…we found our home for a few days.  With surrealist sculpture creeping through all sorts of corners of the jungle, we happened upon one particular concrete room that looked unfinished and rarely visited by the masses.  It was from here we set off one day to explore our surroundings and found ourselves on an excellent multiple hour hike climbing up through streams and scaling muddy mountainsides.

Naturally, the place we were camping was most likely “off limits to camping” according to someone, so we kept a low profile.  The humorous bout came one night when, after settling into our tent, we lay quietly talking and preparing to fall asleep.  All of a sudden we saw lights flashing around outside the structure.  “Busted” we thought and prepared to give ourselves up and have to pack up everything and move.  Kurt got up out of the tent and moved towards the opening of the building and as his eyes fell on the jungle in front of him, he saw that there was not one just one light flashing around, but 30 or more lights flashing in all sorts of haphazard, seemingly confused directions.

When his eyes caught focus he realized there was tons of people trekking in a weird and organized fashion on this trail in the middle of the night.  Some had headlamps, some had flashlights and some had no light at all.  The concrete structure we were hiding out in was a bit off the path so the horde of night hikers did not really venture over, but one curious guy did.  Hilarity ensued when the guy got relatively close and Kurt, who was just standing in the doorway looking at him with his eyes having been adjusted to the level of darkness, said “Buenos noches.”

At this point the guy, who was viewing the whole experience through the eye of a camcorder while still wearing a headlamp mind you, jumped back so surprised and frightened.  He said nothing like the whole interaction never happened and spun around quickly and walked the other way back towards the very odd, very strange huge group wandering down the dark trail in the surrealists jungle area in the middle of the night.  We found it hilarious that this guy thought that he had been busted or caught somewhere he shouldn’t be.  Too funny.  We can only imagine what a bunch of folks were doing wandering around in the jungle in the middle of the night, seeking out surrealists sculptures and waterfalls and unable to communicate properly with another human being when spoken to.  I’m sure Ken Kesey would have loved this group.

Concrete camping...

Early morning light filtration...

What it was going to be we may never know...

Jungle coffee time...

One of the many, many waterfalls found nestled in the hillside...

The trail, just barely there...

It wasn't long before we chose this path instead...

Eight legs and kickin' it in the jungle...

I love these things. Air plants (hi Sharon!)...

This day of hiking was fun beyond words' descriptions...

Getting excited to head farther south and more into climates such as these...

The view of Xilitla in the mountainside, after our muddy scramble and popped out into a clearing...

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Las Pozas…

October 7, 2010

Built adjacent to a series of waterfalls which cascade down the mountainside, Las Pozas is certainly a dreamer’s heaven.  It stands as a truly intricate labyrinth of concrete temples, bridges and spiral staircases that do more than a little to contribute to the surrealist nature of what we know as art.  Las Pozas is the vision and creation of Sir Edward James, an artist born into immense wealth in Sussex England, but who instead rejected all aristocratic conventions and spent his time with artists, poets and existentialists.  James sought out a place to begin living out his surrealist dreams and longing to create and settled on Mexico.  After a snowfall and freeze killed many of the orchids (18,000) and animals he was caring for, he began work on a project that could not be extinguished by the elements.  Throughout the 60’s and the 70’s, James, with the help of his friend Plutarco Gastelum and at least 25 Mexican laborers (some say 150), installed more than 200 steel-reinforced cement constructions into the 20 acres of jungle rainforest.

The results of his work, much of it still unfinished, are absolutely breathtaking and awe-inspiring.  You could spend days climbing around on the staircases that lead to nowhere, dipping in the pools or exploring the structures and their painted concrete eyes and flowers.  Very much in the way that James’ constructions took from the natural landscape of the jungle, now the jungle seems to be taking it back from James.  At the time of his death, James made no plans for further building or maintenance of Las Pozas and now the sites are beautifully overgrown with moss and lichen, adding to their mystery and decay.

We’ve read there is a documentary,.Edward James- Builder of Dreams.  We think it may clear up some things so we are keen to get a hold of it at some point.  Either way, we left having many more questions than when we first arrived, but felt truly inspired in our own dreaming and building projects we’d like to do someday.

 

The entrance, as seen from the road...

 

Twenty (20!!) million dollars in concrete...

 

What the jungle is now taking back...

 

 

Built to work with and for the elements...

Without plans for the future, electrical sockets like this one are left to deal...

Precision...

A personal favorite...

Kurt doing his best Eddy Jim impression...

Bamboo, forever and ever and ever and...

Just plain captivating...

Yes, they were slippery...

The hands of time...