I Just Can´t Get Enough: San Cristobal

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
Trip End Jul 29, 2008

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Well we werenīt able to get out of Puerto Escondido on Sunday as we had hoped, though we did manage to get two seats on the 2nd class bus leaving Monday.  This was both a good th ing and a bad thing...

Bad Things:
1.  Our hostel in P.E. was a diiiiiiiiiive!! This we already knew, but not to the full extent...We came across a rat (well, a ratty looking guy anyways...uber gross) in one of the hallways of the hostel early in the evening.  That in itself was not too bad until we came back into the hostel later that night with two of the girls who worked there and their dog.  They started screaaaaaaaaaming when they saw this thing and I am ashamed to say that I found the nearest chair and stood on that watching the spectacle unfold.  The yappy dog they had proceeded to chase this nasty thing right to our hostel room so it was literally about 2 feet from our door.  So I was totally disgusted at this point and the hostel girls thought this was hilaarious!  The matter was made even worse when Nik developed a mad case of the trots and had to be in and out of the room all night  -  Every time I was convinced this dirty creature was going to find its way into our room... Blah!! Luckily, it didnīt!! 
2.  Our Mexican experience finally caught up to us both and we spent the day in fear of being too far from the next banos...Again, this is only super bad because we had the 13 hour bus ride to San Cristobal just ahead of us...

Good Things:
1.  We met this dude Marx at our hostel in P.E. the last night that we stayed there. He was super cool - he is a Mexican from Mex. City who is a lawyer.  He is renting his apt. in Mex. City and living off the profits in P.E.  He and his family are Communists (ie-Social Democrats) and his brother is named Lennon...awesome!  He was telling us a bit about the Zapitistas in the Chiapas region (where we are now), what they fight for (essentially to have Mexicanīs running Mexico, not the US or large corporations!) and why they fight the way they do.  He was telling us different stories: His dad spent two years in prison for speaking about communism with his friends, he explained how the poor are kept poor for the benefit of the rich, how the government basically stole farm land from the poor for their use (offering only 20 pesos (2 USD) per acre) and then arrested and tortured those who protested, and how fascism is ever present here.  It was just very interesting to get a localīs perspective on how the politics in Mexico work (donīt work...).  He himself is not one of the poor but explained that he is unable to turn his back on this issue...Really interesting, unbelievable and depressing all at once.
2.  We met a wonderful waitress Sylvia who we talked with for a couple of hours - We were so sick that morning that we ordered some dry toast and she brought out a coffee too.  Nik asked what kind of water the coffee was made of (since we are still trying to pinpoint the food that made us sick)...she was SOOOOOOOO insulted!! She is such a dynamic hot-headed lady, she made us feel so bad but soon came back to apologize after which everything was great!! We had such a nice chat with her and she insisted that we keep in touch - Everyone we meet here is so wonderful!! 
3.  We were told that cactus soup is the key to settling our stomachs...weīll both had a little bit (delicious!!) and will keep it in mind for the future.

So, we headed for the bus terminal around 8pm curious as to what a 2nd class bus would be about...Well, much like the Greyhounds that we have, but *no* banos!!! Nik and I were devestated!! And so nervous!!!  We figured that we were lucky to sit near the front in case we needed emergency exits, but luckily all was good!!

Our bus driver was hilarious!! He was rocking out for 9 straight hours to Depeche Mode (I just canīt get enough...) - and not a Depeche Mode mix, but the same D.M. cd on repeat for 9 hours!!! And us being seated directly behind him meant that we too were rocking out (somewhat less enthusiastically) to D.M. too. For the last 4 hours he changed it up to some classical Mexican music and then serenaded us with singing along to all the words..again, on repeat...It was so adorable!

The distance from P.E. to San Cristobal is only 645 km, but the road is just like the road to Tofino!! Super windy with lots of hills as well. 

As we entered the Chiapas region, we had to periodically pass through military checkpoints, 3 of them, that initially freaked us out.  The first time was probably the scariest for us in the sense that we had no idea what was about to happen and what the guards may want from us...The people in the cars ahead were having their cars searched by the armed guards with their vehicles all around...When our bus door opened, we were lucky they just peeked in and waved us through.  Not that they had any reason to do anything besides that, but we just donīt know how these things work down here yet.  The next two checkpoints were smooth as well and our driver was really good, so we had a good ride despite the uncomfortable seats!!

The area around San Cristobal (elevation 2100m) is absolutely stunning.  It is mountainous and lush and green.  The rolling hills near the highway have crops growing steeply up and down them and we spent a bit of time driving through the clouds as well.  It is easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. 

San Cristobal itself is equally as beautiful - wonderful friendly people, colourful indigeonous clothing is everywhere, cobblestoned streets, a very very friendly feel to the place, and easy to walk anywhere!  We have a clean posada (budget hotel) this time, family owned and fun, and are starting to feel better now as well.  We went to a Zapatista-run store tonight and bought a couple of their hand-made things, also a hammock from a market.  Everything here is so beautiful and the people making the items are really talented. 

We have a few things in mind to check out here - there are Mayan villages nearby that we can do a day trip to to check out their markets and culture, there are several museums here (some Zapatista related), lots of local artists to check out, a boat tour down some croc infested waters and then finally to the Palenque and then Tikal ruins.  This place is sweet - weīll take some photos tomorrow and load those up.

Hope everyone is well!! Nik y Sarita.
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