It is Day 3, but I am just now getting around to writing about Day 2, since it ended with a tarantula in my bedroom, which left me incapacitated to do anything but look around my room in fear that there may be another lurking about. Though I did not see another spider, I did, at different waking intervals of the night, observe two large cockroaches and two very tiny lizards engaging in a dance. Who will catch whom first? At some point, I had to make myself simply turn off the flashlight and just let what happened in the darkness stay in the darkness, and hope that nothing landed on my bed. I will be in search of a bed net today.
Moses is a chef at the wonderful Turtle Bay Café, and his kitchen is about 20 feet from my room. After returning home from a beachfront dinner at Lol-Ha with my fellow artists, I opened the door and saw this tarantula, right next to my sandals. He did not look friendly. I could not muster the courage to treat him as just another sentient being whom I should tolerate in my room (I am working on it Faina). I ran to the Turtle Bay Café kitchen and in my imperfect Spanish, I alerted the kitchen staff that I needed help – that there was a huge spider in my room. After a short conversation among three staff members, it was decided that Moses, who had been behind the grill, would be the best expert to handle this situation. Grabbing a broom stick, Moses took off his apron and followed me to my room. As Moses tried to catch the spider, it jumped, and it jumped far. From shelf to shelf of my bookcase, scurrying in between all of my art supplies. With patience and calmness, Moses followed the spider, sorting through watercolors, papers, paintbrushes, and never showing fear. I had to leave the room because it was so terrifying just to see the spider jumping. Moses successfully killed the spider, and I asked him, in Spanish, “Is it dangerous?” “This spider is very dangerous,” he said calmly, holding up the dead spider in a piece of toilet paper for me to see. Oy vey.
The entire rest of the day was absolutely wonderful. It began with a breakfast of fresh apples and fresh yogurt with fellow artist Sarah at Turtle Bay Café. I then went to my first yoga class at Yoga en Akumal, a Hatha class with Marti, and one other classmate, Martha. We enjoyed a challenging and fulfilling class, and I bought a 5 week pass, which is discounted for the artist’s! Yay! One goal is to go every daily yoga class during my time here. During class, we engaged in a chant: “Om Hrim Namah Shivia, Tas Mai Sri, Guruvey Namaha.”
Om hrim namah Shivaia (I open up to the divine destructive power of the universe)
Tas mai sri guruvey namah (I honor the lessons of this holy teacher)
Opening up to the divine destructive power of the Universe – a really interesting concept if you think about it. And totally connected to what I learned today in yoga – which will come with the next post. Marti, my yoga teacher, encouraged me to view my yoga practice as an art form, and to allow it to really influence my experience and my work here.
You know how sometimes you know that things are meant to be – that you are meant to be here, in this place, in this moment? I had a lot of that yesterday. After yoga class, I walked to the Luna Azul, which is the hotel that my grandparents stay at when they visit Akumal. I chose to go there because I know how to access the beach from there. I was able to collect many wonderful materials, dead corals, plastics, driftwoods, and to see many turtle nests. The sun was extremely hot, and after I was done at the beach, I knew that I needed to drink water and eat a snack before walking back into town. I sat down the stoop of one of the rooms of Luna Azul, and began eating. I hoped that no one was staying in that room, and I doubted that there was, since it is low season. However, the door began to open as I was sitting there, and I thought, “Oh no! This person is going to be angry and kick me out!” As soon as the door opened, I recognized Kim, the Director of the Artist Residency, and she said, “Alexis!? Is everything alright!? How long have you been here? Wait, how did you know I live here?
“I didn’t know you lived here! I was just on the beach and needed to take a snack break in the shade – it is totally random that I ended up on your stoop – out of all of the places in Akumal!”
Kim is staying in the apartment of the woman who owns the tiny room that my grandparents and I stay in when we are in Akumal. Goosebumps.
Then, on the walk home, my camera ran out of space. “CARD FULL” it told me. Literally, seconds later, while scanning the road for any art materials, I looked down, and what do I see? A 16GB camera card. Goosebumps.
After a quick lunch of leftover pizza, a woman who was in yoga class with me, who is an artist and yoga teacher as well, offered to help me comb the beach for trash and plastic to use in my work. We had a really nice time talking and walking and searching, and found an abundance of materials. We talked about many things, and she told me that she is so inspired by young people like me, who are using their creativity in the world. She told me that she felt my time here was very blessed. I feel that too. I told her about the man whom I had seen die a few years ago on the beach we were on, and she said, “You know, when you get to my age, you hear something like that, and you think, ‘not a bad way to go.’ I have also learned that witnessing death is just as sacred as witnessing birth – and really – not too different.”
So much has happened on this beach during my brief trips to Akumal. I fell in love on this beach. I witnessed death on this beach. I have been captivated by the commanding beauty and presence of the sea turtles on this beach.
Akumal is a sacred place, and I am so lucky to be here.