My Temazcal – 6/1/2007

If you are unfamiliar with Temazcal, or the traditional Mexican sweat bath, you can check it out here. If you know, or are too lazy to click, just continue on and you’ll get the gist of the process.

First, a little background:

This all occurred during my trip to Mexico City. I had been working in Mexico and during a vacation, a group of co-workers and I decided to see the sights. We had friends, also co-workers, who lived in DF (Distrito Federal) who were willing to put us up during the week vacation. This was the same vacation where I saw some crazy zoo critters. The night previous to this adventure, we had gone out partying. Hard. I may post about that some day.

It’s an early rise when you’re going to Indian Igloo, as it’s called where I was. An early rise that smelled like I jumped in a bottle of vodka and felt like a jackhammer in my head. Nonetheless, I donned my sunglasses and went along for the ride as a good guest would.

Upon arrival, I am left in the sitting area while the friend that I stayed with and his mother went somewhere. I had no idea where at the time as I was concentrating on not sharing all of last night’s alcohol with them. A lady came to me with a glass of some sort of fluid and told me that I had to drink it all. It looked like OJ so I was quite content to chug it down. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just OJ. It had kind of a funny taste to it that I couldn’t place. Considerably after the fact, I found out that my OJ had been spiked with garlic. The funny thing is that it didn’t taste that bad, or at least not bad enough that I wouldn’t drink it. After a while, my friend showed up and showed me a room to go into to change into my bathing suit. Traditionally, you would go into the Igloo naked, but I’m not tight with them like that.

So now I’m all changed and ready to go. A small ceremony is performed outside the Igloo before we go in. We enter one at a time and get situated on the floor. It is hotter than the seventh level of hell in this little place and it doesn’t help that it’s pitch black inside and there are about 3 or 4 other people in there with us. My friend makes sure I’m all situated and then we lay. Quietly.

Some folks believe that if you clear your mind and allow it to come, in the Igloo, you will see your spirit guide. Having some Native American blood running through me, I was open to this idea. Other folks might say that they make it so hot in there that you hallucinate, which might not be that far off either.

I believe that my body pushed out all of the previous evening’s vodka and I got everyone in the Igloo drunk but I like to belive crazy things. After a while, a tin of water was passed around for us to have a little sip. Shortly after that, a piece of cloth was passed around. I’m not sure what was on it, but I was told to rub it all over myself. I obliged since I figured it couldn’t be anything that would hurt me since I’m not allergic to much of anything.

More time passed by and just as I was able to ignore the heat and sweat enough to think that I might reach spiritual enlightenment, my friend tells me that I have to leave the Igloo. I don’t know why I have to leave, but rather than disturb everyone else, I just head towards the door best I can. Outside, the lady who gave me juice is waiting for me. The change of light and temperature momentarily stunned me and I allowed myself to be led to a chair. Subconsciously I may have wondered why there was an outside chair inside but my main concern was sitting down before I passed out. I sat quietly, inspecting myself, wondering what the heck was all over me, when I realized that it was a kind of muddy clay that must have been on the cloth from earlier.

What happened next was inexplicable. The juice lady returned rather stealthily and without warning, proceeded to throw a rather large bucket of ice cold water on me. I’m pretty sure I screamed right before my heart stopped. I don’t know if you’ve ever had your body temperature raised to about 1000 degrees and then dropped to just under 30 degrees, but it isn’t pleasant. She didn’t speak English and my Spanish is poor at best so she just stood there and smiled at me like this was a normal procedure. I think it was after the stupified glazed look left my face, she felt it safe to usher me back into the Igloo.

I would imagine that we sat in the Igloo for about another half an hour before a mutual decision to leave. At that point, I was escorted into a place where I could shower. I received soap and a towel and instructions to clean up and then go into the room across the hall to relax but don’t dress. I was getting a massage. Awesome!

When your body is that hot, your muscles loosen up which makes the massage 800 times better. I passed out. It was wonderful. After I was all clean and relaxed, there was another bonus: lunch! You’ll have to understand that I loves me some Mexican cuisine. To this day, I don’t know what we had, but I do know that it was delicious.

