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Silver, posters and paintings in D.F.

12 Dec

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I said goodbye to Santi, an Argentinian guy I had met in Los Angeles in October.

He was also in Mexico City during those days and we decided to meet up for a walk through the historic center and have lunch together. We went to an apparently popular salad and juices place in the middle of the historic center, close to the Mexican Chinatown.

It is a really little place from the early 80’s where hurried businessman and few tourists delight daily the big variety of salads and fresh fruit juices. I ordered a Caesar salad and a giant orange and carrot juice.

If you are wondering around in that area, just pop by this place called “Ensaladas Alvita” situated in Calle Independencia 8.

We spent few hours together and then I headed to one of the most popular Mexican museums, the Franz Mayer, housed in an amazing building which was formerly an hospital and situated just few steps from the majestic art deco masterpiece “Bellas Artes“.

This great museum hosts permanently the largest collection of decorative arts of Mexico, where you can enjoy pieces of furniture of different styles and materials from XVI Century from all over the world.

I liked it a lot, especially its Chinese porcelain and furniture. And a star-shaped silver mirror whose origins were unclear: there was a caption indicating it came from Spain or Southern Italy.

I enjoyed getting lost among those old furniture, but I most proud myself when I noticed, in the “Italian painting section”, two popular Neapolitan baroque paintings from 1600: Aniello Falcone with his”Battle” and Luca Giordano‘s “Lucrecia’s suicide”.

Franz Meyer museum also hosts regularly important temporary exhibitions of drawings and photography.

From December 7th 2012 to February 17th 2013 it was time for “Legado en plata” – Silver Legacy, exhibition of a great artist from United States, William Spratling.

At the entrance of his space inside the museum there was a white panel with a silver-gray writing :

“the true color of silver is white, the same color as the extreme heat and the extreme cold.
is also the same color as the first food received by a man and is the color of the light. without malleability is an invitation to work it. Lends itself to the formation of objects in three-dimensional drawings and it is very attractive to see objects that through the use of the hands become precious materials”

Spratling is mostly known as a great silver designer, but he was also an adventurer, architect and art collector.

When someone used to ask him how could he make it all so well, he just replied that he simply striven to find the best way to earn a living.

And I agree that the best way to earn a living is doing what we like most. Doing something that passionate us, so to make us able to transfer our enthusiasm to other people and gather sincere appreciation.

I have something in common with William Spratling. He went to Mexico for the first time in 1926 and fell in love immediately. He came back soon for the second time with the excuse to write a book which he actually wrote afterwards, called “Little Mexico” and ended up teaching a course in architecture at UNAM, the University of Mexico City.

I wish I also had in common with him his talent in manufacturing silver, and to have had the chance like him to meet, collaborate and become friends with tho of the art icons in Mexico: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

In 1929 he moved to Taxco, a small town in the state of Guerrero, about 150 km from Mexico city, already popular for silver mining and crafting.

He learned the old silver tradition that influenced his creations from that moment onwards.

Spratling during his art career did not only designed jewelry but also home furniture in different materials, mostly wood.

I personally loved some of its production exposed: an ebony and leather chair with hearts and also a flower bowl with a monkeys shape, in fact called “changos”, in Mexican Spanish, monkeys.

Together with the beautiful silver collection of cutlery, necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets there were mirrors, wood furniture and rugs as well as a a wide collection of creations in jade, gold, ivory, silver and tortoiseshell.

Spratling soon became the silver designer for illustrious people like Marilyn Monroe who used to go on purpose to Taxco just to buy his unique creations, as well as politicians, businessmen and art collectors.

I liked to read about his love for Mexico and how that visit to Mexico changed his life somehow. He spent most of his life in this beautiful country, in his mountain house in Taxco. And honestly, I just can’t blame him. If Mexico engages you with its energy, it is quite hard to escape from it.

Nevertheless, he kept traveling quite a lot to his native United States, and his big, worn out North American passport is actually shown in one of the displays at the Franz Mayer museum.
Spratling helped to improve the worldwide promotion of Taxco, Mexico as a prestigious silver production destination.

In the stunning Franz Mayer museum cloister, that houses a library with more than 14000 volumes, there was from 30th October 2012 to 29th January 2013, an important graphic design exhibition: BICM, Bienal Internacional del cartel en Mexico (The Mexican International Poster Biennal).

Its first edition was in 1990 and it is now considered one of the most representative of its type in the world; 338 posters coming from 43 different countries were selected to compete for the 12th BICM exhibition.

The posters were amazing, divided into different themes such as culture, political and social issues, commercial advertising of events, products and services; there was also a section for young people below 27 years with the theme “Towards a Green Economy, finding solutions to the climate”

Mexico CIty has more museums than any other city of the world. And this one was great.

I was able to see at the same time italian baroque paintings from 1600, contemporary posters of cool young artists, fine cutlery and chinese porcelain from one of the greatest silver designers, all together in one museum. As usually happens in Mexico, I lived so many different experiences and contrasts in one.

