A week off the Grid

Our final week in Mexico, how exciting. A week with a lot of expectations on our behalf, but a week that was definitely something to look forward too.

To begin the week we set off, in a van at 7am in the Morning on our way to Cuatzalan. A 5-hour long van ride through Mexico, heading to what I consider an off the grid part of Mexico. Van Rides aren’t often my favorite modes of transportation, and especially long-haul ones. Fortunately enough, for me, it was the exact time that many of us in the group, me specifically, would be napping while enjoying the bus ride to university, so I had a sufficient nap for a good hour and a half, until I had woken up thinking we had just arrived at university, however that was not the case at all. We were still very much on a highway, no hills, or rural areas in sight, still Starbucks, and Oxxo’s every 3kms.

Finally after one toilet stop, eventually we arrived to a turn and into the hills we went, corner after corner, sharp bends, narrow roads, and the constant moving, I felt the need to close my eyes and fall back to sleep, as I could feel an overwhelming feeling of motion sickness, but also it gave me a flashback of what trips were like driving back to my hau kainga of Mohaka, which is halfway between Napier and Wairoa, and let me tell you, those roads feel like your on a roller-coaster going around in circles. Fortunately it wasnt long till we arrived at our first destination, our very first excursion for the trip straight away.

Our first excursion of the week, being with our New Friend Pedro, and it was to learn the traditional way of creating clothing and fabrics in the way the Indigenous People would. I’m not going to lie; the weaving process was quite difficult and took a while to get the hang of. After doing only a few rows of weaving, I began to appreciate more the reason why some of the articles of clothing’s were at the prices that they were at, doing 30 minutes of weaving, I got a sore back, a frustrated brain, and an appreciative heart. Thanks to Pedro, we were able to learn a cultural practice that has been around in Indigenous Communities for centuries.

Afterwards we hopped back into the van and headed to our accommodation for the week. A literal hotel, with all the rooms made out of bamboo, and completely situated in a forest on a hill, with rooms separated by trees and rock paths. Upon entering the room that my bus buddy and I was going to be living in for the rest of the week, it gave off tropical vibes, on the bed swans made out of towels, stairs out of bamboo, our shower floor, with all rocks, and one big rock, even our taps were out of bamboo, the doors, windows, walls, and then as decor, some traditional indigenous pictures, and decor. What a beauty, I had never been to the tropics before, but being there made it feel as though I had travelled to tropics for the week. Day One, was a great day for us to settle, we also got to learn a lot from the owner of the accommodation who gave us a presentation about the various projects that surrounded and was associated with the hotel, including the development of schools, and trying to develop projects environmentally based, community based, economically based as well.

Throughout the week we got to learn a lot from different local people about how sugar, cinnamon, coffee, and honey were made. Furthermore, we also got to visit botanical gardens, waterfalls, caves, local markets, and pyramids in the beautiful community of Cuatzalan. However the most wholesome times, were visiting local families, and going through the beautiful gardens, and get to interact with locals, and just how beautiful and happy they all seem brings such fulfillment to your soul, and the beautiful foods that they had cooked for the 7 of us that were visit were super wholesome, and the food was just so good, and most likely will never eat again because the meals were foods that were most likely to be traditional family recipes, and I was super honored to try these beautiful dishes.

Cuatzalan has been one of the most amazing and beautiful experiences that I have ever had, from the beautiful scenic, to the amazing people, to furthermore being able to put what we had learnt throughout the weeks prior into practical work, but furthermore being able to gain intimate and private insight into the lives of an Indigenous Community that lives off the grid pretty much and how they use the land and their surroundings to really live life to the fullest, and furthermore has made me appreciate life and the world we live in a lot more than I could have ever done.

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