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Mystical Tulum

August 31, 2018

On Wednesday, my last day on this wonderful trip, I went into the little town of Tulum to meet a friend of a friend (one of my favorite things to do while traveling). Laura is a yoga teacher in her 30s who started visiting Tulum about a decade ago and then just chucked it all to move down there. She took jobs at the resorts in exchange for a place to live and eventually got a range in the jungle with monkeys in the yard and a studio where she can read tarot and crystals.

We met at a cafe that would be at home in Brooklyn, only it was better than any in Brooklyn, and she told me her story and about Tulum. Then she pulled out her crystals. She emptied a bag of thirty or so stones on the table and told me to pick the ones that spoke to me. I picked 5 and she placed them in order. Of the 5 stones I picked three were creativity focused and she mused that that was an area I needed to focus on. Even the stone that represented grounding was for me swirled with orange indicating I wouldn’t be grounded unless I created more. Then she pulled bout the tarot cards. The read similarly with a strong focus on needing to turn inward to do work. As I lay the cards on the table initially, she asked me to pick the one I wanted to focus on first. I picked The World featuring a woman, arms open, rising up to the sun. “You like to skip to the end, don’t you” she said. “If you do the work” she gestured to the other cards, “you get this.” I feel very understood. Laura is also a trained psychologist who uses tarot to get her clients talking. It definitely worked on me.

A little wonder about town and I headed for the collectivo, the public bus. It left me at the large  wooded gates of the resort. The guards looked shocked when I knocked on the doors. Not many of their visitors come by foot, and there were several walkie-talkie exchanges before I was cleared to come on the grounds.

As the afternoon wore on, I debated the temazcal I’d signed up for, but in the end, I figured, why not. I donned a bathing suit and headed to the igloo like structure by the beach. I was ushered in with four mexicans and a swedish woman. Hot volanic rocks were piled in the middle of the room and the door was pulled shut behind us. The shaman started to chant loudly and the swedish woman said “Nope – let me out”. I lasted longer than she did so I figured that was a start. More rocks and more chanting and I was sweating more than I ever had. Ever. But it wasn’t uncomfortable. I was worried I’d feel faint and end up in the fire, but I did’t. There are four doors that he is chanting about, four parts to the ceremony.” the translator explained. As the door opened, I said, how many parts was that thinking we were about halfway through the hour. “That was all” he replied. “You did it.” I felt so good. Especially after a glass of water.

After the temazcal I got a massage. A fish pedicure was included, so I went for it. I’ve toyed with doing them in many cities, but the sanitation as well as animal cruelty issues kept me from it. This luxury setting seemed as good a time as any to have it done. It was interesting and now I’ve done it. No need to ever do it again. The little suckers can bite. Mostly it tickles, but every once in a while, the hurt. And they eat the bits of you they want, not the really dry part I wanted them to eat away.

All in all, my final day proved one thing – I love tulum. Love it. Like LOVE IT. I have never left a vacation more relaxed and energized. I can’t wait to go back.

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