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Fear and Love. D.F. again

10 Dec

Sometimes we fall in love at first sight, others it takes time to appreciate something or somebody; some other times we see somebody and we just disregard it, to discover few hours later that we like it instead.
That is what happened to me with Mexico City. It has worldwide a bad reputation, that I am sure it will not last long anymore, but it is true that it is known for being polluted, trafficated, corrupted and even ugly. A scary city where walking alone can be often a problem and not recommendable.
I feel so lucky to be here now writing about this amazing city; it enchanted me and that is probably why I am still here after 40 days instead of couple of weeks, among the not so many young foreigners to have decided to discover a little bit more the Mexican capital.
I have been here few days last month before to start my adventurous trip through the country, passing by Puebla, Oaxaca, Mazunte, Puerto Escondido, San Cristobal de las casas, Palenque, Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres.
I enjoyed the tour so much and every day I was kind of falling more and more in love with the culture and the places I was seeing.
I think that Mexico has it all: a megalopolis offering all kind of leisure every big city in the globe offers, stunning white sand beaches with turquoise Caribbean seas, waved oceans, mountains, hills, unique waterfalls; crazy nightlife, music, art and literature; innumerable arqueological sites, thousand years of history and civilization. Yummy food and exquisite drinks.
And this is why I felt the need to go back to Mexico City and have a break from the continuous movings and changes. I needed some rest; some home feeling and I knew for sure that I would have found it here.
Of course I came back to my favorite place ever in Colonia Condesa at the Stayinn Barefoot hostel. I found it even more beautiful than when I left it about a month ago, this time decorated with a lovely Christmas tree with multicolored figures of the holy crèche replacing the skulls and Day of death adornment.
Plus, it has now opened a cozy little bistro where also people not accommodated at the hostel can eat. And there is a new entry: Carlos, an anti-Mexican prototype – 1.92 tall guy who you would bet that comes from Bergen or Goteborg, who would cook exquisite food inspired from the different countries he has lived in as a chef.
Furthermore, just beside the bistro inside the hostel they are opening a “mezcaleria”, or canteen, and the roof terrace is going to be soon a hangout place with a cool bar, all opened to the public.
If before I was loving this place, now I seriously find it unique and a must see place where to stay when in Mexico City.
It is still a hostel, with an excellent location and service but of course limited facilities not being a proper hotel. But I wish you all would come here once. There are spacious dorms with 6 comfortable beds and stylish, simple and shared bathrooms, but there are also private bedrooms for those who might be skeptical towards sharing.
I was welcomed again from the pretty smile of the two guys at the reception: Delphine and Enrique, it was nice to see them again and tell them all sort of stories lived during this month travelling and sharing with them my increased love for Mexico.
I visited marvelous places and met gorgeous people, but DF was calling, and I could not resist taking the first flight from Cancun and coming back.
Even if there was a “colder” weather here, I still wanted to move from a beach paradise to this crazy busy city.
It is like with people. You might meet and like different ones, but normally there is one who deserves a place in your heart, no matter if it was just an adventure, that feeling exist, and you have to follow the instinct.
Shame for those who live not expressing themselves for fear or for thinking not to be able to love or deserve to be loved. It makes me think now of a beautiful song from Morcheeba – ” Fear and Love: Fear can stop you loving, love can stop your fear”.
If I would have continued to be fearful towards DF I wouldn’t have loved it the way I do now, and since I love it, I am enjoying it with no fear. It is still risky but worth it.
I am not convinced that the way I am is the best one, I am a big romantic and an endless dreamer, and if I like something or somebody I will not hide it.
So, Even though I had “met ” DF at the beginning of my Mexican trip, I had been faithful to her somehow in the heart and although the other places were amazing, none of them had really given me that little fluttery feeling in the stomach.
So, referring to cities, DF made me want to return, and like a Gotan Project song says: “vuelvo al sur como se vuelve siempre al amor” and here I am, back and happy.
I found the city even more beautiful, I had left it one month ago in a rush because I was excited to see new places but also because it was rainy and cold. Luckily I found a warm December here, with an average temperature of 20 degrees. Awesome.
This time I felt much more confident walking on my own, I remember my first night here when I was inexplicably frightened even to be smoking alone outside a building door.
With this I don’t want to say that it is the safest city in the world, but it is like major big cities with good and bad aspects, where it is true that you can hear story somebody who has been robbed or assaulted, which is horrific. But I have been walking alone even at night, always watching out and careful, but in the end it is definitely not that scary.
I have lived many years in Barcelona and I have never seen more bags snatching than there, even more than the so much maligned city of Naples, my hometown. While travelling, when I say to the people that I come from Naples there’s few one who don’t reply: “really? I heard it is very rough over there! ”
Come on, yes, it has bad reputation because it is not that unusual to be robbed there but that not happen everywhere, there are certain areas to avoid, a little common sense and codes to be respected; but if you never try you will never know that it is one of the most beautiful cities with a heartbreaking views on the sea from nearly wherever in the city.
We have to give chances to the places and to the people, as well as to the movies for example.
Has it ever happen to go to the cinema to watch a movie everybody told you not to or vice versa, but once you go out from the hall you find it just the opposite of how the others has described it?
It worth’s a try in this life, it worth to make some effort sometimes. It worth to live it with no fear, you might not regret about it.
Sometimes can happen that you change your mind. That for example you are in a bad mood and watch a movie finding it ugly. Then after few years you see it again with the lovely company of a friend or partner and you find it amazing, like it was another movie.
It happened many times to me.
And I am sure that it happens when we visit places. We might love a place more than the usual because we found an amazing sun shining instead of a cloudy grey sky. We might have fun at a party even if the venue is crap, but you talk with somebody who makes your night more pleasant.
It is the case of what happened on my birthday in Patzcuaro, I had an amazing fun time in this little hidden corner of the earth and had more fun than the one I had in the fanciest club in New York few weeks before.
Most of us have probably travelled a lot, seen many things; most of us live in beautiful countries, our eyes and our heart is used to beauty, but we keep looking for genuine, real things, places and people who have a soul and emotion us. And we find a compatible soul only rarely. That is why we should catch it when it happens, and always listen to the heart.
I am probably turning too romantic now and as always lengthy. So I would like to go back to my love for Mexico City especially of my favorite areas, Colonia Roma and Colonia Condesa.
This morning I prepared a nice playlist on my iPhone, I walked on Juan Escutia, then Mazatlan, turned on Michoacán where I could see appealing bars and restaurants that made me want to stop to any of them.
But this time I was not just wandering around, but actually looking for a specific place that had been recommended me by Carla, one of the five young guys who run the Stayinn Barefoot Hostel.
I had asked her a local tip on a cozy cafe where to chill, have some drink or food, and she suggested a place that through its description sounded like similar to my favorite place in Puerto Escondido, Casa Babylon.
But this one in Mexico City was named “El pendulo” defined as a cafebreria, a mixed word between cafeteria and libreria, bookshop in Spanish.
Thousands of books spread on shelves and counters on two levels, with homey and comfy armchairs and smiley “meseros”, waiters in Spanish, welcoming you and giving you great service.
The menu is wise: has a vegetarian and light option, with vegetable crepes with cheese and tamarind sauce. Then soups, salads, sandwiches, gyros, strawberries Shiva lassies, espresso cafes and juices.
The menu offer pasta, with a “lassagna” in the list, which was not really appealing just for the fact that it was misspelled. Come on chef, even if you are not Italian you might have noticed the error! For lunch there is a 140 pesos (about 10 us dollars) daily fix menu with 3 different options to be chosen, a fresh water of the day and a cafe. Good deal.
I had just delighted a breakfast at the hostel so I only ordered a cafe and a delicious “narahoria” juice, a mix of orange (nara- nja) and carrot (zana-horia) juice. Fresh and savory.
I loved that cool place, I relaxed and enjoyed it, I wrote few lines on my EDF orange notebook, given me as a gift on my last day working at the Olympics, and I really care for it.
After “El Pendulo” I walked few meters to reach a place specialized in filled baked potatoes.
You might not all know that it is among my favorite meals, and I really wanted to try it. I went to a little bistro called “Papa rellena” just off Nuevo Leon, and ordered a potato filled with Gouda cheese and beef.
The filling was really tasty. Such a shame that the potato was too hard and not really good. I prefer it when it is so soft that you can eat it with a teaspoon.
Nuevo Leon is a street full of fancy bars, bakeries and restaurants, and accidentally came across Bonito, a place I had been for a nice dinner last month; I took a look at it, had a nice memory but I proceeded the walk.
I spotted a trendy restaurant called “la Capital”, I was captivated by its design and good ambience.
I might have to go and verify the reliability of my first nice feeling on it.
While walking Parque Espana I saw a funny vintage car parked outside a fancy boutique hotel called Condesa DF. I walked in and saw a nice restaurant in a whitey patio with warm colors; I also visited the sushi bar situated on the roof terrace decorated with green and white modern furniture and offering the guests nice views.
Apparently on Sundays there is a dj playing until late.
I left the hotel and continued my walk.
I stopped in the front of a nice French bakery called La Balance with succulent products displayed, just to take a look at the route and look for Colima, a street I had walked last time and I had liked it a lot. It was just few minutes from there, I saw one of the popular men who polish shoes in the street corner, and it was nice to notice that he was barefoot and was cleaning his own shoes.
I walked a big part of Colima Street, finding on the pavement a lovely graffiti “I love Mex”. I took a very cool picture with my red all-star matching the red heart. Colima has trendy clothing, design and antique shops and restaurants, and actually I stopped by an Asiatic restaurant called Omiya, mainly Japanese and fusion food. It had really high ceilings decorated in a tangible Asiatic style. I might want to go there as well before to leave.
Another spot I wanted to see in Colonia Roma was a gallery called Border: I had read nice things about it so while getting to Zacatecas street I came across another familiar place: Belmondo, a lovely sophisticated cafeteria and restaurant I had been last month, when I enjoyed a corn cake and a superior cafe. I could not avoid stopping again.
It was disappointing to figure out that Border had no exhibition at the moment and that wouldn’t have any until February, but the space itself looked cool.
On the way back to the hostel I remembered that at Palacio de Hierro, a popular Mexican department store last time I had noticed a nice Spanish delicatessen. I was craving familiar tastes and I bought some Jamon Serrano and provolone cheese. Spain and Italy together better than ever, also among my favorite food combinations.
And here I am, exhausted, on the colorful stylish sofas at the hostel, surrounded by vinyl, a small guitar and a vintage LP player. Delphine is reading a book, speaking with people and whenever she laughs I love it, it is so hilarious and contagious: it makes me laugh even if I don’t know why she does. Enrique just arrived to swap the shift with Delphine, they are now laughing together for some funny reason. They are lovely!

