Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm in Shambala, a tiny commune perched on a cliff over the Mediterranean.

Accessible only by a 30 minute hike from a remote bus stop, Shambala soaks up money like a resort hotel, or like a cult. This indescribable little society is run by a three-generation matriarchal dynasty of self-described "witches"

whose bidding is carried out by a corps of volunteers

who trade a few hours work for lodging, fun in the sun, and spiritual enlightenment.

Liıke a cult, people don't leave Shambala. They come for a few days and end up staying for weeks. I don't know if it's the views, the meditation, the chakra readings, the delicious dinners

or the nightly raves. Maybe it's the communal sleeping on sofas overlooking the sea, where in the middle of the night random guests climb into bed next to you and falls asleep:

Whatever it is, as my stay ends, I too find myself asking for one... more... night.

"There is no room for you," a volunteer informs me placidly. "But you can sleep where you want and put your bags in the white tent for 40 Lira a night."

I contemplate becoming a volunteer instead.

In the end, I decided to leave. One can only become so enlightened, and anyway, maybe I don't need Shambala: the owner, Emine, had read my chakras in the temple:

and was astonished to find them in perfect harmony!

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