Here in Zipolite, yoga classes are very reasonably priced. The classes are 1 1/2 to 2 hours long and are the best I have ever taken. I have class every morning at La Loma Linda, walking up a massive hill, and the class is worth every step up. The teachers pay attention to every student in almost every asana and speak English and Spanish for every instruction. My favorite teacher is Basque.
I love the view from my room on the Pacific in Zipolite, although the room itself is very spartan and would fit right into a convent or monastery. The towels are torn, the sheets are pilly, and the bed is one step away from having a bare spring poke me in the back. The internet service is the worst that I have experienced in Mexico. BUT I can walk outside and into the ocean, which is lovely.
I have a very nice French Canadian couple in the room next to me. We we all sitting on our communal balcony, watching some boys bury a tortoise that washed up dead. The couple saw a whale yesterday. I have to sit on the balcony more and watch the ocean. It might seem puritanical of me, but I wish the French Canadian man would wear a towel on our balcony, which we share with two other rooms. He does wear one when other men are on the balcony but thinks nothing of me having to view his schlong, while I am trying to relax. But he and his wife are very pleasant people so I just avert my eyes.
Last night I had dinner, sitting at a table literally in the main street, cheap and tasty but many flies to bat. After dinner I heard drums and gravitated to the town’s weekly African dance class, two hours long, full of dripping wet, young dancers. I knew if I tried to join them that I would be sick from eating and the heat, so I stood on the sidelines, dancing, sweating and encouraging them. They all smiled at me, and a few beauties came to dance with me occasionally.
Now we will see how many of you read this to the end; please let me know because this is the GOOD part. I stopped wearing a bra as soon as I arrived, along with earrings and lipstick. Yesterday I had another new experience – I played in the Pacific, topless! I have been tempted; the French Canadian woman next door said I would love it, and I did! However, I waited until mid-afternoon when there were few people around, walked to the water in my muu-muu and hat, shucked them off and ran into the water. I played for a while, jumping waves and having the time of my life, then ran out and flung on my muu-muu. You can take the girl out of MN but….
I was just outside on my communal balcony, watching the stars fading and the first light of dawn on the Pacific. Last night was Saturday, and rather than go to sleep after watching a movie (a young Brit put Popcorn Time, which is even legal, on my computer for me), I wrapped myself in my sarong and followed the beach to the music. The stars were the most brilliant since I left my farm in Wisconsin.
It was rock and roll, tuning up. I watched for a while but nothing happened so I drifted back to my room and got into bed, thinking if it sounded good I would get up and dance on the beach. But the sound of the waves drown out the music, I slept; sleeping better now with my lovely 2 hour yoga class every morning AND since I scored a blanket, for which there is no need in Zipolite, and put it between my nasty mattress and the sheet.
I’m looking for community in this area, but it is hard for me to find. This is not a friendly town, even the Mexicans who make their living from the tourist trade don’t smile. People are in pairs with their partners and lovers or groups of friends/families. It’s much harder to find folks to talk to, as a lone traveler, than a bigger town or city, where there are more activities. People are here to chill, and since I don’t make assumptions or take things personally anymore, thanks to Ascension Meditation and Don Miguel Ruiz, I can watch and record my observations more impartially.
The communities that I have visited so far are very inclusive. They all are seeking new members, but members with certain characteristics. It is much easier, of course, if you are younger, speak the language of the country, have certain skill sets and goals, have a certain amount of money that you are eager to invest.
At the Quaker House in Mexico City, it was very important to be an active Quaker, have awareness of the needs to be addressed and be able to give your time and money. These were the more interesting people, and I only got to see them at the communal breakfast table, which I loved.
At The Healing Sanctuary in Puerto Escondido, there was a wonderful environment and opportunities to learn and enjoy healing your body and spirit. However, there were only two people there, who were stable in their residency. Others came and went, contributing but not on the consistent basis which seemed to be needed. As I mentioned before, two of my best experiences there were the daily yoga class, which was taught by Nora from Budapest, who had only been there for two weeks and was moving on, and the magical Ascension Mediation weekend seminar, taught by Aria and Nagendra from Missouri. I give thanks to them and was delighted by the opportunity to learn from them and further change my life and discover my spirit and the possibilities of joy in my life.
I didn’t get to physically visit Lak’ech Village in Mazunte, MX because they are forming and extremely busy, and I wasn’t able to adhere to their time lines. I did get information from them online. They are in a rural area, outside of the 1000 person village of Mazunte. The life in their community would be very difficult physically so one would have to be very fit and dedicated.
I had the good luck to be able to interview Gloria from Los Angeles, California, who has been in Zipolite since 1969, before there were any buildings, potable water, lights, let alone a tourist trade, with hotels and restaurants, which are relatively new to the area. The hotels are almost all owned by non-Mexicans.
Gloria is 75 and needs double knee surgery. She is pretty much housebound, except for going to the doctor. She has to navigate, with crutches, extremely steep and rugged stone steps up the hill side to Shamabala, which she build herself, hauling the stone and materials for the houses and sleeping on the beach for the first 5 months. She was the first gringo of either sex to become a resident of Mexico. It took her 6 years.
Gloria had planned to form a commune in California with some other hippies but fell in love with the Zipolite beach, and they wouldn’t join her or even come to visit/help out in Mexico because of the “danger”. So she did it all herself, selling all her possessions in California and moving here in 1972.
She married a Mexican fisherman. One of her friends, with whom she had been traveling in 1969 and had accidentally discovered the Zipolite beach, sent her money from California, with which Gloria bought a fishing boat and motor and made money to hire Mexican workers to help her with her building. Her husband never helped with a single stone but contributed by allowing her to buy her land from his family. The marriage lasted for two years.
Now Shambala has a number of buildings on the hill, with rentals in the buildings and the cabanas and two restaurants. I eat at the Indian restaurant, which is delicious, cheap, and healthy food. Gloria was the cook for over 40 years. It is just in the last 2 ½ years, with age and declining health (which she affirms daily to be “perfect”!) that she has had to take a back seat and hire more people, who report to her so she can make decisions.
I asked Gloria about the hippie community, which I am having such trouble finding, after assuming I would (troublesome assumptions again), and have such fun with them(!). The old hippies from the States and from Australia have drifted here in the not too distant past. The Aussies came for the surfing. The best waves are on the Shambala side of the beach.
There is no real hippie community here, according to Gloria. They buy houses and stay home, or a few will get together in restaurants on the beach, to eat and smoke. The young hippies come from many countries for vacations, to enjoy the freedom of the nude beach and the low prices, including the opportunity to bring their sleeping bags and sleep in a safe cove.
I will be here for two more days, enjoying the Pacific, although I do sometimes wish I had someone with whom I could walk on the beach and enjoy my restaurant meals (getting a lot of reading done, which is no hardship for this voracious reader). I will leave on Tuesday, a 12 hour bus ride from Pochutla, which is 20 minutes away by taxi. I will travel at night, so send good wishes to me that my bus is safe from banditos, which is certainly not unknown in this area. But my destination is exquisite San Cristobal de las Casas, in the mountains. I will be happy to cool off and visit the town and the neighboring Mayan ruins of Palanque.