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30 steps to the playa (del carmen)

5 Dec

30th November 2012

I left Martina, Nathan and Steven in Tulum and took a collectivo to Playa del Carmen, popular destination for Italian tourists in Mexico.

I had heard of many friends going there for its marvelous beaches and vibrant nightlife but I had always been quite reluctant in visiting it since I imagined it as with too tall building with fake palms and flashy lights.

It is actually a much exploited place with few ugly tall buildings and souvenir shops with neon signs. But also nice and cozy restaurants, shops and corners. Not too long ago it was a fishermen’s town and the less exploited version of its nearby town Cancun, 60 km away.

What I most liked of Playa del Carmen was the fact that everything was pretty close to everything and it was easy to walk to the beach as well as to the main road full of bars and shops, while for example in Tulum everything is spread out and you need a taxi to get from the beach to the town, which doesn’t really make me feel on holidays

I love to walk to the main places wherever I am, it is the only way to see peculiar details of the places you walk and observe.
Martina, the girl I had met in Tulum had recommended me a nice and new hostel in Playa del
Carmen: Quinta Playa.

Impossible to be better located: between the “Avenida quinta” – main street- and the beach.
At the hostel I was welcomed by a friendly guy called Julio who made me feel at home immediately.
Quinta Playa is colorful, bright and new: it has amazing showers and comfortable beds, which were all I needed after the bad experience in Tulum.
There is also a very well equipped kitchen where you can keep your food and cook whenever you want.

As a special request of my stomach, receiving street and away from home food all the time, I decided I would take advantage of that great facilities to try to cook and eat healthier when in Playa del Carmen.

I first went to drop my clothes at a close-by laundry and then to a great supermarket, Walmart, for vegetables and fruits.

I spent probably more than an hour there walking through the huge ‘pasillos’ full of whatever you desire to buy. It might sound freaky but I absolutely enjoy wandering in supermarkets whenever I am.

I love to see new products and realize that most of them exist all over the world, like nesquik, nutella and Special k.
Julio organized first some beers at the hostel and then a night out to a cool mezcaleria called Mezcalinna, with some of his friends and other guests. It was a quite peculiar bar with many funny writings on the walls.

While smoking a cigarette outside the bar I met two lovely guys: Tim from Australia and Ab, a banker from London who was taking advantage to travel while changing job. They were staying at Quinta playa as well.

Among the guests there was also funny guy from Tijuana, Omar, we had quite a lot of fun.

I tried a mescal with nuts, another with almonds and then I decided to continue drinking just a paloma, one of my (new) favorite drinks made of tequila, sprite and lemon. Fresh and tasting.
I also met a sweet Argentinean girl called Lucia, from Neuquén, a little new town in Patagonia where I went few times as it is hometown of my ex boyfriend. It was quite awkward for her to speak with an Italian girl who knew perfectly about her usually unknown hometown.

She had just arrived to Playa del Carmen to find a job and eventually settle down. I like to listen to people stories.
From the hostel you only need to walk about 30 steps to get to the white sand beach full of restaurants and mariachis entertaining its guests. Me and Lucia spent few hours there. You can rent ” camastros”, Mexican word for sun beds, and lay on the beach all day long or you can do different sports such a windsurf and kite surf.
We went for a drink at Mamita’s, a famous fancy lounge bar on the beach with electronic music and good ambiance. I loved it.
I don’t know what made me get sick again, but unfortunately I caught the third food poisoning of my trip on that day, and I had to cancel a dinner out with Tim and Ab who were also leaving the day after to Puerto Escondido.
It was another night to forget but I still enjoyed a lot this place, and I wished I could get back for one of the most important electronic music festivals in early January.
It was time to leave playa; I was missing the city life and took a flight to D.F.

Welcome to the jungle. Palenque

1 Dec

29th November 2012

As for the last night in San Cristobal we went to our favourite restaurant for dinner and went to buy tickets to Palenque for the day after at 7.30 am. 


