San Christobal was a delightful small town. Nestled in the mountains, the town centre is small and winding, with thin cobbled streets that are bustling in the mornings but empty as anything at night.
After arriving early in the morning from Oaxaca, we explored the village on the first day – finding markets of all sorts. San Christobal is famous for its women’s weaving cooperatives, where indigenous women from the area sell intricate, brightly coloured and finely woven materials, most often small purses.
We also went to a local cinema to watch a Zapotista documentary. The Zapotistas were a San Cristobal based rebel group who were prominent in the mid 90s, fighting for greater social equality for the Indigenous people of Chiapas. The documentary outlined some figures for the state- something like 70% of indigenous children in the region didn’t finish first grade. The Zapotistas, although breaking a lot of ground (even taking control of some cities at one point) were repeatedly rejected by the Mexican government, with false promises made left right and centre about improving areas of concern. Although the Zapotistas were special to San Christobal, we saw much more political action in Oaxaca.
On the second day, we were dropped off at a natural park not far out of the city, where we read our books in the sunshine and explored the first bit of natural landscape we had seen so far in Mexico. The driver scammed us going there – charging us double what we had agreed when we first got in the car – so we didn’t have any money to get a car back. We had to walk for 2 hours to get home, but it was a blessing in disguise as we saw bits of the suburbs of San Christobal that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Also- I am reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – it’s phenomenal! So beautifully written and absolutely spellbinding, in a weird way – I don’t really understand where the book is actually going but still keep reading it. It is fast becoming a favourite.
On our last morning in the town, we organised a tour to Sumidera Canyon. We went on a boat ride through the canyon, the tour guide stopping every few minutes explaining the significance of the natural landscape. We picked up a few statements, but most of it went over our heads as we are not yet able to decipher Spanish! Some of the landscape reminded me so much of New Zealand. Travel half way across the world just to see the same thing, eh?
It was so upsetting to see how much rubbish pooled in the stagnant areas of the canyon. There was so much that the boat had to purposefully avoid the thousands of bottles and plastic that riddled the water.
A favourite moment of the trip so far was dinner on our last night there. The lonely planet recommended a place called “No Name Quesadillas”, which curiously was only open 8-10.30pm 6 nights a week. After much confusion, as indeed there was no name, we found the quesadilla haunt. The back door courtyard of a woman’s house, we arrived to an area laid out with small tables lit by candlelight, and a selection of vegetarian dishes. The woman standing behind the counter explained the process while breastfeeding her child. We ate the best food we had this far that night – a drink made out of coarsley crushed strawberries and several different vegetable and cream based quesadillas. The atmosphere was perfect and the food even better. Wish I had taken photos – but i haven’t so far photographed any food! I feel too awkward-Melbourne-wannabe-instafamous.