Where the Wild Things Are (in Mexico)—Part 3Part of: Travel
[Breakfast: a broccoli cheddar quiche and a Morrocan Mint green tea]
This unique pre-Hispanic tradition is commonly referred to as a "sweat lodge" treatment and is considered to be a unique pre-Hispanic purification ritual and the place where one connects with the spirit of water, plants, air, earth and fire.
The Temazcal is similar to a steam room, taking place in an igloo constructed of clay bricks, piloncillo (raw cane sugar) and medicinal herbs. The ceremony begins with a brief explanation, while each participant applies a healing mud scrub to their body, made of cucumber, papaya and various herbs. The scrub is applied to the body and washed off in the ocean, revealing fresh, smooth, exfoliated skin.
DK and I watched three blue whales playing in the ocean just before we headed off to the Temezcal. I was trying to remember the symbolism of a whale that I’d learned in one of my Native American studies classes, but nothing came up. Whales were definitely good. We noted that a fatty American couple was already waiting by the Temezcal—15 minutes early. The woman was fatter than her boyfriend was. I considered suggesting that she try out for "The Biggest Loser," one of my favorite reality shows (it’s really well-produced) because it’s a shame to have such a young woman so overweight and they are looking for new contestants. But I nixed the idea because it seemed like something Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" would do.
I was excited that a Mexican Shaman was overseeing our Temezcal experience, so I was shocked when the same fortysomething Swiss guy who’d given me a massage the other day was also the resident Shaman—WTF? We were paying $200 for a white Shaman? I should’ve waited and gone to a real Native American sweat lodge that I know of in L.A. All you have to do is bring a tobacco offering for the real McCoy. Now we’d lose our money if we didn’t do the Temezcal. They knew exactly what they were doing. This hotel was crafty.
Supposedly we were starting the Temezcal a half an hour earlier than usual due to the imminent departure of one of the couples. It soon became clear that had been a lie—we were supposed to start early for the journalist who showed up at the regular time that the Temezcal was supposed to start. She muttered something about the clock in the room being wrong. After the Temezcal orientation, we all got to slather our bodies with a special mud mixture that also contained herbs. We were supposed to rub the mud on each other’s backs. Just as DK was about to do mine, Swiss Shaman jumped in—Ew. "I know this back!" he remarked as he massaged the mud in. Was that equivalent to a cock block?