We would have all gone to bed early, but the guys decided to go for few beers. 
I put my alarm at 6 am, but when I woke up I found out that none of my travels mate was there. I had no idea where they were, but at 8 am, when we were supposed to be already on the bus to Palenque, I started to get worried. 
The hostel owner was also worried as he had heard of a fight with  locals so he called the police and a hospital, but no report of four young foreigners arrested or injured was recorded. Thank God. They all finally arrived around 11 am; I’d better not specify their shapes and the reasons of their no show. 
The good thing is that at least we were able to take the bus to Palenque at 12.30 for a five hours ride during wind the wind streets typical of  that area. We stop for a break on the road, I bought some water and a delicious corn on the cob, my favourite snack lately. The journey was much shorter than others but it was probably the worst one because of the bad route. Finally we arrived at Palenque town and took a taxi to reach El Panchan: a magical place situated on the edge of the Palenque Ruins National Park, literally in the middle of the jungle, very wild but very popular destination for backpackers. 


As usual we had not booked any accommodation but we wandered around asking availability in few cabanas, and asked also to restaurant and bars.  I love to leave it as an adventure itself also the research for a bed where to sleep, but it was very late, humid and I was so tired. That night I remember to feel really tired and needing home, but luckily it only lasted for few hours. We took look at a proper accommodation on the top of a tree but it was overbooked. El Panchan is a unique place, they usually do hippy festivals there, is situated in the middle of nature, with no roads, just few small wooden bridges to cross from a piece of land to another. 
Our tiny wooden cabana was quite wild but at least you could feel really far away from modernity  even more than how I had felt in Mazunte. There were no windows, only a mosquito rack, which was pleasant somehow because it was like sleeping  outdoors, both for the fresh air coming in and the slightly thunderous noise of birds, crickets and some other animal’s call. We had dinner at a place called Don Mucho,  with a surprising half Mexican half Italian menu. In the desserts menu there was an even more surprising option: bread with nutella that of course I ordered. One of the little things you appreciate more when abroad cause they make you feel closer to the roots, which in the end is not bad.  After dinner we assisted to a nice live band playing cumbia, a genre of music that I started to appreciate in this trip.  They even played one of my  trip soundtrack from a popular Mexican singer called Lila Downs “cumbia del mole” which reminded me of the first time I listened to it on the beach of Mazunte. The concert was followed by an amazing fire-poi show accompanied by drums. Amazing night, amazing farewell night for my travel companions and me, we sipped few mojitos and went to sleep. I had enjoyed the animals calls few hours before, but when I tried to sleep I found it impossible with that sound even if enjoying that real feeling of being in a jungle. 


The morning after we all woke up early to go to one of the most popular Mayan ruins: Palenque, the capital city of a powerful dynasty that ruled most of the areas now called Chiapas and Tabasco. 
As in other Maya areas, back in the day there was a vigorous development in religion and civil architecture and sculpture: It was impressive, huge and emotional. On one of the temples there was a girl practicing yoga, I have that picture in my mind of that girl practising in such a mystic place. Must have been amazing. 
We visited the arqueological site’s interesting museum where to see most of the object that were found in the area. It was worth to see it, and I would recommend it to you all. Afterwards we took a collectivo to get to the town and after a quick lunch we headed to the popular waterfalls of Chiapas, called Agua Azul, which means “blue waters” in Spanish. We walked up to the top of the waterfall for about 30 minutes in order to admire the waterfalls from different point of views. They were actually amazing, when you stop to gaze at them you feel so alive but also powerless towards nature. It is incredible! 
We left that amazing place cause it was time to leave Chiapas and go to our next destinations, which were all different among each other. Actually, I had tickets for a 900 kilometres night bus to reach Tulum; Jonas would go to Campeche and the two Aussies would head to Guatemala instead. We all took different routes but I am sure we would have missed each other a lot. We had spent more than a week together 24 hours a day, living and sharing  unforgettable adventures. But the show must go on, travels are made of this: meetings and leavings, and somehow I was also happy to be on my own again for a while. I hugged them all at the bus terminal and promised we would have met again one day.

No matter what, it is impossible to describe how close you feel to nice persons during a trip. You meet random people and cross their lives for a while sharing funny memories and experience you would ever forget in life.

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Sacred and Profane in San Juan Chamula

30 Nov

The ride from Oventic to San Juan Chamula was quite bizarre. There was no taxi coming up there and we found a guy who offered to give us a ride for free but that afterwards pretended to be paid like a taxi. He even got quite aggressive and I am glad I was with three macho men, which unfortunately didn’t really understood what he was saying in his thick Spanish. It was probably the first time I felt a little bit nervous and uncomfortable in that area.
We arrived to this peculiar small town inhabited by indigenous Tzotzil Maya people. We walked to the church crossing a street full of handcrafts shops, especially blankets and clothing; I bought a lovely chiapaneca belt with brown leather and colored textile, and as I was a little bit hungry I had and a corn on the cob at one of the many vendors of this popular product.
The entrance of the white church was beautiful, a big antique wooden door with blue and green decorations all around a wide arch.
A seven years old kid charged us a 20 pesos admission while he was doing his homework. His book was nearly bigger than himself.
We already knew this town was more strict than usual towards photographers.
A man outside warned us not to take any pictures otherwise we would be fined with 8000 pesos and 72 hours in jail.
San Juan Chamula belongs to a different type of Catholic called “Word of God” Catholics. These would shun the “traditionalist” Catholic practice mixed with indigenous rituals and beliefs, a perfect kind of religious syncretism.
Inside the church there are hundreds of Saints statues with the peculiar detail of having a mirror hanged on their neck as a pagan symbol to deflect devil.
There are no chairs nor benches, the ground is covered by pine needles, straw and thousand of colorful candles; people lay in front of their favorite saint surrounded by eggs and soda bottles, apparently because it would help to burp and get rid of the bad energies, as per a Mayan tradition.
Most of the people who come to this church come here to ask to be cured themselves or ask for some beloved to be cured, singing incomprehensible archaic tzotzil chants. Sometimes you can see some Curanderos, a kind of shamans that are supposed to help curing sacrificing even chickens.
I loved this place because I had never seen something similar, the atmosphere was unique, and you can’t miss a visit there when in Chiapas.