We all (my friend, his mom, and the other folks that were in the Igloo) sat down at the table to eat. There was a lot of chatter at the table, but I wasn’t really listening as I was still in my massaged state. Slowly but surely, that jackhammer fired up again. As I tried to focus on making it go away and enjoying the scrumptiousness in front of me, my friend told me that the woman in charge wanted to know if I still had a headache. Now, I know that I probably looked a little rough when we came in, but I never mentioned, not even to him, that I had a headache. Naturally, I asked if he told her that and he said that he didn’t. So I asked how she knew. He said that she sees auras. Well, that’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. I told him that yes, my head was still exploding.

Our hostess was kind enough to come over and provide me with additional massage at this point. I’m a sucker for it, so I wasn’t going to complain. While this is happening, she’s chatting with my friend. Again, I’m not really listening because it’s in Spanish and it requires too much thinking for me to understand it. The next thing I know, she decided to crack my neck. Now, I DO NOT LIKE THIS. I don’t like when the chiropractor does it and I certainly didn’t appreciate it when she did it. The look on my face must have been classic because my friend immediately told me that he said to her that I would not like that. The best part is that there was so much tension or whatever built up in there, that when it did crack, it was so loud that all conversation at the table stopped. In retrospect, quite funny but then not so much. She tried to get the other side, but I was already on guard. She still managed to get me.

After all was said and done, we thanked our hostess and went back to the house. It was a tremendous experience and if you ever have the chance, I highly suggest it. 🙂

From my "Weird Files" – 5/7/2007

Occasionally, strange things happen. More often than not, strange things happen to me. Yesterday was another episode of my own personal X Files.

I take an herbal supplement twice daily. I have a very difficult time taking pills, so it’s an ordeal. I thought that this particular capsule had gone down rather easily. I chucked it back and drowned it in water and thought that everything was okay. I thought.

But then I burped, which, in and of itself isn’t odd, but the cloud that came out of my mouth was very odd. I’m not talking about cartoon cloud of smelly burp, I’m talking literal cloud of dust came out. I thought that I was seeing things or going crazy. That may have been better. Somehow, the little guy that lives in my throat managed to get his grubby little hands on the capsule and he broke it open in my freaking throat.

There’s a reason that stuff is in a capsule. It tastes TERRIBLE! Five glasses of water later, all was back to normal, but that incident surely did nothing but make my pill-taking issue even worse.

Busting my stage cherry – 4/16/2007

So the title is graphic and a little naughty, big deal.

This is the story of my first time on stage in front of about 300 people.

When the concept of working at Club Med was first explained to me, I thought it to be interesting and fun, if not a little odd. I mean really, who pays you to do what you enjoy doing, learn to do new stuff, show off your new stuff on stage and to talk to random strangers who end up being your friend 6 days later? Well, Club Med does basically, or that was my understanding of it.

I like to dance. Mind you, I am a terrible dancer. An embarassment to anyone with rhythm actually. I can headbang with the best of them, although I’m getting off track. I have a tendency to be very active behind the bar (I think I left out the fact that I was a bartender), and therefore, I tend to be remembered if not noticed. Our choreographer, who came in for coffee every morning, was dying to get me in a show.

The problem was scheduling. You see, as a bartender, I was working during many of the rehearsal times and no rehearsal equals no show. Fortunately, in my first season working at CM, my co-workers in the bar really enjoyed drinking more than I did and were not the least bit interested in getting up early. Me, on the other hand, I would prefer to be up early and get my work done so that I can relax in the evenings. In the end, my boss gave in and let me take over all of the morning shifts so that I would have evenings free for rehearsals and shows.

These are not Broadway productions people. These were a bunch of folks whose talents lie elsewhere that were coerced into a show. A lot of rehearsals consisted of more yelling than dancing. I was behind in the learning curve since most people had already been doing rehearsals for a while before I got there, but I do learn quickly.

Here’s the thing about CM: if you’re asked to do something and you say yes, you’d better be ready to do it in a very short amount of time. I’m pretty sure I had about one week of practice before the choreographer decided that I was ready for the stage. How excited was I?!?! I told my co-workers and my boss about my pending big debut and all was happy across the land.

