The Hacienda Uxmal

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There is a story here and it is a good one.
It's about a hotel, in Mexico. And a girl, just barely 23. She was from Connecticut- raised on cable knit sweaters, kilts and country clubs. An honest-to-god graduate of charm school. A horse girl with straight hair and absurd cheekbones. You know the sort. Okay, stay with me now, this girl was my mom.
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Destined to be the wife of a doctor lawyer engineer something something and that was that. But, she turned her life in another direction, it was the 1960s after all. She was hardly the first girl to think about Hare Krishna more than Harvard.
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Which explains how she found herself alone, at 23, hitchhiking through Mexico. She planned to meet friends, but never found them. Rather than leave, she went on. Shortly after, her wallet and her passport were stolen and she was sleeping outside. (They say it was a different time.)
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She was stupefied with youth, obviously, to not go back to Connecticut. But brave, too and she just wasn't ready to leave. She met strangers and they took her in. She slept on dirt floors, she lost weight and saw the sights. She stayed for weeks, then months, but couldn't go home until she made it to Uxmal.
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Uxmal is a town, if you can call it that, in the Yucatan peninsula. There is no stoplight, there is no store. There is just a hotel and some ruins. People only go there for one reason and that, of course, is for the ruins. Thousand year old Mayan ruins in the middle of the jungle.
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She hopped a bus and saw them. (They are glorious, I can attest.) At night she huddled at the bus stop, hoping for a ride deeper into the Yucatan but the bus never came. She made a nest in the jungle to sleep, but the mosquitoes weren't having it. She headed towards the only shelter around.
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The hotel wasn't just a hotel. It was basically a palace, hosting that year both Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth. She didn't have money, she just wanted to tuck into a cabinet, a corner, a janitors closet- anything.
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She was whittled down to not much more the then essentials- tanned skin, a pack full of dresses and a starving stomach. She walked in late and saw the front desk was empty. Deserted. Unwatched. Lonely except a long line of room keys. Unthinking and unplanned, she snatched one up and showed herself home.
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For the next three days she stayed, sipping coffee and swimming laps. She cleaned up nice and didn't draw any notice. I mean, she was from Connecticut, she could behave herself if she needed to. She trespassed and then traveled on. 
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She had a birthday this winter, a big one. We took her back to Mexico for the first time in almost 40 years, to make reparations and celebrate her. We did it just the four of us and and this time, we paid.

98 comments:

  1. Best thing I've read all day. Now *that's* a great story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  2. Wow what an amazing story! Thanks for sharing this inspiring and adventurous story! I am new to your blog but have truly loved all your posts. Take Care

    -Lissa

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  3. Wow, I wish I had been alive in those days. What an incredible story.

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  4. Excellent story! Wish I had one like that to tell. :)

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  5. Great post, and wonderful story!! What an amazing gift you all are to each other!

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  6. What a beautiful story. I hope I have a similar one to tell someday. :)

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  7. I enjoyed reading this so much. Thank you!

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  8. What a wonderful story, and such a creative way to tell it. I'm still smiling! Happy Birthday to your adventurous mother!

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  9. Such a charming story. Happy Birthday to your mum!

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  10. Amazing! I love this story. Your mom is amazing.

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  11. Beautiful story and photos. Love this!

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  12. goosebumps, lady! full circle is a beautiful thing, what a lovely story, what a lovely heroine, what a lovely setting

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  13. I am determined to start living my life like that. Ever since you had these trip photos on Instagram, I have been drawn to that place too for some reason. It is inspiring that you and your family would celebrate your Mom's life in such a manner. Such a phenomenal story

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  14. Wow. That is an amazing story! It gave me that "life is beautiful" feeling, and now I have wanderlust more than ever.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    -Hannah
    darladear.blogspot.com

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  15. wow, goosebump! that is such a beautiful story - what a strong, brave woman your mother must be! I'm sure her stories would be some of the best.

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  16. I'm celebrating a big birthday of my mom's today too - and let me tell you, although it is special, it isn't nearly the story that this was! :)

    I love the way you tell stories.