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Scent of tradition and resistance. The Zapatistas

29 Nov

A quiet afternoon of the past 27th November we decided to follow our politically active mate, Kevin, at his Spanish school where we could learn some more things about “Zapatismo” movement through a documentary.
I am not a big fan of politics, but during my stay in Chiapas I have to admit I got quite curious about it. I met few people who actually travelled to Chiapas just to study its indigenous communities and support their activities.
Around the end of the 70s, representatives from different Mexican indigenous groups such as Tzeltal, Tzotzil created the Indian Congress with the goal of uniting the indigenous peoples politically. Activism and resentment continued to the 1990s.
This small guerrilla band led by a man called Subcomandante Marcos called the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional, EZLN), came to the world’s attention when on January 1, 1994, the day the NAFTA, (North American free trade agreement) went into effect, they occupied the San Cristobal city hall and proclaimed their self revolting to the world.
We watched the documentary and we shared our opinion afterwards in a beautiful terrace with stunning views on the town. Two large wooden benches connected to a central rectangular table, which would be just perfect for a ginger tea. But we head to the hostel instead.
The following morning we woke up relatively early with the aim to get to Oventic, a place popular for hosting a big Zapatista community.
We took a taxi from the main market; fifty minutes’ drive through the foggy and wind mountains around San Cristobal.
The unfriendly taxi driver left us in front of a half black half red gate with on its right a cartel saying:” halt, drivers must wait for a responsible to open the gate, those who not respect it will be punished for 24 hours. No matter who”.
of course we stopped, we were aware that this people is not the most welcoming and friendly, so we waited until two short men with balaclavas came to ask who we were and why we were there. These people want to be unrecognizable to the strangers this is why they cover their faces; we told them we came from abroad and sincerely told them the reason for the visit: we were curious and wanted to learn more about their reality so far from our Italian, Australian and German one.
They asked for our names and few more details, writing it on a quite damaged paper with hands proved by some manual work, I noticed black nails. I wondered if they had just been working on the soil.
While they looked extremely focused on taking our names, we heard a persisting horn coming from a “tortillero”‘, a guy onboard an old motorcycle selling tortillas in the area. An old lady with the face covered came out and bought some.
The process taking our name took quite a long time, but we were not in a rush, if it was not for the unpleasant cold we would have been even more patient.
I took a look at the cartels outside the gate and one was saying: “you are in a Zapatista area; we are in an open rebellion. Here the people rules and the government obeys” and another one saying “everything for everybody, nothing for us”. Explicit grudge.
We had to wait out there about 20 minutes, until one of the two guys came to open the locked gate and took us to an old lady house. She didn’t look so unfriendly but she was of few words and before taking us around she warned us not to take picture to the people as we already know. These indigenous think that taking a picture to them might steal their soul. But it won’t be difficult to find some of them asking for few pesos in exchange for a photo. Would people sell their soul just for necessity? I am sure most of them wouldn’t.
To any of the questions I asked, the lady would reply: I don’t know.
I was expecting this kind of attitude; these people want to live in their reality and don’t spread out too much their tradition. Mostly here in Oventic, but in general in all Chiapas, people is very protective of their culture, and regardless the huge rest of the world advanced modernity, here you can smell the scent of their tradition and their devotion to culture. By any means, with a resistance attitude of people who are not going to surrender easily to what goes against their beliefs. This was eventually the part I most appreciated of them.
We walked through the beautiful and colorful murals and I surprisingly bumped into a big green tarpaulin covering old stuff. The bizarre thing is that it was from a brand I know very well since it is a popular Italian leather goods company based in my hometown and whose owners are friends of mine: Carpisa. I wondered how it ended up there.
We stopped at the few handcraft shops that had opened just for us, and we bought something in sign of gratitude for letting us have a look around their places. This town is not how you would imagine a town; there is no paved road, few people around, an old school with some students playing and many cattle wandering around.
Looks like most of these communities are based on autarchic systems, being self-sufficient and never giving up their traditional ways of food, clothing and tools gathering and making. Some of them have no jobs and make no salaries though.
We stopped at a little shop who would also serve food. On the shelves many Zapatista souvenirs, cd, posters and books. On its beside there were Zapatista movement photos hanged on the walls and few wooden tables with colorful tablecloths. There was a lovely little girl outside playing with a tuna can with soap inside, playing bubbles. It was so sweet to see how kids can still play and have fun with no means. I tried to do some bubbles but I didn’t succeed, there must have been a trick I was not aware of.
That cute little girl reminded me so much of my little niece, both for her lively character and for her aspect. Her mother worked at that kind of convenient store and would keep her daughter there while working. She drayed on my notebook her house and wrote her name since I had misspelled it.
I started to speak to her by name: Xalani, she gave me such an unexpected and naughty answers; for example when I asked her if she had any special “friend” at school, she replied she had actually four boyfriends, and that even though she liked all of them she couldn’t remember all of their names. She also told me secretly she liked one of my travels mates, pointing out the beautiful Bieber (Justin), saying she liked him because he was the “whitest “.
I am sure it was not for discrimination against the darker ones, but you all may know that we always like what we find unusual. In Italy we say; “l erba del vicino e sempre piu verde”- the grass is always greener on the other side.
In Sweden guys would ignore blonde girls more than everywhere else in the world, opposite to Latin Americans or southern Europeans, which would find blond exotic instead.
We spent a couple of hours in that kind of bistro/shop playing with the most energetic girl ever; she even played football with the guys while waiting for food. We were all astonished by this little girl intelligence and naughtiness. I even asked her if she wanted to come with me to Italy and she surprisingly replied “no grazie” in Italian, (where did she learn it?) because she had family and school here. The best answer.
However reluctantly, we left Oventic directed towards San Juan Chomula, a little town half way towards San Cristobal. We did not get so much information about these people, but at least we could see a little bit of their ordinary day, and spent few unforgettable hours in company of members of their community.

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Crocodiles and Mother Nature

27 Nov

On our third day in Chiapas we took 3 different means of transport to get to Chiapa de Corzo: a little town 40 minutes away from San Cristobal de las Casas and quite close to the state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez.

The town is even renowed for being a “Pueblo Magico“, but we did not have the time to visit it properly.

I liked very much its  main square, or Zocalo, where at its center there is a beautiful fountain in Moorish style made of brick in the form of a diamond, called  La Pila,

We took a boat and  enjoyed two hours and 13 km ride on the Grijalva river narrow canyon passages through the popular “Canon del Sumidero”.

It was quite cold and windy, but we were all fascinated by its vertical walls of about 1000 metres height.

We saw beautiful nature, but I loved to see a crocodile for the first time. I actually saw two, they were chilling on the rocks.

Some of the streams form waterfalls on the canyon’s sides, and the most popular was one with a Christmas tree shape.  Can you believe how great was Mother Nature?

Food, tattoos and whatever makes you happy in Chiapas

27 Nov

On our first day in San Cristobal we had breakfast in a nice colonial place and reached the Zocalo, the main square of the town with gardens and a big Kiosk in the middle.
The historic center of San Cristobal has a Spanish colonial layout, with Baroque to Neoclassical style, beautiful buildings painted in various colours with Moorish hints.

