The Brujo and the Ring of Fire in the Land of Magic, Suchitlan, Colima, Mexico

Hotel Las Hadas - Fairyland - Manzanillo, Colima MEXICO © John Lamkin

Hotel Las Hadas – Fairyland – Manzanillo, Colima MEXICO © John Lamkin

It was in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico and I was staying at a five-star hotel on the beach called Las Hadas (meaning the fairies). (“Bo Derek slept here” while filming 10.) I heard that in the morning there was a van leaving on a trip to the Magic Town (Pueblo Magico) of Comala, Colima so I signed up. In this case “magic” has nothing to do with Harry Potter, but is the designation Mexico has given several towns around the country that offer visitors a “magical” experience–by reason of their natural beauty, cultural riches or historical relevance.

The van left in the morning with me, an attractive actress from Hollywood, a PR woman from Miami and a reporter from Chicago. We toured the Manzanillo Bay, then headed out to the Magic Town. On the way we came to a small hill, la Loma de Fatima, where more “magic” had occurred. It seems that Volcan de Fuego (Fire Volcano), the active volcano that overlooks the town of Colima had once erupted, threatening to inundate the town and surrounds with lava. The people went to the top of this hill and prayed to Fatima. The lava miraculously stopped just short of the town, so the people erected a shrine to Fatima here. Read more at Global Writes.

360 degree Panorama — Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort, Laguna Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The Dock at Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort on Laguna Bacalar, Mexican Caribbean

The Dock at Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort on Laguna Bacalar, Mexican Caribbean

Rancho Encantado Eco-Resort, Laguna Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico —  December 2010

I ‘discovered’ Rancho Encantado about 14 years ago – not that it was lost. It had been languishing on the shore of Laguna Bacalar, the Lake of Seven Colors, in the southern Yucatan Peninsula for 10 years before that discovery. I try to get to that magical place at least once a year. The Rancho exists in the midst of the Zona Maya, the home of the old Maya civilization. Archaeological sites abound. I met my querida there and we have been together for 13 years.

You can find Rancho Encantado at www.encantado.com.

Click on the image or here to view in 360 degrees.

The Mexican Spa

Story and photos by John Lamkin

“SPA TREATMENTS” read the hand-lettered sign, which seemed perfectly normal…until I remembered I was in a prison, in Mexico!

Prisoner in Courtyard with Pet Coatamundi, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Prisoner in Courtyard with Pet Coatamundi


Outside, a tarp strung between the large trees was flapping in the breeze. Beneath were chairs for chair massage and pedicures. Inside the wooden shack I found one massage table and three therapists – one man, one woman and one of unidentifiable sex. This primitive spa “palace” was in the middle of the courtyard of a prison located in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico, just a half an hour north of the Belize border. Read more at Global Writes.

 

Day of the Dead – Dias de los Muertos – Oaxaca, Mexico

 

 

Susanna Starr placing photo on Altar, Cemetery Chapel - Day of the Dead - Oaxaca State, Mexico ©John Lamkin
Susanna Starr placing photo on Altar, Cemetery Chapel – Day of the Dead – Oaxaca State, Mexico ©John Lamkin

 

Day of the Dead – Dias de los Muertos – Oaxaca, Mexico

by Susanna Starr

The Day of the Dead celebration is marked by various rituals, including the American Halloween. But in Oaxaca this holiday, known as Los Dias de los Muertos, is something that goes far beyond trick or treating and children in costumes. It is not marked by carved pumpkins and children garnering as much candy as can fill their bags.

Rather, it is a holy holiday, one that marks the celebration of those who have passed away, death being part of life. Further, it is an honoring of those who once were part of their lives, a day of remembrance. It is a day infused with a feeling of spirit. Yes, there are parades, such as the large on in Mitla with all kinds of flamboyant costumes, and major decorations in the large cemeteries, but the most important acknowledgment of this holy holiday takes place at the individual altars in each home. Read more here.

The Hippie Hat – Story and Photos by John Lamkin

The Hippie Hat
Story and photos by John Lamkin

We were looking for sombreros–hats. Viewing the giant hat sculpture in the village plaza, there was no doubt we had arrived at the hat-making town of Becal, Campeche, Mexico.

 

Hat Monument and Church, Becal, Campeche, Mexico

Hat Monument and Church, Becal, Campeche, Mexico

 


We saw several tricycle rickshaws in the town center waiting for passengers. Judie, who has ridden camels in the Sahara, funeral boats in Mog Mog, said, “I want to ride one!” So she hired one of the taxistas to take her to the cave of the best hat maker and we followed in the car.

 

Hats have been made in Becal for generations in the humid environments of backyard limestone caves. The humidity keeps the fibers pliable for easier weaving. It is said that there are more than 2,600 of these caves in the area.

The women of the families weave hats in the caves, while the men gather the materials and sell the sombreros. They make everything from colorful, floppy beach hats to expensive fine “Panama” hats. Don’t mention “Panama” to them, however. “Panama” hats are not from Panama. Originally men building the Panama Canal bought hats from Ecuador and called them “Panama.” This is somewhat akin to buying a Christian Dior or Chanel chapeau in Chicago and calling it a “Chicago hat.” Continue reading at Global Writes.

Cusarare Falls, The Place of the Eagle, Tarahumara and Sierra Mountain Lodge

Sierra Lodge, Cusarare, Chihuahua, Mexico - Early Morning

Sierra Lodge, Cusarare, Chihuahua, Mexico - Early Morning © 2009 by John Lamkin

The morning sun filtering through the pine trees splattered shadows across the lodge steps and the Tarahumara women setting up their impromptu crafts markets.

Tarahumara Girl with Heart Tattoo & Smile - Sierra Lodge, Cusarare, Chihuahua, Mexico

Tarahumara Girl with Heart Tattoo & Smile - Sierra Lodge, Cusarare, Chihuahua, Mexico - © 2009 by John Lamkin

The young Tarahumara girl with the heart tattoo on her cheek turned away shyly when I spoke to her then turned back with a smile when I greeted her in her language. I bought a small carving of a Tarahumara women weaving for 30 pesos (about $2.50 U.S.) from her. Then another smile when I said goodbye in Tarahumara. Read at Examiner