Saturday, July 31, 2004

Week 5 - Queretaro to San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

July 24-30, 2004

Queretaro, Queretaro to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas


Saturday - Left Queretaro by bus and spent an afternoon in Mexico City. Got misinformed in Queretaro and ended up at the wrong bus terminal in Mexico City - which is one of the biggest cities in the world (around 20 million people). It was an adventure to get to the correct bus station (TAPO) by subway. Fun to watch people before we took a 13 hour overnight bus ride to Tuxtla Gutierrez where we switched the bus for our final destination...San Cristobal de las Casas.

Sunday - Nice overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas which is in Chiapas state. Arrived very early which was great. Very nice city. Enjoyed music in the park (free every Sunday here). Danced a bit too. Again, many people out at night...with friends and family. Here you can see many of the indigenous people in their beautiful and colorful clothing. Here is a web site created by a traveler who spent a lot of time in Chiapas.

Came across another awesome local annual fair. Hiked up to a hilltop to enjoy the music and fun.

Walking down a street in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Oh, by the way...Brasil won the Copa America!!! Like baseball, basketball, and football are big in the United States, soccer is huge in Latin America.

San Cristobal de las Casas pics...

EZLN - Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (National Liberation Zapatistian Army) - July 26

Monday - Went to see a documentary in a local bar-restaurant-language school, El Puente (The Bridge), that had a small theater. The title was "Zapatistas: Cronica de una Rebelion" (Chronicle of a Rebellion) Documentary - Chiapas - 2003. This film was extremely helpful in explaining the difficulties the various Chiapas native groups have been facing for many decades and still face today. Click here, Zapatistas, for more info, and here, Chiapas revolt. (For more extensive information, see Mexican Commentary posting - which will be posted after leaving Mexico.)

Singers, dancers, and musicians from Spain, representing its many areas, put on a free show outside in front of a cathedral. Amazing, amazing, amazing.....

Friday - Walked 20 km (just under 13 miles) on a trip to a small village called San Juan Chamula outside of San Cristobal. In this Tzotzil village, some men wore traditional clothing, while all women wore traditional garb (bright blouses, colorful shawls, gray or black thick wool wraps (long skirts). All women had long hair - mostly in two braids. No photos are being posted because some of these natives believe that the camera (photographs) steals their soul - we are respecting that.

In the central plaza was an outdoor market and the main church. This church was gorgeous on the outside and fantastically amazing on the inside. It is very difficult to describe. I have been to many churches of many denominations and have never seen anything like this. There were no pews, but rather, hay scattered throughout the floor with families sitting in individual groups on the floor, chanting, and lighting candles. There were an unbelievable amount of candles lit all over - on the floor, on tables, and in front of statues - literally 1000´s of them. The entire perimeter was lined with glass encased statues of Christian saints. It was an amazing experience. The walk was really good as it provided a more well rounded experience - seeing a lot more than downtown "must-see."

Photos from the walk...

In the evening, free outdoor theatrical performances were being put on in the plaza... along with more musical entertainment.

San Cristobal and the surrounding area have been super fantastic. Thinking of leaving in the next day or two... perhaps to Maya ruins in Palenque...

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