As the big night approached, I had no worries. How difficult could this be? That was not the correct attitude. I headed backstage before showtime and found my newly named cubby. It had my three costumes and my shoes. Whee!!! I made sure of the order of the show and pulled out my first costume and that’s when it struck.

Stage fright.

Possibly the worst case ever known to man. Okay, probably not, but my God, I couldn’t even get my shoes on. Mimi, who had the cubby next to mine, noticed that I was a bit on the nervous side.

“Sunshine, how are you doing?”

“Well, I have all my costumes, I think I remember the steps.”

“That’s good. Oh wait, you have that on backwards.”

“Ugh! This is terrible. I’m shaking like a leaf!”

“Oh, yes, this is your first show, right?”

“Sure is. I hope I don’t screw up.”

“Look, have you had a drink?”

Seriously, she asked me if I was drinking. I will not stand on a soap box and say I didn’t consider it, but I decided against it being the noob.

“Um, no.”

“Well, girl, go get one! Geez, you work in the bar, you drink for free, and you’re not having anything? Go get yourself a drink, and bring me one too.”

I’m pretty sure that I looked at her as if she had 3 heads before she told me to get a move on. There was a corridor that connected backstage with the back area of the bar and I made good use of it. I went back, got us drinks, had a shot of Jaegermeister for good luck and then headed backstage again where Mimi and I toasted my first show.

Did you know that alcohol kills butterflies? No scientific study needed. Proof positive. I went out on stage and busted a choreographed move. Not only in the first number where you couldn’t see any of our faces anyways, but in the second number and in the finale where I was in the front row!

As we changed back into our regular clothes after the show, I received congratulatory praises on my first performance. Even my boss pulled me to the side and said that I was right to fight for what I wanted to do. It was a great experience that lead to soooo many more nights on stage. After a couple years of performing, people started asking me if I’d had any experience on stage before because it always looked like I was having so much fun up there. A few people suggested that I should try a career in stage. HA! I laugh at them. I’m smiling and laughing because a)we do talk to each other up there even though you can’t hear it in the audience and b) give me a shot of Jaeger and I’ll smile at anything.

I’ve retired my stage shoes, they’ve been collecting dust for about 3 years now. That doesn’t mean I don’t get the urge to dance every now and again because I do. I just have to suppress these desires and be the mom/girlfriend/admin/web designer/soon-to-be business owner that we all know and love.

Back in the day – 4/13/2007

Disclaimer: Portions of this post are un-PC. None of this post is meant to offend.

Oh, and the end is gross.

Way, way, way back in the day when I was about 8 (before basic cable)

Sidebar: We were having watermelon. I think this story is the cause of my distaste for watermelon to this day.

We were, err, I was being silly, as an 8 year old child typically is. What made this day special was that my dad was being silly too. You just have to understand that he wasn’t a silly guy. My mom had already gotten up from the table, and in a rare moment of solidarity, my brother, father and I refused to allow her to turn the channel. Why? Because midget wrestling was on, of course.

I’m not sure that you understand how funny midget wrestling is to an 8 year old, so I’ll tell you.

We laughed. We laughed hard. My mother warned me to stop. I couldn’t. It was midgets wrestling for pete’s sake. My dad was egging us on. My mom said I was going to get sick. I didn’t care. It was hilarious and my dad was on our side. Side-splitting laughter kept occurring. I’m pretty sure one wrestler went up to the top rope. Do you know how high that is? That was it. By far the funniest thing an 8 year old has seen. Another warning came from my mother. I should have listened.

The next minute is burned in my mind forever. I was laughing hysterically as I shoved watermelon down my throat and the inevitable happened. My stomach decided that I should either laugh or eat, but not both. My brain was laughing too loud to hear my stomach, just as I was laughing too loud to hear my mom. I would say that there was no warning, but I’m sure there was for my gut erupted and the watermelon returned to the table. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday but I remember that I had a paper plate sitting in a wicker plate holder.

After the initial shock that I had thrown up, to the disgust of my mother, we kept laughing. That was a great day in Burkes history.