Soggy Tipi, Soapy Chicken

Trip Start Jul 05, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  , San Luis Potosí,
Monday, December 2, 2013

It's probably no secret that I was starting to get a little bored of small colonial towns and wanting to do something a little bit different, so based on some friends recommendations, took a trip out to a place called Las Pozas – part jungle, part rainforest, with a load of waterfalls and other things going on.

The place is not even covered in the Lonely Planet, so there was very little information to go on, but that was part of the appeal. Despite only being geographically about five and half hours away from where I was, without a car I had to rely on the bus routes, which because of the small size of the place took considerably longer. I’d also made it to Querataro, where I then connected to the nearest town Xilitla.

The route to Xilitla had just the 600 bends to contend with, but passed by a place called Bernal, which I had thought about stopping off at because it had the world’s second or third largest rock. Could pretty much see what I needed to see from the window of the bus, and the rest of the scenery up until reaching Xilitla was pretty breathtaking.

When I reached Xilitla, I was a little nervous because I had literally no idea of where to go, and felt a little intimidated visiting somewhere so out of the way on my own again after the attack. I did not know if it was a safe or dangerous area of Mexico to visit – I’d built up most of my confidence back, but it seemed every place I’d visited still had its tales of bad things going on. I stayed in the centre, found an internet café which didn’t help too much in finding where I needed to go, because the place didn’t actually have an address, and then went to a restaurant – a place where I first noticed the hippy aspect of the place.

A guy from Tijuana called Carlos started speaking to me in the restaurant, where I asked him a bit of information about the area and how to get to Las Pozas from Xilitla. He was really helpful, and after going outside to meet his girlfriend who must have been at least 20 years younger than him (I never ask how these relationships may have started), we all shared a bus to Las Pozas, where he knew the campsite I needed to get to, and said there was a party going on there that night.

Was lucky that I bumped into him and his daughter, sorry I mean girlfriend, as the place was down a pitch black dirt road and I would have had no idea how to get there on my own. Checked into a place called Casa Caracol, which was like a super hippy village. The place I checked into was a concrete tipi in the middle of the jungle, and all the cabins and communal area were really weirdly decorated – like Gaudi on crack.

I spoke with the owners of the hostel for a bit, who were really friendly and accommodating, but unfortunately when I arrived to the place, it was one of the hostels where everyone already seems to have a very close knit group and its very difficult to get involved, especially when everyone is speaking in Spanish – which again I have no problems with – just makes things a little more difficult. For example, I went up to the communal area where everyone was gathered, and after initially sitting on my own, the owners invited me over to meet a couple of the other guys who were all drinking beers. Politely asked if there was anyone I could buy a beer off and just got a stone cold 'NO’ and then they basically turned round and ignored me, to the point where I just went back and sat in my original spot and chilled out. Fine.

I hate sitting and doing nothing, especially when that nothing doesn’t involve any beer, so wanted to go back to resort base of gadgets – unfortunately I don’t really have any of those any more. I have a really slow 7" laptop which I’ve got as a replacement to back up pictures, write these blogs, and do a bit of travel writing and the online TEFL course which I have also just registered to do. I didn’t feel like it was the place to be bringing out a laptop as they would probably hate me even more, so went back to my tipi and did some writing before returning to the communal area later on to see if anyone was being a bit more sociable.

That night, they had a couple of clowns – no really – from Uruguay for some entertainment. The guy clown noticed that I was the odd one out who didn’t really understand what was going on, so made it his mission to rip into me. Everyone clearly thought he was funny. I was naturally a little less impressed! Bell End.

So the first evening was hardly the most successful, so had quite an early night. At this point I noticed the Tipi was full of damp, and I developed a pretty bad cough and started to feel a little ill. I was joined by an American girl who arrived late in the night who also commented on the general level of sogginess and moved the following day.

Despite feeling proper shit, I decided I still would go and visit Las Pozas in the morning. I kinda felt really faint as I was going round, and had to sit down like an old man on a couple of occasions, but apart from that the place was amazing… The place essentially was constructed as a playground for a really eccentric and rich Scottish guy called Edward James in the 1920’s, who came from an artistic background, but had clearly taken a LOT of drugs – and probably is part of the reason why hippies still proper love out this place. He had become friends with Gaudi, so you could see some of that influence, but he basically constructed thirty six surrealist buildings in amongst the jungle landscape, with a load of intertwining waterfalls. Deeeeeeeeeecent.

The place was also laid out like a maze with buildings stopping at dead end walls, and paths also sometimes leading to nowhere or doubling back on themselves, meaning that it more or less took the whole day to explore the area. Never really seen anything like it, and despite the illness was one of the most interesting and different places I’ve ever been to – especially considering the beautiful scenery surrounding it.

I still had a bit of time in the afternoon, to sit back in a hammock before then doing the walk to Xilitla and back so I could get a couple of my own beers rather than risk being shot down by a grumpy hippy again. Cooked my own dinner for the first time since the pasta and plain tomato source meal that somehow managed to destroy me a couple of weeks back, but this meal wasn’t much better as I’m pretty sure the supermarket had washed the Chicken so it literally tasted like soap. Things weren’t exactly going great!

Stayed upstairs and had my couple of beers, but literally had no energy to do anything. Spoke to a couple of German girls who said they felt sorry for me the previous night, but that was about as far as socialising went, as I ended up retreating back to the damp tipi around 9pm. Couldn’t explain why I was so low on energy and had no desire to do anything, but things were to gradually develop and get worse over the following few days…

Stay tuned for much greater tales of illness!

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