So this is the part when I get to share funny stories, more pictures, and all of the things I learned while on my wonderful Spring Break trip. It will probably take me several posts to cover everything I want to talk about because my head is so full. The first night back, I woke up multiple times trying to figure out where I was. That almost never happens to me, but I guess being in six different hotels in fourteen days will do that to you.
I want to start with our first stop, beautiful San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. (Emphasis is on the second syllable in Cristobal. That took us a while to learn.)When we got off the plane in the capital of Chiapas, we still had an hour ride to our destination. The bus was full and another wouldn’t be going out for several hours so we opted to take a taxi. After the taxi driver received our ticket, he walked past the two ladies I was traveling with and took my suitcase. As I’m laughing and apologizing to my friends, the taxi driver yanks my bag off the curb and in the process breaks the handle, which left him off balance and knocked his sunglasses off his head. So began a heavy itinerary with a broken suitcase. Grrr. The taxi driver also passed people at least 50 times on a no-passing windy mountain road while talking on his cell phone. Just great.
We had a homey, rustic cabin a short walk from the city center, but nicely secluded in the mountains where we couldn’t hear the crowds at night or the church bells in the morning. The city was beautiful and full of Semana Santa tourists. There are two streets off of the main square that are strictly pedestrian and they would completely fill up with people especially around meal times and at night. It was interesting that most of the non-Mexican tourists were European, not American. This led to some interesting conversations. On a boat ride down the Cañon de Sumidero, I got to talk to a Swedish couple who were asking me about the upcoming elections and shared their own views when I asked.
There is a huge backpacking culture in Chiapas with a hippie subculture. I wish I could have subtly taken pictures. I haven’t seen so many dreadlocks since my trip to Asheville, NC.
The best part of San Cristobal is probably the market. There is a huge market with artisan crafts for very reasonable prices, often produced by the person vending them or by their family. Clothing, blankets, wool ornaments, leather bags, and amber jewelry can be found in wide variety. We went to the market several times during our stay to pick up a few things here and there. There were also many beautiful churches and delicious restaurants.
After a few days stay in Palenque, we came back to San Cristobal for one more night and Easter Sunday. I didn’t manage to catch a catholic service like I had hoped to, but I did pass two churches I’m assuming were Protestant. In one of them, the pastor was passionately speaking into the mic as The Lion King soundtrack swelled in the background. Well, that was an interesting choice.
Another thing I found interesting was the street art and graffiti. That’s not normally me, but in San Cristobal, a lot of it was political/social. After what I learned in helping with the 7 Dresses Exhibit, some of them seemed very relevant. The following say “Without women there is no revolution”, “Machoism kills”, “My name is not mamacita, precious, my love, etc.”, plus one for fun!
Photos are all my own.