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Friday, February 5, 2016

The Lauras Go to Mexico

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Hola, queridos amigos,

Just got back from a soul-filling writing retreat in Tulum with one of my closest friends, Laura Pritchett... and it was abracadabrant! In addition to sharing my name, Laura also lives in Fort Collin, also is in Old Town Writers' Group, and also gets the winter doldrums in February (and this winter's been tough-- snow on the ground since November, plenty of days in the single digits and teens) .... and we also both had airline vouchers just waiting to be used.... So we spontaneously decided to soak in some sea and sunshine and tropical greenery and warmth together last week to lift our spirits.

 SUCH a good idea!


Laura writes books for *grown-ups* although there's some crossover with older teen audiences.... her most recent novels are Red Lightning and Stars Go Blue, and they're fantastic and you should read them (along with her other 6 books)!  More that we have in common: celestial things like Lightning and Stars in our titles, and colors like Red and Blue/Indigo in our titles... and we both have 8 books out at the moment.... and we like old stuff and Mexico (and I could go on and on).  Suffice to say, she was the perfect retreat companion!



Here's where we spent most afternoons-- reading and writing ("working") on the beach and taking occasional ocean dips and beach walks.





Passion fruit ice cream!  I love this flavor so much-- perfect mix of tart and sweet-- and the crunch of the seeds is deeply satisfying.  Here, we're on the beach chairs of the Alma hotel, but our favorite evening place for food (and magical ambiance and live salsa music) was La Zebra.

 

Before this trip, I'd just finished yet another revision of my futuristic speculative fiction YA novel, which is set on a tropical island (specifically, on a a beach, in a jungle, and in a mysterious lab facility.)  So of course I was noticing all the subtle multi-sensory details of the water so I can describe it better when I do the inevitable *next* revision.




 Seaweed has some significance in the book...


I also jumped back into my new manuscript-on-progress, which is middle-grade (ages 8-12) and involves chocolate and the Amazon rain forest.  I love working on something in a new place-- I always get interesting ideas and think more outside-the-box.  I read that working in expansive places makes your mind think in a more expansive way.... and that was definitely the case sitting with my manuscript in the expanse of sea and sand and sky.

 

So, let's see... we *did* do some things beside write and read and walk and swim.  Laura visited the cool Coba Mayan ruins, where I've already been a few times, and wrote about in another post. I went to a yoga class in this studio on the beach... behold my view from the mat!


One morning, we visited a nearby cenote (a freshwater lake connected to an underground cave system, sacred to the Maya). This one was called Cenote Encantado, and was just down the road by a campground. It was surrounded by mangroves, and supposedly there were some baby crocodiles floating around nearby. We rented out a little boat and did some snorkeling and felt minorly freaked out by the baby crocodiles (which stayed hidden).


We stayed in a simple, sweet ecolodge called Las Palmas Mayas on the side of the road opposite the beach, which was just a one minute walk away.  Woulda been nice to stay right on the beach, but this place was much, much cheaper. And it had a kitchen where we could fix ourselves breakfast and tea and snacks, which made it very budget-friendly.


View from my window:


In the courtyard area:

 

Palmas!


Always fun to check out the folk art.... I got some smaller skeletons for Lil Dude-- a snorkeling skeleton, a dog skeleton, and a guitar-playing skeleton, since that's what he's into these days. :-)


It felt so good to soak in flowers and leaves and COLOR after being in the brown and white landscape of Fort Collins for the past three months.



So grateful to Ian for taking such good care of Lil Dude all week and taking time off work for sled-riding on the snow day.  (Did I mention there was a *blizzard* while we were gone?)  


Thanks for reading!

xo,
Laura