Saturday, 20 April 2013

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

We arrived in San Cristobal after a very windy bus ride into the highlands with pine trees replacing tropical plants (yet... bananas trees still around... interesting mix).  Our ride on a coach bus was pretty comfortable (but Sean and I both get motion sickness... so not without some discomfort) and after 5 hours of foot numbing air conditioning... we disembarked from what felt like a moving meat locker!  So, okay... maybe not the greatest bus ride... but still not bad.  Arriving in San Cristobal in the late afternoon we got a taxi to the hotel that manages the apartment we are renting for the next two weeks. Easy enough... actually Eric and I keep commenting on how easy travelling has been.  We feel as if it's taking a bit of the adventure out of it all!  When we got to the hotel (a very a stylish colonial boutique hotel) we were informed that there was a problem with the hot water in the apartment so we are to stay at the hotel for 3 days while they get it fixed.  So, we are now enjoying the upgraded comfort of a beautifully decorated 2 bedroom "Villa" with fireplace, kitchen, beautiful little inner garden and the best beds (the hotels in our usual price range seldom have really comfy beds or pillows). We all had the best sleeps ever!

Happy Kerri after a good night sleep!

We have just begun to explore San Cristobal.  It's an old Spanish colonial town, similar to Antigua in Guatemala, but whereas Antigua was put on hold in it's development (when it was abandoned) and therefore retained a lot of the colonial architecture, San Cristobal continued to developed.  It's a colonial town but with more development and modern buildings... more of a mix.  The indigenous people (Mayan) live in the Barrios circling the town and come in on market days to sell their crafts and produce.  They have very different dress than what we saw in the Guatemala highlands.  The ladies wear their hair in long braids, wrapped with ribbon and they have satin colourful tops with black fur like skirts (like fake bear fur type thing).  There is a bigger range of crafts that are sold, more wool items, leather, and jewelry with amber and jade (mining is big industry around here... and amber in particular.)


Little girls selling their wares
We found it a little harder walking around though because the streets are quite narrow and so are the sidewalks.  There are however a few pedestrian exclusive streets around the zocalo (main square) which are lined with great little cafes and restaurants and shops.  There are a few open markets... one for food  and produce and used mainly for the locals and one for crafts and stuff... for the tourists.  I love walking through the markets and what I really love is that it's all kind of normal for the boys now... when we get back home going to a mall or big box shopping areas will seem strange!  Also along the streets the walls are covered with a lot of graffiti, much of it referencing the Zapatista social movement that came to international attention 20 years ago.  Along with the graffiti, there is some evidence that it is still alive and well (see the photo of the site-in taken in front of one of the churchs).  I'll have to read up a bit more on the politics of the area.  The Zapatista references are alive and well on the tourism front too, in restaurants and through t-shirts and souvenirs and has been humourously referred to as "zapatourism"!


A good find... awesome guacamole and sangrias!

We are told we'll be able to move into our apartmento this afternoon so we need to pack up again and then we'll be able to settle in and get to know this area a bit more (and also get a bit more serious with the homeschooling... we might have to add a unit on politics.)

Happy Weekend everyone!

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