Henna Artists are Human too!

About 9 months ago I received an inquiry from a client interested in booking me for her destination wedding in Tulum (one of my favorite spots in Mexico).  In the end, with expenses adding up quickly, she  went with an artist from closer to her home-town. 

Fast forward to late November. I was just finishing up my trip in Mexico, and was all finished with my other bridal hennas. With only two days left South of the Border, I was enjoying some sunshine, fish tacos, and maybe a Margarita on the beach. I think you can guess what happened next; I received a rather frantic Facebook message from the henna artist who was going to do that bride's mehndi. She was unable to make it to Mexico at the last minute, and she wanted me to do the bride's mehndi and party the very next day! My first thought was, "there goes my day at the beach", immediately followed by "thank goodness I brought extra henna supplies with me!".  Suddenly I didn't feel bad about my pricing anymore; I have over 20 years of international travel experience, and that alone is worth something. I was happy to help out, but feeling so bad for the other artist, who I knew was looking forward to working onsite in sunny Mexico. 

I mixed up a fresh batch of henna later that evening. I went to bed early, and in the morning I awoke before sunrise to get ready for the long day. I had a cup of coffee on the beach and as the sun rose, a small, intimate wedding ceremony took place on the beach, with a Shaman performing their rites of union. What a beautiful, calm way to start my day!

Sunrise over the Caribbean

Sunrise over the Caribbean

Mayan wedding ceremony on the beach

Mayan wedding ceremony on the beach

I arrived at the bride's resort, where excitement levels were running high. The bride's henna  took nearly 6 hours for her elaborate designs, but after that I still had another 4 hours of mehndi to do for her guests. I literally used up every last drop of my henna, even going so far as to squeeze the little bits left in my cones into another cone! The group was crazy about henna, so much so that they didn't want me to even take a break to eat a sandwich during my 10 hour shift. Hey now, henna artists are human too! In the end, the mehndi came out beautifully and all of the guests got several designs each. It was a privilege to be able to come to the bride's rescue and save her special day!

Old-school mehndi style with vines on the fingers

Old-school mehndi style with vines on the fingers

Elaborate mehndi feet

Elaborate mehndi feet

As successful as the day was, it was a long one, and I left  exhausted, hungry, and feeling a touch grumpy. I took an over-priced taxi (which made me all the grumpier) back to my beautifully rustic spot, aptly named Utopia, on the beach, and all of the house-guests there had gone out for dinner. I didn't know if I had it in me to go out for dinner alone, and I thought I would just go to bed with an empty stomach and brood about fact that I had to fly out of paradise the next afternoon. But then, a small miracle, some of the adorable Argentinian girls (Mavi and Sofie - love you!) who work at the beach house, and their sweet boyfriends, invited me for home-made ceviche, cerveza and wine. I can honestly say that the ceviche was to die for, and I may have been a little quiet at the dinner table, just enjoying the feeling of the sultry night air, pleasant conversation mostly in Spanish, and the warm glow of the Malbec. I slept very soundly that night.

The next morning, I crammed in my last hour of sunshine, took a quick dip in the ocean where the waves were already getting big from an oncoming cold front, and consumed a final fish taco. I said my goodbyes hurriedly, and just as I stepped into my taxi to the airport, the first drops of rain began to fall.