the last post was all about my work at the hostel Punto Verde where I’m still staying and working at, but after finishing the bar and several other projects it was time again to do some touristy stuff but to anticipate this it was not at all touristy. On saturday lunchtime I got on the bus to Jipijapa (watch the Video and you will know how to pronounce this) a three-hour bus ride from here.
At this point let me spend a few sentences about the name of this city. Jipijapa is, next to Cuenca another city more south in the Ecuadorian Andes, the main place for the manufacturing of the Panama Hat and this Panama Hat is in spanish also called Jipijapa. Now you might think, why is it called Panama Hat when it’s produced in Ecuador and that’s because in the earlier time the principal customer was the USA and their central customs point for goods from south america was Panama. So the hats had the customs stamp of Panama and that gave the name to the hats which was afterwards adopted into various languages.
But that was not the reason for me traveling to Jipijapa. When working at a hostel you meet many people/travelers from all over the world. And so I got to know Kelly and Alon a wonderful couple spending some days at our hostel. And they know a lot about ceremonies with Ayahuasca and San Pedro Cactus. With their help we got in touch with Abuelo Marcos who makes the Water Coya of the sacred cactus of the south american Andes -the medicine – and organizes ceremonies as well. Listening to their stories and explanations, Nienke, another guest staying at that time at the hostel and me got curious and we both met on saturday in Jipijapa to take part in such a ceremony. On the invitation we received it didn’t say much just as much as the location, that this ceremony included a Temazcal – ritual steam bath – and the time but it didn’t say when it is supposed to be finished but we thought, that starting at 7 we might surely be back at around midnight. So we organized ourselves a hostel in town which was not too easy, not because it was so busy, but because there’s almost no hostels and after being at one place that was packed and two places where nobody was on duty, we found a cheap place and having that accomplished we made our way to the location the Patio de Papi Moncho. Being there on time we quickly figured out, that it might possibly take a bit longer and until ten people were arriving at the venue. And that mainly because they were all Ecuadorians and coming from all over Ecuador and ourselves being the only “Gringos” and also the only greenhorns. But that was great, we gathered around the campfire with about 30 insiders and all of them lovely and open-hearted. To cut a long story short, we got back to our hostel at around 11, but, the next morning because the ceremony lasted the whole night. And thanks to Abuelo Marcos, Taita Merdado Pin and all participants, it was absolute unique. I must admit, that I cannot or better say don’t want to tell all details about all the experiences I made especially after drinking the medicine but suffice it to say that it was quite something!
On sunday everybody was so kind and nice beginning with Marcos a wonderful storyteller, all the sisters and brothers from the ceremony, the guy from the hostel who was a bit worried because we were not returning the night, the ticket seller at the bus station and the bus driver who waited with the departure until I had bought three Elephant ears in the nearby bakery to have something to eat on the bus and picked me up more or less right in front of that bakery, my boss who dropped me a text message that I should not hurry but take my time to get back to Montañita, Nienke who hopefully was not angry with me because I every now and then looked at my watch and could no better but tell her the time and finally Kylie and Dillon guests at the hostel who decided to cook themselves so I didn’t have to cook and was able to go to bed really early! On monday I was back to normal and dutiful continued my work at the hostel.
Watch the video to get some impressions of this very special ceremony and at this point sorry for the lower quality but most of it has been filmed in the night without light and parts of it in a state of not being fully present.
Aho, yours Carsten