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  17. That floor is absolutely fantastic! Such a beautiful story.

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  18. Thank you for this STORY.

    ♥ ♥ ♥
    Franka

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  19. Fabulous! What a wonderful story! ...and they say our parents led sheltered lives. What a brave adventurous she is.
    Lesley
    xx

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  20. Lovely! What adventure! It's such a nice idea to revisit an important memory on an important birthday! I have to remember that! :)

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  21. lovely pictures and story you are sharing with us :)

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  22. Wow, what an amazing story :)

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  23. I read your story. You share such nice adventure story. I like your post as well as I impress by your images. You have done great work.

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  24. This is such a beautiful story! You have an amazing mom. Such a fantastic way to celebrate her!

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  25. Got tears in my eyes. What a story with family love. I can imagine your mothers joyful love visiting her youth memories.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Love from Sweden
    Susanna

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  26. You obviously have a very loving family....how very fortunate you are.

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  27. Happy Birthday Connecticut Mom!

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  28. Amazing story!!! What a great birthday gift!!

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  29. Gosh I love your blog. Your stories, your pictures, your flowers. There is the same sentiment running through all of it, and its lovely.

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  30. wow that is so incredible. I want to go there now!

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  31. Great story - your mama is a brave cookie, tell her she has a swedish fan! :-)

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  32. At first I thought I was reading about MY mother, but she traveled alone in Mexico in the 1950's, fresh out of Yale Art School. She ended up in Chichen Itza, at a hotel outside the ruins there. We went back, as a family of 4, in the late 1960's to celebrate her birthday in the same place she had stayed when she was a younger woman. Women who travel alone in Mexico are a rare breed. Happy Birthday to your mum.

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  33. wow. i almost broke down into tears. great post :))
    -jocee <3

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  34. that is such an awesome adventure story. your mum sounds like so much fun! :)

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  35. That story rocks! Thanks for cheering up a dreary Friday afternoon :)

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  36. one of my favorite posts, ever, on the internet. a great story. the stuff life should be made of.

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  37. Your mom was brave and determined, that goes without saying, but she also lived in a time when what she did was possible.

    You said, "There is a story here and it is a good one." Unfortunately, it left me hungry for more. Did your mom keep any sort of journal? Did she ever write about how she got out of Mexico? Was she rescued?

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  38. That is such a cool story! Your parents sound wonderful, I've loved every story you've told us about them :)

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  39. Amy, You story gave me chills. You are an amazing talent. Bobbi

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  40. I always look forward to your posts and with this one you didn't disappoint.
    I am probably close to your mom's age and could relate to her story as one of my own.
    Thank you for the tale and the beautiful pictures.

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    Replies
    1. I'm Carin with a "C", too. Startling to see it, since I rarely see it spelled that way. My mom chose it for me when I was born.

      Carin B.

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  41. Love this story. Eloquently told. I feel almost transported back in space and time. Happy big birthday apple's mom! Hope she and you all enjoyed the trip.

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  42. that is the coolest story I have heard in a long long time. so glad I stumbled upon it!

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  43. I love this story! And the photos from the hotel make it so much more vivid. Your mother must be a force! Really lovely, thank you for posting this!

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  44. Such a beautiful story...it brought me to tears. And you told it beautifully, too, which makes all the difference!

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  45. Fabulous story and being of your mother's generation I found myself very envious. She sounds divine and brave. . .thank you for sharing. Love the photos! I could feel the shade.

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  46. I can attest that Mexico's magic is so alluring, you don't want to leave. Particularly the Yucatan (I've also stayed at this hotel and visited Uxmal numerous times). I keep returning every few years because I just can't stay away. I'm glad your mom and now you have been dazzled by Mexico's beauty. I too have traveled alone there but it's so much nicer when you drag family along. :)

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  47. so before you get your book deal and become a beloved, celebrated author, and comments like mine become one in a million, i just want to let you know that every time i stop by your blog, i feel so thrilled to be a young woman in new york city -- to be a young woman in general. reading this post in particular makes me think i want to be a woman as adventurous and spirited as your mother; i hope my life can be as storied as hers so that i can have children who are just as inspired and inspiring as you.

    you are awesome. your mother is awesome. thank you for making my day yet again with another beautiful post.

