lily

Chalmita, in its splendor

Yoga ecstasy next to the bamboos
For the new year, our compadre Juan Jacob invited us to his house in the community of Chalmita, 10 km from Malinalco, in the State of Mexico. We had not visited him there for years, although of course, we always see each other in the DF or in Guanajuato. But at least 6 or 7 years separated us from the last time we went to Chalmita. There was a time when we went once a year, which suddenly stopped; We stopped going, who knows why.

This year, among other things, we hesitated to go because we did not know if our old car would last the 7 or 8 hour trip. And it is not that there are so many kilometers (500 at the most), but to get there from Guana we need to take several highways, not always freeways: get first by the San Luis freeway to the highway to Mexico. Then, shortly before the house of Palmillas, take the direction Toluca. To arrive at Atlacomulco by a highway in perpetual repair and from there to Toluca. Cross the horrible capital of the Edomex and take direction Tenancingo or if you prefer, take the small roads through Joquicingo towards Malinalco. All this takes time and not little weariness. However, we armed ourselves with courage, had the car checked and left one late December morning.

The route was described above, under a golden winter sun. A single stop, before Atlacomulco, to eat along the road the delicious sandwiches prepared by me. We decided not to cross Toluca this time, and take a long enough, but that would leave us a little closer to Tenango than to Toluca, so that we could turn the course towards Malinalco. At this point in the game, it was already four in the afternoon (we left at 10am).

When we finally arrive at El Copalito ranch, it's already 6 pm. They were waiting for us tomorrow. Not for that reason they are less happy to see us: Juan, the two nens, Émile and Val, and the two great children, Diego and Juan Ramón. The house is the same as we remembered it but the garden has changed a lot. Wide avenues of bamboo, roundabouts with magueys and a beautiful plant that looks like the tail of a deer, like a pompom. Around a circus, rocky mountains with their vegetation cover. Maybe less green at this time of year, but always beautiful.

As there are only two bedrooms, Diego and Juan Ramón give us one of them and sleep in the living room. Fortunately we brought sleeping bags, a foam mattress and a mat. The dinner is made of beans and a few beers, something that can not miss Chez Jacob.

There are days between breakfast on the terrace, reading, walks on the ranch, drawings, much conversation and chores, ungrateful but necessary. Fortunately, all of them work and are willing to wash dishes, sweep and scrub a little this small space suddenly invaded by a crowd, because apart from us three, also comes Dito, Juan's younger brother, and days later Alixter, a super - sympathetic (and handsome) friend of Juan Ramón.

The terrace in front of the adobe house has a cement table covered with beautiful mosaics and painted blue, with its built-in bench and fire. Diego and J. Ramón are masters to light it and we make most of the meals there: roasted meat, beans, hot tortillas, roasted potatoes, etc.

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It takes place between speeches, laughter and lively talk. Something fluid and beautiful is this end of the year dinner.

At the end of the dinner, we went out to the garden where the kids already prepared a huge bonfire. Seldom have I experienced such a strong and clear feeling of brotherhood. I thank to the infinite this moment of pure goodness: hugs, jokes, the heat of the bonfire, the intense night, the silhouettes of the hills, all those stars and the cold air that covers my face ...

The next day, Nina and I are going to see Fabiola, Juan's other comadre. Thanks to her husband Christian and her, Juan knew this place and got his ground. Both have a ranch producing flowers and fruit, very close to Juan's house. It's called "The Amate." Apart from its vergeles, Fabiola has a small company that makes jams and other ecological preserves. It's great to talk to her because she knows a lot of things and can give you thousands of tips on everything you ask her. We love the cellar where the jams are kept: all delicious and above all, unusual fruits in Mexico, where we do not leave the super-known strawberry jam. Here there is jam of mandarin, plum, blackberry, lemon, lime, fig, apple, orange, raspberry, pear ... with or without sugar. And also juices from all those fruits. And canned chiles and other vegetables. We spent a good time peeking and asking. It gives us a remedy against acne: apple cider vinegar, and we ipso facto packs a bottle. We walk around the fields and show us a house made of bamboo and adobe, a future hostel for people who will come to take courses on ecology. This is your project for this year. It pays to keep an eye on your website and why not? go visit them.

First, Val is sick; then Emile. The flu is passed on to Jean-Pierre and I think, to Diego. Nina draws the dogs. Alixter, Diego and Juan Ramón tell us their adventures in France. The last two still live there. I do not do much. I'm reading my Christmas gift "Eat, Pray, Love," which I really like. I also practice yoga next to the bamboo, almost in front of the oxen. It is a mystical experience. Jean-Pierre is sculpting one of the stones from the entrance. His work is a skull playing ball. He removes his shirt in the heat and inspiration. Our days pass peaceful and full of sun. Sometimes someone puts music, which exasperates John. On the first of January no one wants to move. We are going to Malinalco on the 2nd for supplies.

I love Malinalco, it is so new age and at the same time it keeps its traditional village essence. I love the market, the streets, the little square. Now it's a little head down because they're putting all the electrical wires underground. That makes us have to walk and do the shopping among debris, but the result will be worth it.

On the penultimate day we get up very late and go to the waterfalls, about an hour's walk.

We divided into two groups, one with the children and with the horse Camilo loaded with provisions and the other that will go by a shortcut. We are at the intersection of the apantle and the royal road. We went up together then. The waterfalls are beautiful; the water is freezing. As always, the boys make a fire in less than a cock crows and we eat roasted meat and onions, with a sip of beer because we forgot a backpack with the rest of the Coronas.