After the wedding celebrations had concluded in Oaxaca city, and I was left to my own devices, I headed to the hippie beach town of Zipolite. Zipolite is located 230 km from Oaxaca City. The drive is roughly a 6 hour drive that passes through the beautiful Sierra Madre of Oaxaca. If you can get pass the curves, you’ll enjoy some wonderful landscapes. You leave the hot weather of Oaxaca city, to pass through the cold of San Jose del Pacifico, and then to the coast where its excruciatingly hot. Zipolite beach is a mile long stretch of beautiful golden sand and its water has both blue and green undertones. It is located in the southern tip of Mexico, on the Pacific. Also called “Playa del Amor” (love beach), Zipolite is a paradise for free-love and nudity. Ironically, it gets its name from the Nahuatl word “beach of the dead”. Though stunning, it has been the culprit of many deaths due to its dangerous underwater currents.
I first arrived at the city of Pochutla, where I took a 20 minute taxi ride to Zipolite. I had arranged to stay at “Villa Escondida Bungalows”, owned by the very nice Italian lady Giuliana. Luckily the Kyloma’s were there to greet me, as they were in neighbouring Huatulco celebrating their honeymoon, and decided to head to Zipolite for a couple days. In the days prior to my arrival, the Kyloma’s had met a couple people that they introduced me to. There was Jeff from the U.S., Richard from Canada, and of course the world-famous Crazyhorse Invincible (that is his real name).
On my first day I got a glimpse of what Zipolite was all about. First a fight broke out between a couple drunks and the lifeguards, one of the drunks pulled a knife and then the Federales arrived to arrest them. We then met a Canadian, who was visibly high on what seemed to be cocaine. He told us how he had arrived there just to buy some “huaraches”, but it had now been a month, and he still hadn’t been able to leave. That soon became an inside joke when Kyle would ask me a few months later if I was still looking for my “huaraches”. We also heard the story of the local resident, originally from Italy, who had raped a girl and had stabbed Crazyhorse for no reason. It was soon becoming apparent that it might not be the peaceful haven that I needed. Little did I know I was exactly where I needed to be, a place where people go to escape or want to start all over. Either you are escaping from your actions, from the past, from the law, or from yourself; as was my case.
Zipolite is known to be a hippie and backpacker hang out where you will find various categories of people. From a yoga guru to a hippie bum, to a millionaire. It is also the only nudist beach in Mexico. Unfortunately, it is always the people that should not be naked that delight us with the view of their birthday suit. No chain hotels are located on the beach, nearest hospital is 30 minutes away (learned this the hard way when I had to be taken 30 mins away to a public hospital in Pochutla, due to gallstones), and the site of police is very minimal.
Zipolite has two sides to it. The yin and the yang. One side is the “lets get waisted and party till morning scene”, the other is the “spiritual Yogi” that sees it as a refuge for meditation. I thought the later was appropriate for this time in my life. My days consisted in waking up in my bungalow, having coffee on my terrace while the mosquitoes had their daily feast on my blood, and either heading to yoga across from Villa Escondida, or going for a run on the beach. Afternoons were spent laying on the beach, then to my hammock with Netflix and/or kindle while sipping on some vino. Never too shabby.
Living in Villa Escondida was amazing. I stayed there for more than a month. It is not on the beach so its perfect to escape the rowdy high on something crowd, (you know you’re old when you’re the one saying, “The crazy kids these days!”). You have the wonderful Italian lady Giuliana, who smokes about two packs a day. Theres the sweet Jessi who made some amazing breakfast and was always so nice to clean my very messy bungalow everyday. There was also Turi, the Italian handyman who enjoyed smoking his daily marihuana joint and drank his six-pack every afternoon after work. Turi will always hold a spot in my heart, since he took me to the hospital and waited till I was ok, while I thought my last breaths of life where to be spent in the Pochutla hospital hall, screaming and agonizing in pain. Ultimately what cured my gallstones was a tea mixed with two table spoons of pure sea-salt.
Five minutes in Crazytown….
One of the greats of Zipolite is the English lad Crazyhorse Invinsible. He legally changed his name to Crazyhorse when he lost a bet. He was a great guy with a wonderful personality. I would make my rounds everyday and make a stop at the local hangout that he ran for his friend Philip, who was away for the summer. It was there I met two very nice and handsome gentlemen from Canada, Tim and Brad. I hung out with Tim for a couple days. Tim once asked me what a nice girl like myself did hanging out in Crazy-town, as he referred to the old-camper turned bar. I responded that I made my daily stops to say hi to the gang that consisted of Crazy-horse, Jeff, and Richard. He called it my Five Minutes in Crazytown. He also suggested I should write a blog of my experiences and should name it “Five minutes in Crazy-town”. Funny that phrase in a way became a metaphor for the year I was soon going to live through.
That was Zipolite for me….. A sort of sanctuary and the start of my “crazy-town” year. Many of the people I met seemed to be wanting to escape from something, or wanting to start all over. And thats what I wanted… A reboot of my life to think clearer what I wanted, and to meditate on the choices I had made in the past and to let the days guide me. Little did I know what a whirlwind of a year was still in the works for me. After all, it was only my first month…. my five minutes in Crazy-town.