full of memories of you”)  Okay. I don’t really know if they say that in Spanish but it sounds pretty and I like it because it’s true. My heart is full of beautiful memories of time spent with those I love.

C.C. and I have no plans today. No expectations. Aside from grabbing a taxi into the town centre to walk around old Huatulco, lunch on a patio, we shall rest and relax savouring time together under the Mexican sun as I explore this new era into which I officially am subscribed as of yesterday when my years on earth added up to becoming a ‘senior’.

I don’t know what my 65’s and beyond will bring though C.C. and I chatted this morning over a beautiful breakfast on the deck about ‘the future’. I do know that whatever time brings me, I am blessed with family and friends, good health and work that continues to inspire me.

But, as I asked him this morning, I wonder what awaits if I choose to explore a different path?

Bedmates — looks and smells beautifully

It is the gift of this age I am embracing. There are no limits to what I can do when I let go of thinking of myself as a ‘woman of a certain age’ and step instead into the full power of being a woman of this amazing age where I am the dreamer and the dream-maker, the story-teller and the story-maker, the creator and the creative, the writer of my own journey.

Lived in Love, there is no other journey to take, no other place to be than where I am right now, not asking Mary Oliver’s question, “What will you do with this one wild and precious life” but living it wildly to my heart’s content.

Namaste.

 

 

 

Filled with gratitude and love — life is grand

Photo by Alexis M

C.C. and I are sitting at Cabo Airport this morning waiting for our flight to Mexico City and then Huatulco where we will spend the next 8 days enjoying more sun, sand and surf.

It was a parting of sweet sorrow this morning. After 9 days treasuring every moment together, Alexis, Liseanne, their partners and my grandson left to return north to Canada while C.C. and I travel further south in Mexico.

It was a beautiful week.

Photo by Alexis M

From seeing whales from the upper deck of the house, to stingray flapping the water, turkey vultures circling the waves as we rode horses down the beach and baby turtles waddling through the sand towards the sea, it was a time of special moments spent with those we love, our family. Though, as Alexis said last night as we sat around savouring Churros and vanilla ice cream and Chocolate molten cake from Guaycara Restaurant, it would have been perfect if C.C.’s son and daughter had been there too.

There are so many moments that filled my heart to overflowing.

Cabo Airport domestic terminal

On our first Sunday, we arose early to walk the beach and then head to town in search of a good cup of Java which we found at Taller 17, a delightful bakery/coffee shop in the town centre. At 2pm, Alexis and Liseanne told me they had organized a professional photographer to come and take family photos that afternoon. When Marianna arrived we went back to the town and had photos at Hotel California, one of the town’s more ‘infamous’ locales. We wandered the streets feeling like paparazzi as Marianna followed our footsteps snapping photos everywhere we went. And then, the penultimate photo opportunity, a private releasing of sea turtles on the beach, just down from our house.

There is something so exquisitely beautiful and poignant about these tiny endangered species and their journey into adulthood. The mother’s have travelled north up the shore to avoid the more populated areas to the south of the peninsula. In an effort to protect the eggs and to foster greater success in the tiny babies surviving the treacherous walk to the sea once hatched, volunteers have created a turtle sanctuary on the beach directly in front of the house we rented. For a small fee, every evening, you can help release the babies and hopefully, watch it and protect it on its journey to the water.

One in 100 babies survive to adulthood. Not great odds for a species of which there are only 2500 alive on the planet today.

It was a transcendent moment to watch our 10 month old grandson laughing and chortling as we stood together on the other side of the line the turtle guide drew to show us where to stand before releasing the turtles. As the tide rolled in, on the signal of our guide, we adults each placed the coconut shell we’d been given with a baby inside onto the sand and gently as possible, without touching its body (skin oils inhibit its ability to survive) and coaxed the turtle out of the shell. We cheered each turtle as our grandson clapped and cheered, supported by his dad. 