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  48. I have goosebumps. What a blog post, amazing! Your Mom is inspirational!!!

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  49. Such a beautiful story! So beautiful

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  50. That is seriously the best story I've ever read on any blog. Your mom should write a book.

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  51. So awesome. I love this story and so glad she went back

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  52. Gonna add my tiny two cents to this waterfall of praise; this is a beautiful, wonderful, story, well and simply told, and the photos are glorious.
    You mother sounds excellent. I hope she still is.

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  53. so pretty, everything is perfect

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  54. Your words and photos knock me out again and again.......

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  55. This is a beautiful story, thanks for sharing :)

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  56. such a beautiful story, Amy! And the photos make it even better. What a wonderful gift to your mother.

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  57. That is wonderful! How fabulous to have a Mum with such a story to tell. And how wonderful to take her back to her youth.

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  58. Amazing story! It actually almost brought tears to my eyes! I had a very memorable experience that was sort of similar to this from spending 2 months backpacking around Spain and Portugal... but I never ended up in a palace!

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  59. I love this story. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  60. Wow, I was lost for a moment, fantastic story. Thanks, I needed that!

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  61. beautiful story, beautiful photos, thanks for sharing this journey with us.

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  62. What a lovely post...well worth the wait!

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  63. I couldn't stop reading...so captivating! Please tell more stories!

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  64. what an amazing inspiring adventurous story! her spirit has passed on to you and your sister. you have such a lovely connected family. it's really beautiful to see (or read about).

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  65. What a wonderful and inspiriing post and not to mention what an inspiring lady your Mum is! Happy Birthday to her and thank you for sharing this enchanting story.

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  66. loved reading this! thanks for sharing the story!

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  67. I love stories & pictures about your parents...my generation...but they stuck with their beliefs and with each other.

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  68. This was such a fantastic story.

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  69. such an amazingly fantastic story...and so well told! loved reading this...thanks for sharing!

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  70. My eyes are watery after reading this. I love to hear about an adventurous heart.

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  71. what a fabulous story! you have a beautiful gift of sharing a story in very simple terms with the pictures and short wordings :) your mom is a lucky one to have such a cool anniversary trip of sorts!

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  72. Great story. Thanks for sharing. It inspires me to live an adventurous and true-to-me life that one day will hopefully be worth sharing.

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  73. holy m-fin' shit. that's amazing.

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  74. amazing. such a great story.. thank you for sharing it with us.

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  75. Oh my, what a seriously amazing blog you have. "She was hardly the first girl to think about Hare Krishna more than Harvard"... I love this.

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  76. Gorgeous story - beautifully told!

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  77. a beautiful homage to your mom wonderful adventure (albeit somewhat scary as well).

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  78. Gorgeous veranda and flooring! Also love the beautiful floral embroidery on the white dress. A lovely blog and story. Thank you for inspiring us newby bloggers (Sampson and Lorrie - a mother/daughter duo)

    www.puddlesprice.com

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  79. What a beautiful story! You are a great story teller: both verbally and with images. Thank you for sharing.

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  80. Absolutely beautiful! Both the story and the photos. It made me wanna leave my job and go travelling again:)

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  81. Why isn't this a book......I don't want it to stop!!

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  82. Yes, this SHOULD be a book. I have been behind on your blog, and don't usually comment, but I had to! Lovely stories, lovely picture.

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  83. Tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat but both happy ones!! This must have been the most special time for you and your gorgeous Mum even though I don't know her I had a visual all the way through your post......a brave, adventurous and extremely resourceful woman Brava to your Mum
    Carla x

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  84. Wow to story and to photographs - pure wow.

    Found you via Brian Ferry, another wow.

    Peace.

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  85. oh, i i like the color of your photos. great atmosphere and it makes
    vibrant

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