Thursday, May 13, 2010

Care of self....

"All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl " (am paraphrasing an old movie line)...Dull would not be the word to describe what has transpired here for the last three weeks. I was very clear in my intention that the field school participants receive as full of a Mexican experience as much as possible while they are here, not only while fulfilling their academic and clinical needs in a foreign country, but also in immersing themselves in the culture and satisfying their curiosity about their environment. Below are some pictures that I took during our down time. I had much help in coming up with ideas and implementing these ideas by our host coordinator, Glades. We kept ourselves busy and we had great fun!

A short drive away north of San Pancho is a place called Las Lomas. At the end of a dusty, bumpy road is a family-owned resort called Playa Monterrey. It was a time to unwind and to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. As it is low season, our host, Jaime Acosta took us to view the empty bungalows. We were able to snoop and imagine. You can as is their website.

A view from one of the bungalows. We'll remember this for some time.

Inside one of the bungalows.  A beautiful place for reflection and contemplation.

Traditional grilled fish, green salad, rice with corn, jicama, and hibiscus juice was the lunch that was prepared for us. We were happy campers!!!
Can you feel the heat? We are just getting out of our van driven by our friend, Pedro of Diva Tours and about to be given a special tour of an orchid farm. They are not yet open to the public but a call from Glades to the manager of the farm, is all it took to get us there. We didn't know what to expect.

The view of the Pacific Ocean was breathtaking from this vantage point. This was the start of our walkabout. We were greeted in the front gate by Gallo who is an old friend. He was quite versed about his orchids and very accommodating to all of us.

No explanation required...just imagine.

This is for Missy.  What else would you need? about a cup of good coffee and a good book?! Life should be this good. ;-) This is where the manager/owner lives. (it is on the top of the hill overlooking the farm).

Along the trail, we saw how the orchids have attached themselves to anything and everything to survive. We also learned about the indigenous plants and trees. Much to the delight of Tanis and some of the ladies, there were no snakes nor other forms of "scary" wildlife.

T'is not the season for orchids, but you are looking at a caterpillar-before-the-butterfly image here. I would love to return here when everything is in bloom. 

Do you ever wonder where your coconut oil comes from? You are looking at it.

A small wooden bridge over a stream. Photo op!!!

These are the different varieties of orchids that we saw.

One last photo before boarding the van.

This morning, we woke up early to start our hike inland. Luis, our guide, provided a light breakfast at the students' bungalows and an orientation of what the hike will entail. With sunscreen and bugspray on, we set out to walk the trail with little expectation of what is ahead of us. Tanis (afraid of snakes), Candyce and Robin (slept in), and Bethany (studying) decided to stay behind. ;-)

Luis pointing out the White Fig Tree (does not bear fruit) but provides shade and shelter for many of the wildlife. 

We met one of the rancheros on the way in, accompanied by his two dogs. As we walked further inland and away from traffic, the sound of the silva(falsely named as the jungle) became more evident. Simply, we were walking into nature.

A worthy stop along the trail. I wanted to remember this moment and deeply feel the gratitude of the circumstance that has brought me to this place. It was a little before 8am at about this time, there was mist beyond the hills and the sounds of birds, cows, horses, crickets, and other animals abound. The picture doesn't do it justice. You had to be there.

Welcome to the jungle!

We were forewarned by Luis that it would not be prudent to pet the animals along the way as we would be exposing ourselves to ticks. A very good advice! This horse was very gentle and clearly aware of our taking photos of him. He stood very still for our cameras!

Here we are in front of the elephant ear tree. The edible fruit look like elephant ears.

We are nearing the end of the trail. 

It is a month away from rainy season which explains the dry rocks. There were pools of water in the area  that were knee high but the fish and myriad of insects floating and crawling about may have deterred most of us from  taking a dip. Emma and I decided to do it anyway and found it very refreshing...especially helpful before the long walk back.

There is still so much to see and experience...I have a feeling that some of us will be back again at another time to discover more of what this region has to offer.

So, for our family and friends back home, rest assured that there was great effort in balancing work and play in the last three weeks. Your daughters, wives, girlfriends, aunties, daughters-in-law are in good form. I have strongly encouraged direct and honest communication in all of our decision-making and they've been responding in kind. Their positive and respectful attitude, their openness to learning, their willingness to try new things,  and their obvious care for one another are evident in the images above and it is worthy of mention. Thank you for your support as I am sure that you miss them greatly. We'll be home and content in your company once again.


  1. This sounds amazing ladies. I am glad you are getting a variety of experiences. Jacquie

  2. Hurrah for this new blog and sharing all you are experiencing. It is a 'treasure indeed' and I can't wait to see all your smiling facing with the wealth of enriched experiences you have shared.

    heather 'b'

  3. Thanks for the comments, Jacquie and Heather B. Great to hear from home! Hard to believe that it is almost over....we are having a pretty special time.