Heavenly Xilitla: Perhaps I Fell down a Rabbit Hole

Perhaps I Fell down a Rabbit Hole

This weekend I journeyed to Xilitla in the state of San Luis Potosi.
In Xilitla stands Las Pozas de Edward James, which is considered the greatest surrealist art movement in the world.

Edward James was a British poet born in the early 1900’s. He inherited a fortune from his father, a founding partner of Phelps Dodge Corporation.
He was a strong proponent of surrealist art, and at one point, financially supported the famous artist Salvador Dali.daliIn 1945, Edward James visited the town of Xilitla in San Luis Potosi. He immediately fell in love with it’s lush rain forest teeming with wildlife and abundant flora. He called this place his “Garden of Eden.”

To his dismay, in 1962 over 15,000 of his cherished orchids died due to frost from a harsh winter. This put his fantasy world in jeopardy. After that event, he became infatuated with the idea of creating a concrete jungle to preserve this dreamlike place. The statues would emulate the flowers and forest creatures that he admired. Over the course of his lifetime, he poured all of his fortune, around 5 million dollars, into these surrealist sculptures.

His passion and obsession in turn has created one of the most mystical places in the world. An expression of surrealistic art set within the jungle, where fantasy meets reality. In total, 36 sculptures have been accounted for, which due to overgrowth of vines and plants, have morphed into a new presentation of art altogether.

I’ll be honest, I had assumed this expression of surrealistic art was less inspiration, and more so many years of heavy drug use, but that is beside the point! Hah. Whatever his motivation, I feel completely honored to be able to witness this art movement.

I visited Las Pozas de Edward James in order to put myself into his position. What kind of place would inspire someone to do this? It would have to be incredibly influential and energizing…and it was.

Let me take you on my journey through Las Pozas. 😀IMG_8774_zpscsxyrqfoIMG_8810_zps9gncx8zlThe first path I took led me to Las Pozas or “The Pools.”best_zpstcksjbwi A cascading waterfall leads down to these turquoise pools of water, where all are welcome to swim and take in the surrounding view.
IMG_8739_zpstcz9gdfbIMG_8657_zpsduqngiicIMG_8659_zpsbavhap0iIMG_8649_zpsi9fbbvggFrom there, I wandered around to the view the different buildings. Some were used when James was alive to house different exotic species, such as macaws, ocelots, and boa constrictors.
IMG_8709_zpsz2x6oxmiThe site consists of paved trails, steep steps and narrow bridges. Visitors are free to wander as they please amongst the sculptures. This is the path of serpents, which is said to represent the seven deadly sins.IMG_8770_zps8cwnwwh7Some of the structures had crazy names like, “House on Three Floors, Which Will in Fact Have Five or Four or Six.”IMG_8740_zpsb3cimnhlIMG_8750_zps3jd0lqogIMG_8749_zpskboq6lg9IMG_8702_zpspty0dmpeIMG_8703_zpsuy6bxnt8“House with a Roof like a Whale.”IMG_8723_zpstzfo1nkiThere were also twisted things like staircases that led to absolutely nowhere.
IMG_8687_zpsbkzy3be7Yet at the same time, this peculiar design is what adds to the mystery and illusion of this dream world. From waterfalls, to exotic plants and concrete man-made wonders, you never knew what to expect around the next corner.

Some structures were absolutely massive and towered among the tree tops with an almost eerie presence.
IMG_8762_zps5hkcpjiuIMG_8710_zpsbnxg6fdoIMG_8688_zpse78einynOf course, I can’t help but smile from the thrill of adventure. 🙂IMG_8715 1_zpsj6sji3clIMG_8713_zps775fwaliIt was easy to see how some of the structures represented the orchids that James cherished during his life.IMG_8741_zpsfnxaxhhcIMG_8691_zpsqjkicu8rThat being said, Edward James would be happy to see that the surrounding jungle is still full of vibrant vegetation.IMG_8835_zpsuwo4by4xIMG_8767_zpsjfjrg9jnIMG_8742_zpsvlvuj7ltIMG_8669_zpspghnsjimIMG_8645_zpspmgsgzn0To give you a comparison, most of the tropical plant leaves were larger than my feet. 😛 Tehe.IMG_8764_zps5njnz7alAs I continued to meander around this jungle paradise, I began to compare this fantasy world to scenes from Alice in Wonderland.alice-with-caterpillar-2

Perhaps, like Alice, I had fallen down a rabbit hole. 😛

if-world-own-everything-would--large-msg-126738538141The resemblance to Wonderland became even more uncanny as I left Las Pozas and arrived at my accommodation.