The majestic yellow Baroque Cathedral with its red ledges and the big white building as the City Hall are the main attractions of this square.
I loved that fresh mountainous air of San Cristobal and the fact that wherever you are you will notice to be surrounded by hills.
Even if it is situated in a tropical zone, its climate is temperate and humid due to the altitude thus you need to carry some winter clothes, which I didn’t really have. I felt like when walking in February in Barcelona, when it is pretty cold there, I looked at the North European tourists walking with Havaianas and other flip-flops. nd I used to find it ridiculous.

Well, I am sure somebody has thought the same of me when walking the street with spring clothes with 7 degrees. What goes around comes around, no?
That morning we walked through the large open-air crafts market, with colourful and nice stalls mostly of textiles, amber and food and I saw many “sabrosas” – macadamia nuts vendors.
I had fun taking pictures of Dora with the ” Marcos”, little dolls representing the Zapatista activists with their typical black dresses and also a nice photo with a bunch of artisanal dolls that would be considered new little friends for her.
Paul and I noticed a tattoo shop, walked in and we both decide to have one. All happened so fast! I change my mind often but I surprise of myself that I never regret things. That’s why I love tattoos. I will always consider special regardless what could happen “tomorrow”.
I finally had a tattoo I was about to do in London few weeks before to leave, ” Fernweh “, a German noun that means, “crave for travelling, homesickness from a place you have never been”. I had always loved that word which apparently has never been properly translated with the same meaning.

Some would translate it as ” wanderlust” but that did not convince me. So I decided to keep it as the original noun.
Paul wanted to write on his arms “whatever makes you happy” but he finally had it in Spanish so to give more value to it being in Mexico. His tattoo was finally “lo que te hace feliz”. One has always to do whatever makes us happy. And I have probably chased this need all my life.
We were both happy and satisfied for our new inscriptions on the body and went back to the hostel for some rest.
At the Iguana hostel we met nice people, we first had some beers and then went for a walk and to a popular “Tacos” place. We talked about random things and even played cards, Asso. I don’t like cards but enjoyed it anyway.
We were a group of people from Italy, Australia, Germany, Holland, Canada, Usa and Israel.
That night I started to feel my cough was getting worse, and since I didn’t feel in shape I decided to stay at the hostel writing the blog and having a nice conversation with a nice Dutch guy who perfectly spoke Italian.
Of course he reminded me of my lovely other half and friend Sandrine and I imagined her to be fluent in Italian soon after the big efforts and Italian classes she is taking.
The day after we decided to move to another hostel; we had seen it just in photo when we had arrived at the bus terminal: Puerta Vieja hostel, and actually it turned to be an incredible place! We loved it immediately.

It had opened since few days, you could smell the brand new flavour everywhere, the dorms were amazing, rustic, country-style with colourful blankets.
We had a huge room for us and slept in mattresses that had never been used before. It was like being on a family trip, and I loved laying on the clean, fresh and comfortable bed and listening to Paul or Kevin playing the guitar just outside the room.
The kitchen was amazing and I was glad I could cook a little bit since I was missing it.
I cooked for two nights in row pasta for dinner for the five of us and a lovely German girl friend of the guys called Greta.

She had just been in Brazil for an interchange and was now travelling Central America. She had such a sweet smile, incredibly funny and looked really smart too.
In the morning I prepared often breakfast with my (modestly) delicious scrambled eggs.
I was happy to taking care of the guys in terms of food and I was also the official guide of the tour. But they were taking care of me so bad. I like the fact that I am independent from any human being, and I learnt to live on my own and do things despite the fact you have company or not. But I love good company, I love to forget how good I can stay alone when there’s good people to protect me and taking care of me. They were always taking care of me and never let me alone especially at night.

They started to call me Mamita thinking that it was a name for a mum but on their side they were
I felt so protected and safe at all times. It was nice to notice that if I ever stopped to see a shop or taking a picture, one of the guys was always waiting for me with a smiley face.

One day I woke up later than usual and I found the breakfast done by all of them for me with wonderful croque madames. I felt lucky! They said I deserved it J
That hostel helped our experience in Chiapas to be even more magical. It was supreme, with wide common space, a huge and functional kitchen and many bathrooms. There is about a bathroom every 2 people with great and warm showers, which is not to be given for granted in hostels.
Its majestic patio with long white arches and beautiful pictures on the wall, the big large wooden table where to have a nice breakfast while listening to music, is just few of the great aspect place where everybody can feel a home.
There is also a bar on the top of the house, it is still under construction but I can assure you that it was already beautiful like that, with stunning 360 degrees views on the town.
There is a soul at Puerta Vieja hostel; it is a beautiful project of few young entrepreneurs with the help of a great young architect called Daniela.

I wish them all, especially Dani Fernando and another lovely guy (who helped me not to freak out when none of my travel companion came back to the hostel a morning after partying) the best of luck for this project and that they will be able to fill all the 50 people capacity hostel.
Puerta vieja location is great, being situated on one of the main street called Diego de Mazariegos: full of shops, a big supermarket and a couple of minutes walk from the Zocalo.
In the back of the hostel there is a big garden where every night people would gather and sit all around a bonfire, with an external sauna made of stone and a beautiful antique door hanged on the walls increasing the magic atmosphere of the place.
At night we had a lot of fun at the hostel especially for Daniela – the architect – it was her birthday, and the guys organized a surprise party with usual bonfire, a piñata and a lot of food and drinks.

There were people from different part of the world; I enjoyed talking to a sweet and easy-going nice guy from Israel called Itamar. He had beautiful, kind of grey eyes.

There were also 2 nice hippy girls from New Zealand and a vegan Australian who were sat in circle meditating and after that all of them jumped on the fire in order to “leave the past behind”.
Meantime Justin and me prepared delicious jacket potatoes that took about 3 hours to cook. But it was worth to wait! Patience is golden !
One day, wandering through the town we found a lovely cultural center called ‘Tierradentro’ and it would become our favourite spot in San Cristobal: a large patio with autonomous “Zapatista” cooperatives in inside.

I loved the giant world map at the entrance, I probably never saw such a big one and we had fun taking pictures kissing Mexico and the Aussies indicating their so far away country.
We would go there on a daily basis, sometimes up to 3 times a day delighting its amazing coffees, salads, meat and a delicious authentic pizza with Nutella, which would be my little daily whim.
In San Cristobal there is a great food choice; many foreign residents have opened up restaurants with specially Italian and French meals.

There is an amazing French bakery on Calle Guadalupe called Oh-la-la where I strongly suggest you to go and feel like you are in a patisserie of Les Marais in Paris.

