Tedx, Mayan Ceremonies and Streets Full of Locos in San Miguel de Allende
A Food Festival, Indian ceremony, Tedx event and Dia de Los Locos festival were all packed into the past two weeks here in San Miguel de Allende. I had no idea all of this was going to happen but it turned out to be a great time and good example of all the wonderful things this beautiful city has to offer.
On Thursday night I got a call from a friend of mine who needed some technical help putting on Tedx San Miguel de Allende. I agreed to help him and since it was a last minute job I went out to meet him where he was at a luxurious thermal pool on the outskirts of town.
As I got there I noticed there were a bunch of young people that I didn’t recognize hanging out in the pools and it turned out that there was a global entrepreneurship networking event in town called Sandbox. As it’s own website says the best way to describe it would be a “A mobile society of the world’s most extraordinary young game changers”. In order to get accepted to Sandbox you need to be under 30 and show tremendous potential as someone who will be making an impact throughout your life. Needless to say there were many fascinating people there to talk and network with while relaxing in the pools over looking the mountains surrounding the city.
While I was there having a great time meeting these new people my friend tells me about a sauna that they will be starting soon along with an indigenous ceremony. I thought that going for a quick sauna break wouldn’t be a bad idea so I went to find out where everyone was going. Once I found where it was being held I saw everyone squeezing into a small building that looked like this…
I got inside where there were around 20-30 other people. Then I noticed that in the middle were three female shamans surrounding a pit where they were placing red hot rocks. What I was unaware of at the time was that I had just wandered into what is called a Temazcal, a sweat lodge ceremony the indigenous people of central Mexico have been doing for thousands of years.
Once everyone was in they closed the door so that there was absolutely no light inside. The only thing that I could sense was the heat of the air against my skin. Of course by this time I was trying to figure what the hell I had just gotten myself into and a sense of fear began to come over me. The shaman then sprinkled spices on the rocks along with water. The smoke and steam filled the air and covered me like a warm blanket.
Slowly they began to chant. What started as a low single melody turned quickly into a loud chant with everyone singing along. There was a basic chant but just about everyone inside was singing along and ad-libbing whatever their emotions were telling them to along with the rhythm. This went on for quite a while and as the sweat poured from my body my mind began to wander into all kinds a new places. I lost track of time and although they did open and close the door a few times we were sitting in pitch black for around three hours. I was skeptical at first but at the end found the whole thing to be a wonderful experience that I would definitely do again.
After that we had a kick off for the Tedx weekend with what is strategically named Fuck-up nights. These events started in Mexico city as small groups of people getting together to talk about their failures and what we can all learn from them. They quickly grew and in only one year are now in over 33 cities in 11 countries with the one in Mexico city normally bringing 200-300 people and one event actually attracting around 600 people! This was a great event and was held at the beautiful Otomi residential development. The speakers shared great stories of failure and how it has brought them to their present successes.
The night was great but we soon had to move on to get started on the Tedx event. We started at noon the next day rehearsing with the speakers and making sure the presentations were in order. Although it was a little stressful at times we pulled it off without a hitch and it turned out to be a very successful event.
There were many facinating speakers on a variety of subjects such as the physiological implications of psycopathy, music in the information age and addressing the water issues in the surrounding area.
Once the talks were over the attendees and speakers were invited to several venues where we were able to meet the speakers and discuss their talks with them. From the beautiful sunset bar to Casa Dragones (a former horse stable now turned in to a venue for private parties) we walked and enjoyed the night well into the early hours of next morning.
The next day we decided to end it on a relaxing note and meet at the beautiful Mayan Baths, one of the many thermal pools around the city of San Miguel de Allende. It is a regular past time in San Miguel to spend your Sundays soaking up the sun in the warm water of one of these pools while visiting with family and friends.
While that was quite an incredible time things in San Miguel de Allende weren’t finished. Next was the Sabores de San Miguel food festival where for three days they had all of the best restaurants and catering companies represented in the Park offering samples of their best food and drinks for 20 pesos ($1.50 US) each. This lasted three days with many different bands and DJ’s playing as well as well as cooking classes throughout the day. Local brewers, five star restaurants and organic catering services were some of those represented at this unique event.
To top it all off on the last day there was a local festival called “Dia de Los Locos” (Day of the Crazies) . This is a festival that started long ago when harvest time came for the orchards with cherry, pear, apple and guava trees. These were then turned into candy and to celebrate the patron saint of St. Pascual Bailón the locals would take to the streets with costumes and throw out candy for the local children. The day long parade was full of all kinds of characters dancing in the streets while all the children held out their bags shouting for “dulces! dulces!”.
Just another great couple of weeks here in San Miguel de Allende. I can think of no other place where you can enjoy international business events one day and local indigenous ceremonies and festivals the next in the same city.