El Mesala Hotel
West Bank, Luxor ~ Egypt
“Do you have a strong heart?” the boy asked, beating his chest with one small brown fist.
“Yes, I believe so…”
“Then stand up!”
“Stand on camel!”
The camel, whose name happened to be Bob Marley, knelt in the sand and chewed nonchalantly while I got my feet beneath me and rose carefully in the carpet-like saddle (that decade of ballet training never ceases to come in handy!).
Hounslow, London - England
Sleepy and disoriented, we peered blearily through the coach windows at the all-too-familiar florescent faces of Burger King, KFC and that syrupy siren, Starbucks. What? Had we driven through some strange portal and ended up at an Omaha rest stop? Nope— here we were in the English countryside somewhere outside Birmingham at 10pm, about a quarter of the way through our epic, 12 hour coach-and-ferry journey from London to Dublin… and here was Colonel Sanders, inviting us in for a lovely cuppa and some fried wings with chips! (We had blueberries and water from Waitrose Market.)
Galway - Ireland
According to legend, the healing properties of the natural thermal springs at Bath were “discovered” by King Bladud around 863BC, when his skin disease was cured after bathing in the waters (or possibly when his pigs were cured of leprosy after a romp in the mud, depending who you ask). Today, the springs can be enjoyed in two ways: by touring the 2,000 year old Roman Baths, and by experiencing the mineral waters firsthand at the nearby, state-of-the-art “Thermae Spa.”
We arrived after a fairly harrowing time negotiating the trains, during which we were rerouted out of our way to Didcot Parkway (however as soon as we pulled in and saw the nuclear power plant situated less than a mile from the station, we knew we were there on a Divine Mission and happily sat on the platform playing guitar, singing and dropping flower essences until our train arrived). We were also suffering from a mild case of PRD (Post Reunion Depression), so we decided it would be in our best interest to start at the Thermae Spa, a futuristic building of glass and stone appearing like an alien mother ship that’s landed among its historical honey-stoned neighbors. There, we were tempted to use the provided foam noodles at the Minerva Bath as light sabers- or alternatively, laser controls for our rocket ships- but we figured that wouldn’t be appropriate in a spa setting. Instead we enjoyed floating in the built-in current and ogling the city views from the rooftop pool, followed by a visit to the Steam Room, where each chamber had a different aromatherapy scent!
Dublin - Ireland
I am counting on at least a few of our days in Ireland being exceedingly dull so I can catch up with myself! And thank you to all of you as always for your kind comments about the Logs- I'm glad to be entertaining others besides myself and Marlon with these epics.
Before we continue with the Reunion, I need to mention that I am writing you from the mecca of vegetarians and vegans (and those that are neither but consider there to be more than two food groups on the planet and like to partake in them once and awhile), "Juice" Restaurant / Juice Bar / Free Wi-fi Spot! We washed up here like 2 castaways on the shore of a tropical treasure island, exhausted and nearly drowned by Dublin's roiling sea of grunge and grime, and goblins in the form of confrontational street Weirdos. (And me with a chest cold after our nightmare experience on the over-nite ferry, surrounded by unfortunate individuals hacking and coughing moistly.) I nearly fainted away in the street when reading their menu: fresh squeezed juices, smoothies, dishes and dishes of vegan options, and- what do you know!- there actually are other teas in this part of the world besides English Breakfast! And Bob Marley on the stereo. Thank you Lonely Planet. :)
On with the Reunion:
The Crown (Glastonbury Backpackers)
Glastonbury, Somerset - England
Once upon a time (in 2005), two new young lovers embarked on a journey. It was a journey so epic, so ambitious, so entirely without hotel reservations, that few couples come out the other side without having invoked the dreaded Silent Treatment (or worse): they backpacked across Europe for two months with only one another for company. It was a journey with only one stipulation: get from Athens to Amsterdam in 8 weeks, though as those of you who read the Logs know, it was soon to become an epic beach safari, the Quest for Laundry, the Quest for the Perfect Salad, an ode to gelato, and many other things, most of them involving tomatoes and nearly all of them being in the same elbow space as Everybody Else and their mother, cousin, sister, and aunt.
Now, six years later, it is time once again for one of the renowned, if notorious, Kessler Family Reunions, this time to be held in Broadway, England, and which this time- after much successive hoop-jumping and a urine test (kidding…about the urine part)- the heroine will also be permitted to attend. Thus, our young lovers find themselves back in Europe, older and, surely, infinitely wiser…
Mérida, Yucatan - Mexico
Our flight home leaves in a little over four hours. Until then we are "kick'n it" here at Cafe Club, the first actual Internet Cafe- as in Internet and food- we've come across the whole trip. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience for Marlon, as he can enjoy snacks and work on his custom guitar design while I Log.
