Relaxation, Yoga & Temazcal - Jalco to Apazapan

Trip Start Feb 05, 2010
Trip End Feb 13, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel La Villa
Relaxation, Yoga, Antigua & Temazcal - Jalco to Apazapan

Flag of Mexico  , Veracruz-Llave,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This morning began later with a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the infamous Juice Ladies in Jalcomulco. I've heard Anna and the Esprit gang speak of this place and they all like it so I was glad we had a chance to eat there. The Juice Ladies is located a block down the street from Esprit. We went inside and sat at a table. Beyond their juices they had sandwiches and other food options as well. They make all of their juice with an orange base and you can add whatever type of fruits and vegetables to that you'd like. I got a Jugo de Fresa y Naranja, a strawberry juice with an orange base. They also had a drink made with a milk base called leche that you could add fruits and vegetables to, it looked similar to a milkshake. They had coffee, tea and water as well. I ordered a Tres Quesos Torta con aguacate y tomate, a three cheese sandwich with avocado and tomato. It was delicious!

After breakfast we hiked up to the palapa on a trail behind town. A few of the girls were feeling hung-over from last night's festivities so this morning was more relaxing than our normal pace. We spent an hour doing yoga at the palapa, we worked on a back strengthening routine and sun salutations.
Once yoga was done we had some free time before lunch. We walked slowly down the trail from the palapa and took pictures of the local flowers, plants, epiphytes on the wires, donkeys, dogs, chickens, roosters, colorful houses, the colorful cemetery and local crafts.

We returned to Esprit for lunch about 12:30 p.m. Today we had pasta salad, watermelon water, bagels with peanut butter and cookies. We were given the option of what section of river to run, either the class III-IV Pescados section of the Antigua or the class II-III Antigua section of the Antigua. Marlo and Dawn decided to do the Pescados with Anna. Donna, me, Rena and Mary Frances opted to do the Antigua. Donna and I weren't feeling too well, Rena didn't want to do class IV and Mary Frances was hung-over. Emily, Karen and Joanne were all sick in the stomach and Salli hurt her shoulder so they stayed back at the hotel. Once the decision was made we had a little more time free before our river run.
We returned to La Villa and journaled, checked email, packed our gear for the river and got changed. We left for the Antigua at 2:30 p.m. and both Mil and Laura were coming with us. Cailyn went up river with Anna's group to take pictures.

We ran a short stretch of the river from Jalcomulco to Apazapan, I was glad because I was having a really off day in my kayak. I was exhausted but my hips also felt very stiff in my boat. The day was very overcast, drizzly and cold. You could see that everyone was feeling very tired and not quite at home on the water, there were alot of shaky kayaks today. Both Rena and I had a swim, I was mad at myself but had to just let it go. We got off the river about 4:30 p.m. and headed back to La Villa.

Back at the hotel we checked our emails and sat around talking until 6 p.m. Anna, Mil and Laura came down to the hotel with a snack of guacamole and chips and plenty of water. Tonight we were having out temazcal and it was very important that we drink plenty of water. A temazcal is a type of sweat lodge used by the locals along with a ceremony thought the cleanse the body and mind.
Abríl came to La Villa and took us to her house where her temazcal was. She was going to be our water pourer for the ceremony. A water pourer leads the ceremony in a temazcal and controls the heat and intensity of the ritual. Abríl took a few minutes and explained the history and nature of the ritual we were about to undergo with us, she then smudged us with copal as a type of spiritual cleansing before we entered the temazcal.
The temazcal is traditionally a dome shaped structure made of mud and other local natural materials. Once inside participants sit in a circle facing the hearth in the middle of the structure. The water pourer enters last and the temezcal is sealed from the outside sealing out light and sealing in heat. An assistant outside brings in heated volcanic rocks to put into the fire when called by the water pourer. The thought process behind the temazcal is that it represents the womb of mother earth where we can go to sweat out the bad feelings, negativity etc and be re-born again whole and healthy in mind, body and spirit. The water pourer leads participants through several "doors", some ask you to express a feeling, a goal, some are songs, prayers and chants. Once a "door" is completed the temazcal is opened and more rocks are added to the fire. The typical temazcal has atleast four doors to complete. It is a very hot, emotional and personal experience.

Once our ceremony was complete Abríl had the temazcal opened where we exited one by one and rinse off under an ice cold shower outside and got changed. She had some homemade lemon-grass tea for us as well. We then headed to La Pizzeria for dinner. Gabby and Mario made us pepperoni and hawaiian pizza, water and a caesar salad. While we ate Anna had Mario tell us a few local legends regarding naguals, a person who can shape-shift into an animal, many local people believe in naguals and may be able to point out a person in the village who is rumored to have the power. He also told us about a malevolent fish-boy god of the Rio Antigua who is rumored to have caused some drownings of rafters on the river. It was interesting listening to his stories. After dinner we had pfeterols for dessert.
We then returned to La Villa for the night where we checked our emails, journaled and went to bed very early because we had a long and hard day ahead of us. I've found that I've gotten the most sound sleep in Jalcomulco after the temazcal.

Things Learned on Day 6:

 1. Aguacate is avocado in Spanish

 2. Palapa :

 3. Epiphyte:

 4. Temazcal:

 5. Waterpourer: A water pourer leads the ceremony in a temazcal and controls the heat and intensity of the ritual.

 6. Copal :

 7. Nagual :
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