In terms of shops there is a good variety going from the basic cheap artisan things to the most sophisticated handcrafts of a beautiful shop called Eklektic.
I was very sick during the entire stay at San Cris, taking antibiotics and syrups instead of the rivers of alcohol the guys were consuming all day long. But it was special anyway.
More than once I was told by locals to drink tequila and all the pain would leave, or at least it would help to forget about it for some hours.
It is so bad but frequent while traveling getting sick, maybe for the change temperature, the sometimes cold showers in the hostels, travel stress (yes, it exist), tiredness and the long rides in buses with air conditioning and no open windows, with easy access to viruses.
In Chiapas lives a large indigenous population, made up of mostly Tzotzils and Tzeltals, the most important ethnic groups. It was bizarre to find out that the two languages are pretty different and they don’t understand each other.
We were so comfortable at the hostel that we all turned into lazy, even more for me, as I was feeling pretty sick.

There’s a nice garden inside the Casa de la Cultura de Chiapas. It is worth a walk inside with big handlooms on a side, and big colourful Mexican canvas on the other.
It is very close to San Cristobal Church, situated atop a long staircase up the hill: 300 steep stairs. About its half way there’s a sign ” no tirar basura,” do not trash bins and on its right a little hut made of recycled bottles and its tops and corks: very original.

Also, we bumped into many chickens on the stairs and a lovely about 2-year-old kid that, as soon as Paul said “hola” started to scream and cry, as you would see in a candid camera show.
The church was closed but the panoramic views of the city were amazing.
Plus, we had fun among the vintage yellow gym tools in the backyard.
As during the previous day we had been quite lazy we decided to make a double effort and walk all the way to the Guadalupe Church on the Guadalupe hills. Quite a long walk but less stairs though.
We walked by many shops during the long walk; especially a winery called Proyecto 25, then a marqesita shop where I had one filled with Nutella, a nice “casa de te” called Lum and different homemade chocolate shops.
While walking by the cathedral I met again Lena, a young German girl I had first met at Cielo rojo hostel in Oaxaca and after few days by chance at Posada del arquitecto in Mazunte. Many many km away.

Again incredible to meet randomly travellers met before.
At night we made a rendez vous with her at another favourite spot: la Vina de Bacco, a kind of tapas concept bar, where you receive some little dish whenever you buy a bottle of wine. Its owners are Italian.
We had a lot of fun, and met other people from the hostel; we enjoyed some minutes of live music from a smiley and funny Romanian traveller.
I got a bizarre proposal from an American murals artist who offered me consultancy for my blog in change of some afternoons to spend together. He said he was also an editor. He might have been useful for my blog but he was a little bit awkward, I didn’t give him my email on purpose but he gave me his. I never wrote him back. I thought: I would never meet him again. But puff…. I didn’t know that I would bump into him face to face a week later in the streets of Palenque, 6 hours bus away.

The world is little, I felt a little bit guilty but I acted as I had not seen him.

And Chiapas is a place I would strongly recommend you all to visit.

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbyes and hellos

26 Nov

 

I had just left my lovely travel mate Soo at the ADO bus station, I hugged her and I had the feeling I was again alone on the road.
This is an adventurous and beautiful feeling, makes you feel free and strong.
But at the same time it is sometimes scary and while I was thinking about it, I saw three familiar faces boarding my bus to San Cristobal de las Casas.
I had not only met them in Mexico City and shared a tequila night at the Stayinn Barefoot but I  had also bumped into them in the street on my first night in Puerto Escondido.

It was good to see Justin, Paul and Kevin again;
There was another guy with them: a tall handsome and really funny German guy who couldn’t be more German, called Jonas.

We will make fun of him during all the trip calling him Das Auto. I don’t really remember when, but some of the guys has imitated the voice of the slogan for Volkswagen.

Justin is a super sweet student of economics, he would not only win the award as better behaved kid, but also a nickname “Bieber” for his name and likeness with the popular teenager singer.

Paul is  from Melbourne and is a good friend of Justin. He has an unmistakable pigtail, sometime he makes a tender baby face pretending to look as the model child and steal the “little angel” role to Justin; but when he does that dark, mysterious look he really looks like Johnny deep. That is why we would call him Johnny.

Kevin could me nicknamed “the activist” for his great interest towards politics and zapatismo. He is the youngest, but wisest and calmest.

During the 12 hours bus ride from Puerto Escondido to San Cristobal de las Casas we talked about the fact that we were meant to travel together from that moment onwards, having met by chance already few times. And so it was.

Once arrived at destination, we went straight to Iguana hostel that had been recommended from mine and their friends as being a good hang out place.

A paradise called Mazunte

24 Nov

The taxi left us in the main corner of Mazunte, a small beach town on the Oaxaca state, on the  Mexican Pacific coast.

We had thought about  staying there just one night and then proceed towards Puerto Escondido, but we ended up staying for 6 instead. Reading below you will understand why.

