In the morning, I woke up to the sound of laughter and Spanish words intermingling with English. As I was trying to get ready, I experienced an epiphany: We've only been here for two days. However, downstairs, in the dining area, it seemed as though we've been here forever. It is amazing how quickly people who have been living completely different lives could become so close to one another within the span of two days. It blows my mind that just a few days ago, we were thousands of miles away and living our own lives. Now, we have been summoned to an intersection in our paths, and here we are, eating pan dulce y huevos and drinking freshly squeezed jugo de naranja.
After breakfast, we embarked on our journey to Villa Rica, a "virgin beach" located an hour and a half away from our home base. On the bus ride there, I looked out the window only to be surprisingly greeted by an abundance of verdant plants. In fact, if it wasn't for all of the spiny cacti scattered throughout the land, I would have thought that we were back in the Pacific Northwest. Before we got to Villa Rica, we headed to Quiahuitzlan to see some ruins. The scenery was surreal. Tombs lying everywhere. Pyramid remains lying perfectly still on the same land they were on hundreds of years ago. To make the scene even more magical, butterflies of different colors were gracefully floating through the graves, as though they were carrying a bit of the souls of the people buried.
After a long walk from the ruins, we finally reached the beach. Although it was an extremely long walk, once we saw the waves crashing into the sandy land, we immediately knew it was worth it. It was my first time swimming in open water so I was a bit apprehensive. Once I got in, the huge salty wave completely buried me beneath itself. It was as if the Poseidon, the God of Water, himself, was excitedly playing along with us in the water. Just when I thought that this was the craziest thing I'd do during this trip, I had the opportunity to go cliff jumping into the rapidly moving waves. If you personally knew me, you would also know that I am not one to participate in such wild and spontaneous events. But, I felt like it was something I needed to do. So I not-so-gracefully swam to the rocks, and I not-so-gracefully climbed up the cliff, and despite my fears, I jumped. As I resurfaced, I felt very different and proud of myself. I did it and the adrenaline was rushing through my veins. This will definitely be one of the memories I will look back on and cherish.
I later found out that the ruins we had earlier toured were not a in a place that many people visit. Instead of just sticking to the popular area we hiked down towards the back of the site that contained the graves of the poor people. The beach we went to did not have any colorful beach umbrellas or people holding huge expensive cameras. It was secluded. This reminded me of the conversation we had back in Seattle during our workshops. We talked about the difference between a traveler and a tourist. A traveler does not only go to the flashy and mainstream places. A traveler looks for authenticity, and a real experience, and that is exactly what we, travelers of Many Voices One Tribe are doing.