My name is Carol Fraga and welcome to my article on Jardin Surrealista “Edward James”. I’m from Minas Gerais, a state in the center of Brazil. I studied Economics in college and Business in Canada for 6 months.
I started my modeling career after I moved back to my hometown. It was never a dream of mine but I had the classic story of someone “discovering” me on the streets. That was 7 years ago. I then moved to Sao Paulo for work where I lived for 10 months until the agency moved me to Thailand and the Philippines where I lived for 6 months in each country.
Back to Sao Paulo after that year abroad, I stayed there for almost 2 years. Although I must confess: I started to get bored in Sao Paulo, even though the city is great and I love it. That plus the political situation with Bolsonaro, I began to feel hopeless about my country and thought it was time to leave for the third time. I have been based in Mexico for 2 years now.
Moving to Mexico for my Modeling Career
Before moving to Mexico, I already knew that the Mexican market works really well for commercial models like myself. I had friends that had worked here, so I got a contract for 6 months with one of the best agencies in town and left everything behind in Brazil. It turned out to be a great decision.
When I arrived, everyone told me that I would end up staying longer than I was planning as apparently that is what happens to every foreigner in the country. Guess what? It’s been two years and I am still living in Mexico City!
The city is a nice place to live – full of culture and opportunities for models like myself who want to progress their careers. I must say that COVID played a part in me staying longer but it was only one of the reasons. Now, I have my life here with no plans to leave (at least in the next few years).
My Experience at Jardin Surrealista “Edward James”
I don’t remember who exactly told me about Jardin Surrealista “Edward James” but it was not so long after I first arrived in Mexico. I have the scene in my mind that I googled the garden and it went straight onto my Mexican bucket list, even though I thought it would be one of those places that we always wish to visit but never get the chance to actually go there.
I wasn’t sure that I could make it because the garden was not well known (even with Mexicans) and the few people that had heard about it said that it’s located in a small town which is hard to get to. It also seemed to be a place which didn’t have a lot of infrastructure in terms of accommodation.
What changed that idea was when my new boyfriend (who I haven’t talked about yet) told me that a group of friends were going to Xilitla for a weekend and were planning to visit Jardin Surrealista “Edward James”. The challenge was the road. It’s a road full of curves in the mountains that Google Maps told us would take around 7 hours to make the 440km.
That said, one part of the group decided to go by helicopter (which was also a good excuse to have that new experience) and the other by car. We stayed in a ranch where it was nice to rest but also to have adventures like zip-lining and hiking. All in all, it was a wonderful trip full of adventure!
It was a short trip though, so Jardin Surrealista “Edward James” was the only touristy place we visited (besides the activities on the ranch). But we could tell that Xilitla – where the garden is located – basically relies on tourists. So it was good to support the town in the small way that we could.
Xilitla is also famous for having the Cave of Swallows (Sotano de las Golondrinas) which is a cave where thousands of beautiful birds create a spectacle in the morning. That is actually what made Edward James fall in love with the place and construct all of those incredible sculptures.
What I liked most about the garden is how the sculptures are integrated into nature. The garden also has some beautiful waterfalls to discover. It was amazing to hear the guide describe how Edward James used to live his life here. On the other hand, it was unfortunate to learn that his sisters didn’t leave his body here after his death as he had wanted.
Tips for your Visit to Jardin Surrealista “Edward James”
Visiting Jardin Surrealista “Edward James” isn’t a luxury experience or a fancy trip in any sense. But it is an amazing place for people who like to learn new stories which are totally “outside of the ordinary”. The garden inspired me and it was a joy to explore! The main tips I can give are:
- Wear comfortable clothes and comfortable shoes.
- Pay attention to your tour guide. Learning the history of the garden and imagining the scenes that the guide describes brings the garden alive!
- Be prepared for humid weather conditions and temperature changes.
- Bring your camera – the scenery and sculptures are amazing!