Thurlow is just on the brink of walking. Like the baby turtles, his journey to adulthood is just beginning. As I watched my daughter and son-in-love coax and protect his steps this week, I was reminded always of the turtles’ and their journey to the sea and the many dangers they must face in order to survive. Thurlow’s journey is not nearly as treacherous nor dubious. He is always safe and surrounded by his parent’s loving care.

I am grateful.

We fly south to Huatulco today.

My heart is full and though I shall miss them all, we have already arranged to visit for New Year’s in Vancouver.

I am so blessed.

Oh No! Don’t let the rain come down.

It rained last night. No. That’s not quite accurate. It poured. A torrential downpour that soaked the parched earth and, not so happily, inside our house.

At midnight, the thunder rolled across the sky making sleep impossible. Nature created a light show that danced across the dark in streaks of yellow and gold, illuminating the night

At 2am, the wind had shifted and suddenly, Alexis and James’ bed was drenched. A reconnoiter of the house showed numerous leaks in the roof that drip drip dripped onto the couch in the family area, the kitchen and the hallway upstairs. The wind lashed against the glass doors of our bedroom drenching the floor in several places.

James, Alexis and I scurried around finding buckets, pans, bowls and a mop. Somehow, the other three slept on.

Clean up, or at least stop the flow, completed, we went back to  bed. But our senses were on alert.

Outside, the wind continued to howl, the rain to pour and the surf to crash.

By 5am, it was all over.

“It’s the equivalent of a snow day in Connecticut,” Aaron, the house manager said when he came to survey the damage. “Everything in town is pretty well shut down as people clean up the mess.”

Aaron manages six homes. He’s been up since dawn navigating puddle ridden dirt roads like the one at the end of which our house sits. “It’s passable,” he said. “But you gotta go slow.”

We had waited to call him until after a walk on the beach. Not much could be done at that point. We’d mopped up the floors and dumped the buckets and pans. Why worry about a call that could be made anytime when the sky was breaking black to grey and blue and white with streaks of sun shimmering through and the surf was crashing into the sand in frothy white waves that rolled and broiled and fell onto itself in its rush to reach the sand?

Lele, Tim and I walked the beach while Alexis and James and Thurlow napped. C.C.  hadn’t yet woken up. He can sleep through everything. I am often envious.

The morning awakens after the storm. A whale spouts as it swims past. The not so wild, left to run free horses walk slowly past the house, taking the trail down to the beach. A white heron walks slowly through the grass before taking flight.

Above, the sky is lightening as the clouds roll away and the sun begins to dry up the puddles. In our yard, a pile of coconuts lie at the base of a palm tree, torn down by the wind during the night. There are leaves everywhere but the puddles that filled the drive have already started to dry up, soaking into the sandy soil.

It’s a house day today. the girls are hoping to catch some rays and work on their tans.

The men are hoping to lie by the pool and relax.

For now, Lele and Tim have ventured into town, curious to see how rough the dirt road leading from the house to the main street really is. It’s not great in good conditions. It will be fascinating to see how it is now! They’re also off in search of latte’s and breakfast treats, though Aaron has warned us most stores are closed today.

Alexis is taking a shower, James is having a nap. C.C. plays with Thurlow and I am contemplating the day and the night’s adventures.

It was a rough one, but we all survived and in its wake, I am reminded once again how, no matter the weather, life is beautiful when shared with family.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

Building memories to last a lifetime

Photo by James M

We have developed a pattern here at the house on the beach in Todos Santos.

Early morning is YaYa time with my grandson. My son-in-love waits to hear me making coffee in the kitchen before bringing Thurlow up so that he and my daughter can grab another hour of sleep.  I don’t tell him how I anticipate this treasured time alone with Thurlow. It is Thurlow and my secret

Alone, Thurlow and I climb up to the third floor deck and watch the waves crash into the shore and then come back down and sit on the floor as he explores the world around him. We laugh and sing and clap hands and he bobs and weaves his tiny body dancing to the rhythm of his tiny world. I wonder if he can hear my heart dancing.

I feed him breakfast and eventually, the rest of the house rises and the day begins as I let go of my treasured time.