Located a few hundred yards from Las Pozas is Casa Caracol.IMG_8819_zps94mmebsxI walked along a dirt path and across a beautiful stream of trickling water to this bizarre hippy camp.IMG_8641_zpsl0kdeichI do love their use of recycled material to build the path. 😉IMG_8636_zpsdxklqkrqIMG_8602_zpszhwynqpqCasa Caracol was the cheapest accommodation at around 10 dollars per night, and seemed like the most fitting due the unconventional nature of this place. 😛IMG_8611_zpsousivfmnIMG_8617_zpsj0lbhafqIMG_8612_zps78zqtz1qIMG_8604_zpsbpow1z9iIMG_8805_zpscl5hz2guIMG_8615_zpsqgh4ajqv photo IMG_8789_zps0slrpyej.jpgAs I walked around the campground, I was confused, yet intrigued by the strange array of sculptures and chachkies scattered across the lawn.IMG_8610_zpsioivkemaIMG_8608_zpsowbq6mxfIMG_8786_zpsqekcm6cjIMG_8609_zps9add0amxAt this point, I was sure the Mad Hatter was going to step in and offer me a cup of tea. 😉mad-hatter-2
When I entered the main lodge, I was overwhelmed by it’s bizarre collection of objects, antiques and collectibles.
IMG_8620_zpszrjp3ob4I met a few travelers at the lodge, like one guy from Canada who had sold all of his belongings, and was planning to take his motorcycle around the world. He is currently shooting a video blog to document his journey. Poor guy…I didn’t have the heart to tell him to shave his grizzly beard, since after six months on the road, he looked like Cro-Magnon man and I would be terrified to watch his video blog. :/ Oh well, I wished him safe travels and all the best on his adventure. 🙂

After checking in, I was able to pick out which tipi I would like to stay in. After perusing my options of multicolored huts painted with barbaric looking natives, I decided on the blue one with a nose bone and nipple rings. It seemed most appropriate. Hah. 🙂IMG_8788_zpslpg2fb11To continue with the theme of Alice in Wonderland, hold on one minute while I shrink down small enough to fit through this door. 😛article-1227526-073555F3000005DC-626_468x314_zpspk792pjoDD4cawIAfter settling in, I walked around the complex and found this sweet tree fort. Curiosity provoked me to climb on up and take a look. What a spectacular view of the rain forest! 🙂IMG_8803_zpspvnckfsdIMG_8804_zpsfilrhxspAs night began to fall, the stars came out and the crickets began to chirp. I bundled myself underneath a mound of comforters and from within my tipi, I drifted soundly asleep.

Here is a view from the inside. So peaceful.IMG_8822_zpsu5qwcixsThe next morning, I awoke to a beautiful sunset and began my trek back to town.IMG_8827_zpsfosyoqm6
If you wonder how I navigate in the jungle, this is how. I literally don’t know where I would be without my smart phone. Hah. 😛IMG_8840_zpsgohgghceOn my way back, I found a sign for a waterfall, so I decided to check it out. I traipsed across a shallow stream to find this hidden gem. Just gorgeous!IMG_8848_zpsr1lh7s2w (1)Here were some cows grazing in a field amidst the tropical landscape. 🙂IMG_8847_zpsh9bn2jzkIMG_8853_zpspkuy67v9I wonder if they were the same herd I ran into on my taxi ride there. 😛

When I think about the different senses gathered from this place, the sounds were the most memorable to me. The chirping birds, babbling brook, and crowing roosters. I thought I would share a few of these moments with you. 🙂

When I finally made it to town, I spent some time walking around the center to shop at the market.PicMonkey Collage new_zpsnlo1flghIMG_8600_zpskw4mgybsAside from Las Pozas, Xilitla is also Pueblo Mágico with a lot of charm.IMG_8599_zpsjh80xqviAmong all the places I have visited, Xilitla has been placed at the top of my list. I hope to return there again someday.

As well, since I have made such a comparison to Alice in Wonderland throughout this trip, I thought I would leave you with one final quote. 🙂71438acaf7a1d23018c4ca3ac67dc95a

Getting There

For the logistics, there was a direct bus from Querétaro for around $17. The ride; however; was not for the faint of heart.  For seven hours, we wound around narrow paths dangerously close to the edge with a sharp drop off into the valley below. Aside from occasionally clutching my seat, I was captivated by the views.

After three hours, we stopped in Pinal de Amoles.IMG_8589_zpsbgyzedv2On the way in to town, I spotted this roadside stand selling crystals.IMG_8579_zpsbcuq9brhThis little tyke was absolutely precious and reminded me of Boo from Monsters Inc. 🙂imagesAfter another two hours, we stopped in the gorgeous Pueblo Mágico of Jalpan where the bus driver let us stop for a lunch break of spicy chicken tamales. 🙂 Yum.IMG_8592_zpsdjhjdenwThe path from Querétaro to Xilitla follows the route of the Sierra Gorda. This bioreserve is known for being one of the most biodiverse locations in Mexico. We passed through the desert, above the clouds in the mountains, and finally into the jungle.
IMG_8586_zpso4neyawqIMG_8587_zpsupl79xmzAfter returning home, and spending an hour scrubbing the mud off my shoes, I was ready to take on another week of school.

Classroom Humor

This is why I love teaching.

Today we began learning new vocabulary words for our next story about a navigator that trekked across the Arctic. One of our words is durable, which means sturdy and able to withstand wear and tear. I asked the classroom, “What is something that is durable?” Their responses included hiking boots, backpacks, and bike helmets. After a few logical responses, one of my students said, “Grandmas. My grandma is VERY durable.” Hah. I had to stop myself from laughing. I was NOT expecting that response. I told him that grandmas need to be tough and yours would be happy you said that. 🙂 I also told him that grandmas are fragile and needed to be treated with care. So funny. Never a dull moment in the classroom.

Additionally, Mondays we have a weekly faculty meeting and we watched a very cute movie about teaching. I thought I would share with you. Happy Monday. Wishing you all a wonderful week. 😀 Until next time.

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