San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
The streets of San Cristobal are what I imagine old world Europe to be like. Charming and filled with life. Walking down the stone roads, they are adorned with cafes, musicians and artists selling their wares… This is a place, I could belong in. Saturday, we take a trip during the day into a Mayan Village and whilst taking a photo of a woman, a piece of fruit gets thrown at me… The people are not so free here and you must ask permission to take their photos, which may come at a cost. Should’ve listened to Victor more carefully regarding that. Many congregate at the large church in the middle of the square. It’s old and worn. No photos are allowed inside. Entering, there is a strong smell of paint (the church is being being rejuvenated). A sea of pine needles are scattered throughout on the church floor, bringing a forest feel and scent to the building. The light is dim. Families sit on the floor affixing and lighting small bunches of candles to the tile floor, in front of their chosen patron saints. All the saints are on either side of the isle presented in large wood and glass boxes. People are making sacrifices (chickens, soft drink, food) and saying prayers. It’s mesmerising and doesn’t feel ostentatious like other churches and their groupies. It’s considerably colder and windier here and it has been drizzling off and on for the entire day. The group has post dinner drinks at a venue called “Nocturnal”. A few of us open up to each other, divulging more about ourselves. For instance, one guy confirmed his sexual preference and I confessed to being a nudist. Some of the group went home… the rest piled in Vic’s friend Monica’s car and went to an “off the radar” “underground” bar. For some reason I enter the car via the window with another doing the same. This poor woman now thinks westerns are physically incapable of opening doors for themselves. At the “underground” bar, an American bartender who makes the beer there, questions how we found out about the place as he doesn’t want it to end up on trip advisor or anything like that. No expectations. Just rock up and have a good time. Cut to, it’s after 3am and we’re skipping down the streets of San Cristobal, in the rain, completely sauced. The next morning, I wake at midday and go for a run up to a church perched on a hill “Iglasia de Guadalupe”. I ascend a decent flight of stairs and boy oh boy, did I get unfit quickly on holidays. Back into the room, Emily peels herself from the bed, not feeling as fresh and energised as I after our night out. We go for late breakfast, back up to the church on the hill. Sitting in the church, Emily signals for me to look behind her. It’s a statue of Jesus, if he was on heroin and into reggae music… Well, I’m converted. Free roaming San Cristobal we found a special place called, “fanny cafe”… No doubt it’s a hip lesbian bar that serves coffees named, “long black labia” with meal sizes varying from 10a to 14DD? The main event – Market mayhem. So many talented jewellers can be found selling their creations here – it’s overwhelming! The rain put a stop to my marketing fever – I wore a plastic bag through back to the hotel, running in ankle deep water, a smile on my face and a sadness about leaving in the morning.