This morning, my daughters and I were going riding. It is the second ride for my youngest daughter and me since arriving on Saturday. Alexis’ first.

We rode through palm groves and then along the beach, our bodies relaxing into the steady gait of our horses as a wind blew in from the ocean and the surf crashed into the sand, washing our horse’s footprints away. It is hot and muggy. My heart is light, dancing with the pure delight of spending time with my two favourite women, my daughters, doing something I have always loved. Riding.

Above us, in the ever darkening sky, turkey vultures glided on the wind and beautiful white egrets watched our passing from their perches in the trees lining the edge of the river where it meets the sea. We pass by and they spread their wings swooping down to the water and then soaring back up into the sky. They are beautiful to watch.

And then, we left the beach and climbed up into the hills past flowering cacti, sampled sweet, sweet chilli peppers from a wild cactus bush and stopped at the high point to see if we could spot any whales. Two days ago, when we rode by this point we watched a whale slide by from above, the only sign of his passing the spray of his spout and the grey of his body sliding through the brilliant blue water. Today the water is gunmetal grey and moody. My favourite kind of sea.

We rode back down the rocky trail on the far side of the mountain, through palm groves redolent with the smells of fresh rain and bougainvillea flowers cascading to the ground. We crossed a river, our horses easily stepping through silent water up the far bank and back to the corral and through it all my heart kept dancing.

It was a day to laugh and chat and share and be. Together.

Back at the house, we showered and changed and left the men in charge of my grandson and drove into town for lunch. I almost had to stop driving at one point as the pounding of my heart drowned out my daughters’ voices and tears welled up into my eyes. I love you both so much, I told them, and they laughed and did that daughter thing of rolling their eyes and laughing before telling me how they love me too, and can we please go for lunch now? And we did after stopping at the bakery for fresh bread for the house and then a delightful ladies’ shop where I bought a new scarf (Like you really need another scarf mom they both teased) and a handbag that Alexis hopes she gets for her birthday and then we went for lunch at the rooftop sky lounge at Guaycura where the view of the red rooftops of Todos Santos tucked within lush green palms and flowering leading down to the sweeping sea made us gasp at the sheer beauty of the view.

Photo by Alexis M

We ordered Nachos and wine and laughed and chatted and teased as the sky above grew darker and darker until the rain began to fall in earnest and we scurried for cover by the bar, laughing with the pure pleasure of being together as the rain danced on the fabric of the roof cover, falling onto our table through the cracks between each panel. We didn’t care if we got wet. This was a day for pure delight, of hearts beating together and love flowering like the verdant forests all around.

 

 

The heart is an infinite space.

01a25ceb87823b6e89b0321ea298c61ea1b4343220I am watching a movie on the flight home. I cannot remember the name nor the actors. I think it was a sad movie. I hope so because I know I felt tears pricking at the edges of my eyelids.

And I think perhaps it is the bittersweetness of leaving Huatulco and the joy of coming home.

My heart is heavy. My heart is full.

It is both the blessing and the curse of travelling. Everyday new sights, sounds, ideas, foods, people open up like an oyster to reveal the exquisite beauty of every day pearls. And everyday, it takes you away from those you love, the places you know, the comforts of the life you live day to day.

And it comes back to me, the name of the movie I watched. In Her Shoes. Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley McLean. Two sisters who find the grandmother they thought had forgotten them and discover the beauty of the ties that bind them can never be broken. No matter what happens in the world around them, they are always connected through the heart to one another.

It is the heart connection that stirs my memory of the movie’s name because in it, Cameron Diaz recites one of my favourite  e.e. cummings poems.

i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

winter-is-hereThis morning, as I gaze at the snowy landscape outside my office window, as I feel the chill of the air when I let Beaumont out for a romp in the backyard, as I make coffee to take back to bed to savour with my beloved so we can lie together and reminisce of the days just past, of our plans for today and dreams for tomorrow, I carry with me in everything I do, the memories of Huatulco and Villas Fa-Sol. Of Don Gabriel and his coffee in Pluma Hildalgo. Of dinner under the palm trees, the roaring of the surf crashing against the rocks. Of the guitar player serenading us at dinner, the music of the looms at Textileartes. The sound of the birds cawing as we travelled across the waves to a deserted beach where I swam to shore. Of the taxi drivers, the servers, the shop people, the delightful staff at Villas Fa-Sol. Everyone. I carry them in my heart. The people. The sites. The adventures. The music. The laughter. The friendships made. The friendships deepened.