All of us were so excited to have arrived in such a magic paradisiacal place: a very wild place with few people, many dogs and unfortunately thousand of mosquitos, that would be the only nightmare during the entire stay at Mazunte.
There is no way to be safe from them, they kept devouring us, especially my legs and ankles.
My travel mate Jeremy , from NYC told me that his granddad once had  told him to marry a girl who would be mostly bitten by mosquitos, probably for its evident sweet blood characteristics. I don’t know if I should consider it a good thing though.
We were all so relaxed, we spent a lot of time laying on the sand  considering ourselves so lucky   to have decided to travel together and enjoy that dream place.
We had just meet up, but we got along together well. Sometimes it’s difficult to share 24 hours a day with other people, but it all run smoothly with them.
During those days I had the chance to be on my own ( few people can resist the sun like I do ) but I enjoyed listening to Mannarino, an artist discovered through a lovely guy met in London just before to leave for this trip.
He told me it would have been a good company for my trip and it actually was. During my long bus journeys it was a great way to feel home.
It has been funny to listen to Mannarino when walking in the crowded streets of Manhattan, in the car while driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, wandering through the Colonia Roma in Mexico City, on a hamac in Mazunte and so on.
It’s amazing how music can be the soundtrack of your life, trip, loves and friendships.
During this trip I have also listened to the XX a lot, Devendra Banhart, Feist, LCD Sound system, RHCP, Jovanotti, Lykke li, Giovanni Allevi, and many others.
One day at the Posada del arquitecto’s cafeteria I listened to a song from Zoe, a Mexican rock band and I adored their song called “Sone”. (I used Shazam to detect it and I immediately bought it on iTunes, listening to it thousands times a day.)
When not on my own, I enjoyed my travel mates company and magical sunsets in Mazunte, especially an afternoon we had lovely chats drinking mojitos oaxaquenos with mescal.
One day we all walked through the jungle up to the top of the mountain and arrived to Punta Cometa for sunset time: a small mountain that juts out from the shoreline, also called “Cerro Sagrado”, in english Sacred Hill. It’s the southernmost point of the state of Oaxaca and an important stopping place for migratory birds and whales.
We enjoyed the sun getting down in the sea from there. Magical.
I loved Mazunte and its surroundings. Before the mid 20th century, this place had nearly no population, the area was isolated and not even accessible by other means than boats. It started to change when a market for sea turtle meat and eggs developed in the 70’s, and when the first curious travellers started to arrive in this beautiful place.
Nowadays it is still mostly a rural village and its architecture based on the use of natural materials only.
The first night we stayed in a two floors cabana with swing beds and basic but cool decoration at Posada del arquitecto: a place recommended by Diana, a lovely girl I had met through Andres in Cholula.
It is run by a smart and funny italian man named Guido, “the architect” ; he arrived at this magic place as a visitor in the 80’s and decided to settle down by building many of the eco-friendly cabanas made up of palm fronds, adobe, bamboo, shells stones coconut shells and wood.
Many other Italians immigrated to Mazunte in the 80’s. This is the reason why you can often listen to italian people talking at the posada.But surprisingly, there were no Italian tourists.
One of the Italians settled there opened a small take away pizza that I totally appreciated, since I was getting a little bit sick of corn tortillas and tacos: his focaccia with rosemary had nothing to envy to the ones I like eating in Campo de fiori in Rome.
An afternoon, while having a delicious fresh orange juice at the beautiful cafeteria of the posada, I met a funny guy from Brescia, in the north of Italy. He was also named Guido,  he was there on his own as well: he had decided to go to Mazunte since it was a place where his dad wanted to come before to die, and that he was actually Guido (the architect)’ s classmate. I was fascinated to hear that story; there is always a reason for our trip, sometimes might be sad and sometimes funny, but i am curious and excited to hear them all.
It was soon time to sadly say goodbye to my travel mates Martin and Jeremy, who headed  towards Mexico City.
Even if I love the beach life, I still consider myself a city animal and there were some things I was missing, most of all an Atm to withdraw some money: in Mazunte there is no place where you can pay by credit card nor a cash point; so if you need it you have to drive 30 minutes to Potchula.
I took a ride to Potchula from Olga, a lovely and smiley girl and her boyfriend Jacob, a funny swiss tall guy: a great couple that both me and Soo had previously crossed at the Barefoot Hostel in Mexico City.
A coincidence. Isn’t it bizarre that with all the places and hostels you can visit in Mexico, it was already the second time I bumped into the same person in a different place miles and miles away from each other?
Guido took us to see one of the most beautiful and virgin beaches in Mexico: Mermejita. We also met a funny guy from Alessandria, Matteo: he was living in Mazunte working as a jolly wherever he could and enjoying life.
We took beautiful pictures of the sun going down while leaving beautiful orange colors in the sky until the moon would replace it with its beautiful stars.
 We laid  on the sand taking a look at the stars until late hoping to be lucky enough and see shooting ones.
Me and Soo enjoyed the stories and explanations about constellations given by Guido. He seemed quite informed and passionate about the topic and he tried to show us bizarre images in the sky that we often couldn’t see.
It is nice how sometimes we see different things from the others, and as it happens with people, sometimes I might see special things in a person that for a another is just an ordinary one;
We returned to the posada quite late, just on time to get a shower and get rid of the sand spread wherever on the body; we joined Guido again, who invited us out for dinner at an Argentinian restaurant. A  pretty good one.
Among the nice people met in mazunte there was Andrea, a nice naval captain from Milan, who had come to Mazunte to visit a couple of friends who were opening a very beautiful posada in Mazunte called “Oceano Mar”.
I had the chance to visit the property even if it was still with works in progress.
A special thanks goes to Martino, a nice guy from Milan and one of the hotel owners; he took me up there in that stunning spot with his crazy motorcycle: i think I had never been on such a precarious mean of transport, but I enjoyed a lot speeding the likewise precarious streets of Mazunte.
The posada had stunning views on Mermejita beach, provided with  a nice pool overlooking the ocean, decorated in a stylish and refined Italian touch.
This hotel has just 5 rooms, a bar and a restaurant with a wood stove; it is situated in the middle of the jungle in a priceless peace; I was so grateful to Martino until that moment, but even more when he  prepared for me a Lavazza coffee with the typical neapolitan moka. It was one of the simple habits I have to admit I was missing a bit.
I wish Martino and his nice and friendly business partners  the best of luck for this great project.
On our last night we went with Andrea to  another beach town just beside Mazunte, called Sant’ Agustinillo.
On the way to that little town we finally had a natural coconut. We first drank its milk and then a young girl cut it for us in small pieces. While walking we saw a lovely hotel called Pan De Miel, one of the few proper hotels in the area with higher starred service and with an amazing pool on the ocean.
We had  an aperitif at a popular nice beach bar called Mexico Lindo and took many pictures ( as usual)
That night it was the first day of the popular annual international jazz festival of Mazunte.
 The owner and chef of a local italian restaurant called Cangrejo Azul prepared a delicious lasagna that we had just on the sand while enjoying the concert.
We had to leave  Mazunte, but we couldnt’ without delighting our favourite treat,  the “Chocolatin”: a delicious pastry prepared by lovely young guys who opened the first bakery shop in Mazunte, called actually “la primera”, in spanish ” the first”. No other bakery had ever opened before.
It is definitely one of those things you cannot miss in Mazunte: the smell of “pan relleno” and “chocolatines”,  wrapped in a red checked cloth and carried in a basket by beautiful and smiley girls: one of the most desired and awaited moment of the day.
A big congratulations goes to the bakers, a funny skinny mexican guy and his austrian girlfriend.
The bakery is situated beside another important spot in Mazunte, the “cosmeticos naturales de mazunte”‘, a community enterprise dedicated to making high quality make-up that is 100% environmentally friendly.
This business began about a decade ago with the sponsorship of The Body Shop and the Mexican federal government. It definitely worth a visit to enjoy the amazing natural flavors.
We enjoyed our last chocolatin at the Primera bakery while waiting for the collectivo that would take us at the bus stop to Puerto Escondido. We had to wait few of them because they were always overcrowded. Finally arrived one that looked a little bit ( just a little bit) more available. We were again afraid we wouldn’t make it, but a curly blond nice guy shouted us to go onboard anyway as he would make space for us.
It began another adventure, but would leave it on the next entry.

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