Las Pozas: The Surreal Garden
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
In the afternoon, I grabbed a cab for Las Pozas, the jungle-drowned remains of a concrete wonderland built by wealthy aristocrat artist Sir Edward James. My cab driver spoke no English but we communicated enough to find out he’d had little work when I said “Mucho trabajo?” He shook his head and answered “poquito”, then I gleaned “lluvia Katia”, “escuela” and “tourista” to understand why.
As we rolled up the muddy, rocky road to Las Pozas, he said “mucho agua mañana” as a response to my stating I was on a motorcycle journey, warning me of heavy rains the coming day. I’d been torn as to whether to change plans and head inland this morning to escape Hurricane Katia’s downpours, but heavy morning rains seemed to indicate she'd already arrived. No matter, the day had become relatively dry which allowed me to explore the little streets of Xilitla.
Passing roadside trinket vendors we quickly arrived at the entrance gate. The teenage boy selling tickets was perturbed that I didn't speak Spanish well, insulting me under his breath. I paid entry and began the walk. The surreal sculptures and buildings were in one of the lushest areas I’ve ever been, green fungus-covered concrete forms, plant-like shapes and buildings were woven together in random patterns, in great detail and artistic form that boggled the mind as to the time and expense involved in creating this world.
The humidity was thick, and despite reasonable temperatures I was drenched as if by a downpour in about 5 minutes. Pathways of natural stone wound and twisted up and around the steep terrain, passing under and through vegetation and towering trees. They led to surprise fantasy structures with no purpose other than to exist as forms of imagination.
The sounds of a rushing mountain stream were the backdrop in a massive tangle of jungle growth, glimpsed occasionally from dripping, moss covered concrete steps and structures.
I wandered about in this Alice in Wonderland place, occasionally photographing tourists with their phones, posed against the backdrop of surreality.