After a 5.5 hour bus trip through the mountains and jungle, which was all very beautiful, we arrived in San Cristobal de las Casas, capital city of Chiapas.We checked into a hostel near the Zócalo, the town's central square, and proceeded to wander the streets and get familiar with our new surroundings. Luckily we had a good list of restaurants provided by friends who had been there before and we were soon anxious to eat after the long trip. Our first stop was at El Caldero, a place of exceptional soups. This was a perfect choice for the chilly weather with the drop of temperature in the early evening.
|I loved the flowers here---and the coffee. I'm wearing my new shawl.|
Following the marimba music, we wandered over to the Gazebo in the center of the Zócalo and found a delightful little coffee shop, filled with flowers and good smells of Chiapas coffee. We ordered coffee and enjoyed listening to the band playing above our heads.
On the way back to our hostel we stopped in an Amber Museum and shop. We enjoyed looking at the displays, talking to a nice young man and woman about Amber and its qualities, how to tell the fake from the real, etc. We later learned that the Chinese are mining much of the Amber in Chiapas, one of the many rich resources there. They are not even using local labor but bringing in Chinese labourers. This is just one of the rich resources of the region that Zapatistas are trying to protect.
|Paolina with her three beautiful daughters|
|Paolina had the touch of a true sculptor as she shaped the clay|
|With the simplest of tools and sitting on the floor Paolina fashioned her paloma (dove)She makes 6 of these a day.|
We visited other villages including San Juan Chumulo, where the key place of interest was the old church, formerly Catholic, but now a place of worship for the Mayans practicing their own form of religion with shamans and healers, pine needles on the church floor and coke bottles lined up with candles where there might once have been chairs. No photos were allowed but I can assure you it was a very interesting experience. Outside the small village of Zinacantan, the flower growing part of the state, we visited a Mayan cemetery, again strewn with pine needles. I never did learn the significance of those. We had an interesting Mayan guide who shared many stories about the traditions within the Mayan family structures.
|This is a Combie which we used for getting around when we wanted to go out|
into the countryside without a guide or even to another side of town.
|The Mayan Cemetary outside San Juan Chumula|
A poster on a wall, entering the town, shows the two languages most spoken here Tsotil and Tsaltan. Below is a view of the Mayan cemetery. The crosses are not Christian but Mayan (note the shape of the cross and also there are decorative features painted on them.
|We visited this private home where there's a woman's weaving cooperative|
This young woman is about to be married. She shows she is ready by weaving the big blue blanket hanging on the line outside the cooking room. She made tortillas for us, which were delicious.
|She's weaving with a backstrap loom|
|Gary with the typical hat of the village men|
|Young women weaving with backstrap looms|
|Back in the center of San Cristobol, we loved exploring the city on the andajares, walking streets|
|Peach blossoms were blooming everywhere in the countryside|
|The fine art of separating Chiapas grown coffee beans.|
|Some of the best coffee in Mexico|
|A wonderful Mayan Woman sculpted in bronze. The artist is the father of our friend, Violeta.|
|I'm still intrigued with doors. Guadalupe graces this one.|
|Being silly---sticking my head through the wreath forms leaning against the outside wall of a church|
This nearly tops the official Textile Museum in an old convent near the central market. I visited that, too.
|The jaguar sculpture on the patio representing the name of Trudi and Franz's house and museum|
|Lacandan mother nursing her baby|
|Clever use of the bicycle for grinding the paper and plants to mix the paper pulp|
|flower petals impregnated into the paper; pretty colors, too.|
|With our nice guide outside of Taller Leñateros|
|Murals are everywhere, a Latin American tradition.|
|This restaurant is on Calle Gonzales Bocanegro #1, Barrio San Antonio|
|Another colourful Mural next to the restaurant|
|I loved the colorful buildings and interesting rooftops in San Cristobal|
|Visiting an Saturday Organic Market with Violeta and her friend|
|Talk about color! This lovely young woman let me photograph her in her beautiful dress at a local fiesta on the Zocolo|
Everyday in San Cristobal was different and filled with so much to take in, whether it was the music being played in our favourite restaurants, El Caldero and Cocoliche's, or the colourful textiles worn by the people in the square, or the beautiful scenery outside of town at a local site near a hanging bridge and hiking trail. The wonders of Chiapas are plentiful.
|Friend, Violeta took us to this amazing University|
|The conference room. Every year there are international conferences at the school. The students built all|
|The Cooking class; there were men learning to cook, too.|
|They have their own generator|
|One of he many colourful benches outside the music room|
For us, Chiapas was a treasure trove and we look forward to returning there.