They will live in my heart forever for the heart is an infinite space. It gathers memories and holds them near, filling our soul’s longing for connection with its reminders of the people we treasure most, the one’s we hold so dear. And though the colours of the photos may dim, and the memory of the beauty of the sunsets become lost in other places, other journeys, the memory of the people will stay with me forever.

For that is the way of the heart. It holds onto people, no matter where in the world we go. For with every beat of our heart, it reminds us that we are never far from the one’s we love. We carry their hearts in ours. Always.

 

Roscas de Reyes


It is the Festival Roscas De Reyes and Roscio has been wrapping and handing out gifts to the various service providers who have come to the door all morning. Ursula tells us this when we arrive at Villa Sabah after a leisurely morning at Villas Fa-Sol.

img_0785This is a predominantly Catholic region where the day of the 3 Kings is the highlight of the new liturgical year. Everywhere we have gone, I have seen beautiful Crèche. Hand-painted, gilded, carved wooden creations. They sit in malls and the corners of shops and along streets. Next to Ola, Gracias Mon Deus is the phrase I’ve heard most frequently.

Coconut water au naturel
Coconut water au naturel

C.C and I had planned an adventure on Mopeds but his stomach had other ideas, most of which included not venturing too far from a washroom. So, we lazed about for the morning and then joined Ursula and Andrew, and our hosts Guillermo and Roscio by the pool for the afternoon at Sabah.

It was a fitting end to our last full day in Huatulco. Especially when it included Margueritas on the deck at Fa-Sol at 5:30, followed by an incredible dinner prepared by Sandra.

img_0774
Roscas de Reyes

Under the star studded sky, at a flower laden table and to the sound of the surf crashing on the rocks below, we dined on the most amazing Avacado Soup, followed by a fresh salad of lettuce and tomatoes and avocado dressing and then, the piece de resistance, El Pescado en Papilotte. Scrumdilicious! The first round of dessert was strawberries in cream or a Flan that was truly to die for.

And then, it was time for the Roscas de Reyes, a giant wreath like cake that everyone had to cut into in the hopes of finding ‘the Bebe’.

In my family, the cake for the 3 Kings always had coins — finding the coin also meant being the King for the Day.

In the tradition here, the one’s who find one of the several ‘bebes’ tucked into the cake must bring Tomales to everyone on February 2nd, the day of the Blessing of the Animals.

img_0974Amidst laughter and suspense-filled ooohs and aaahs, we cut into the cake. I didn’t cut out a Bebe of my own but Gerardo offered me his and then one of the young girls gave me hers and then Roscio offered up her “Joseph”. And now, I have a little family of beautifully carved pottery. Mary, Joseph and Le Bebe.

What a wonderful gift and what a beautiful way to spend our last evening in magical Huatulco.

This morning, Roscio is taking Ursula and I to the market in the Centre of the city. “We will have breakfast of coffee and Tomales,” she tells me, “And you will see more of the real Mexico.”

img_0911There is much beauty here in this real Mexico at the edge of the Pacific. The rocks push up out of the clear blue waters of the sea that laps and leaps at each crenellated finger of land. Palm trees march up the sides of the mountains and spikes cacti cling to the sandy soil as if defying the winds to blow them away. Flowers compete in brilliant colour, vying for the title of ‘most exotic’, ‘most brilliant hue’, most fragrant.

And amidst all the beauty and colour, there are the people who make this land so special. Their smiles. Their lyrical language. Their gracious manners. Their warm hearts. (And did I mention their fast driving?)

There is much beauty in this land at the edge of the sea and the most beautiful of all are the people.

Gracias!