Saturday, June 28, 2008


Have you ever been to the Esalen hot springs? Ever since moving to San Francisco, I´ve wanted to go and hang out in their famous cliffside baths overlooking the Pacific Ocean...with a Portuguese actress/model on my right and a contributing writer to "The New Yorker" on my left. Over fresh vegan fare, we´d discuss the merits of flaxseed oil, taking breaks for strenuous yoga classes and long, meditative walks along the bluffs.

Well, according to Marisa who´s spent many a fabulous weekend at Esalen, we paid a visit to our own private version right here in Mexico, which we like to call, yep, Mexalen!

When Marisa asked me if I´d like to visit another friend of hers in Mexico, I hesitated for a minute, thinking that we should spend as much time as possible basking in the splendor of Oaxaca. Her friend, Maria Theresa, who goes by Marite ("Mary Tay"), lives in a town between Mexico City and Oaxaca, called Cuernavaca, which, according to the Lonely Planet, doesn´t offer all that much in the way of Mexican culture. It´s more of an upscale resort-style town. But Marisa reeeally wanted to go, so why not? Off we went.

From the minute I met Marite, I knew I was in for an interesting couple of days. She´s the kind of woman whose cell phone is always ringing with what seemed to be invitations to various parties and special events. Not only does she travel around the far reaches of the globe studying under different Shamen, but her home in Cuernavaca (where she grew up) is often the site of different ceromonial practices, attracting her most respected spiritual leaders who will often stay with her for months on end.

When she´s not zipping around the jungles of Peru or consulting with her Native American contacts in the States, she´s hosting ceremonies in the sweat lodge set up in her very own backyard retreat. Did I mention she´s also a mother of three, an accomplished academic, a flawless speaker of English and French AND enjoys dancing till sunrise at Burning Man? ¡Ole!

Anyway, our time with Marite was simply magnifico. After waking up in our zen abode, we´d make our way into her understated yet fabulous living area where we´d appreciate the view of the Cuernavaca mountains. Then we´d lay outside on sunbathing mats, reading our books and taking occastional strolls around the property. Granted, there were no hot springs or famous people, but there was Marite herself, who´s way more invigorating.

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