Yesterday we rented a car and drove south- roughly an hour- to the site of Uxmal. Based on what I'd read in Lonely Planet, I'd had a poetic vision of cruisin' the Yucatan in a funky old VW bug, however we got a new white VW Pointer, which I confess was much better in the end as it had AC!
Uxmal (pronounced "oosh-mahl") is considered one of the most beautific and harmonious sites due to its well-preserved pink-hued limestone structures and Puuc ("hills") setting. It has fascinating and extensive mosaics, including geometric designs ("Xs" are a big theme) and intricate carvings of everything from Chac-Mool to thatch huts to owls to serpents and turtles to representations of the planet Venus.
Cafe Internet Santa Lucia
Mérida, Yucatan - Mexico
What a whirlwind! We've been to three sites in as many days, and we're not stopping there. Each of them has been profoundly moving in distinctly different ways... I feel as if I carry a piece of each of them with me.
As my last Log had to be cut short due to bus departure time concerns, I will continue with the ruins at Tulum:
I found the energy of Tulum to be very similar to that of Delphi, in Greece- there was an impression of grace and harmony, and of people walking peacefully along flora-lined paths, with a real emphasis on spirituality. Granted, all Maya sites could be said to have an emphasis on spirituality, though this was more contemplative, less "My temple is bigger than your temple!" More... feminine, if you will. (Of course, this could be due to the fact that I was female in an incarnation there.) I felt like a wanted to walk with utmost reverence on the Earth.
Tulum, Quintana Roo - Mexico
When we left off, we were waiting for the over-nite bus to Chetumal. That was another interesting experience in nocturnal travel. I don’t know whether it was because we were in the very back of the bus or because all Mexican drivers share a certain affinity with Speedy Gonzalez, but there was an alarming amount of swaying and lurching. It was so severe that ultimately, Marlon concluded the only way to prevent involuntary body propulsion would be shoulder straps! In fact, the more we discussed it, the more we wondered why shoulder harnesses should be limited to baby car seats and astronauts, when there are so many scenarios in life where one might desire a little extra torso support...
As our main objective for coming to Chetumal was to catch another bus, we were pleasantly surprised by its charm and a laid-back attitude we attributed to the Caribbean. (Although, as the city was largely devoid of residents- we assumed for Semana Santa, the Mexican spring break- that may have contributed, as well.) One thing we were really excited about in Chetumal was checking out Museo de la Cultura Maya, which is organized into three levels, mirroring Maya cosmology: the main floor representing this world, the upper floor the heavens and the lower floor the underworld.
Anonymous Internet Club
Palenque, Chiapas - Mexico
We are in our fourth hour of "passing the time" until our bus departs (only nine to go). Alas, I shall catch you up.
We arrived in Palenque around 7pm Tuesday. Due to the spring equinox and an alleged music festival, it quickly became apparent that all of the recommended places- and then some- were booked (no one takes reservations). Eventually we found two available cabañasat Michol’s, though as Portia relevantly noted, they more closely resembled tool sheds than sleeping quarters- in fact, they put the "rust" in "rustic". We were out of other options however, and "adventure" was, after all, our objective!
The good news was that Michol’s was a lot more subdued than the other hotels, all of which seemed to have perpetual Hippie Happy Hour. Nonetheless, said Happy Hours were still audible and my cold, cinder-block-ensconced outdoor shower was accompanied by an interesting symphony of crickets, bird calls, and- techno music.
Villahermosa, Tabasco - Mexico
"There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."
Well, once again it started in Limbo (aka LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal). From there we embarked on a journey that was not even half the distance but nonetheless managed to surpass our infamous Air India flight to Athens in overall exasperation and discomfort. (We took heart, however, in that previous experience has proven the gnarlier the departure, the better the trip.)
Functioning on only two hours of sleep or not, we arrived in Villahermosa ready for adventure and highly anticipating the sight of Portia and Ben's familiar faces. After some very special one-on-one attention from the customs agents (we were the only international travelers on the flight from Mexico City), we emerged into the clinging heat and into the welcoming embrace of my soul sistah and her equally soul-ish lovah (if you will)! Having arrived in Villahermosa a few days prior, they were able to spare our sleep-deprived brains the exertion of decision-making, saavily negotiating a taxi back to the hotel and a good spot to enjoy some yummy, authentic Mexican cuisine.
Vibrational alchemist, writer, artistic mystic, pack mama and spiritual adventurer living in The Goodland - Goleta, CA. Creator of Lioness Energetics.
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