San Cristobal was a big contrast to Palenque – it was filled with a mix of hippies selling handmade jewellery and ladies in traditional clothing selling blankets and other treasures, it had a wide choice of restaurants with really nice food to very affordable prices, and one could feel a strong influence of – or at least affection for – the Zapatista movement. Just there, right beneath the surface, empowering women cooperatives, supporting indigenous rights, a strong sense of community and red stars all over the place.
We made our way south from Palenque to San Cristobal de las Casas, and met Javier on the bus, a chilean filmmaker that I had gotten to know on the bus+boat from Guatemala a couple of days earlier. Javi took us to the place he usually visits when staying in San Cristobal – El Paliacate – a “cultural space” where travellers, artists and socially active (or just politically upset) individuals gather for music, exhibitions and talks. El Paliacate refers to the handkerchief that the Zapatistas use to cover their faces. You have to watch the beautiful video in the end of this post – it’s made by Javier!
San Cris was much colder than anywhere else I had been in Central America. And rainy. To the point that Chema and I bought new (matching) shoes – oldschool mexican PANAM sneakers! (haha) We spent quite some time walking around the lovely town – and we hung out a lot at El Paliacate where Javi introduced us to the owner and where the vibe was perfect for hanging out after a long day of walking. Once, after spending the evening in a Lebanese restaurant, making our way back home, we stepped into a fantastic live Latin Jazz Fusion concert at a bar named Cocoliche. After wine, guacamole and very good music by IntermitenteJovel, we went back to Paliacate again and stayed put with Javier, the owner and another friend after all the people had left after a concert. The guys decided to start playing on the instruments the band had left behind while Javi and I had a long talk. Random and lovely, there was even a jaw harp! (No, I didn’t really know that name – I just googled “mouth instrument” and google completeted my search with “boing” haha!)
On our last night before leaving San Cristobal de las Casas, I went out for a walk on my own, and met the two 11 year olds Danilo and Daniel with their younger brothers Alexander and Alfredo – they wanted to play and pose in front of my camera, I’ll show you those videos at some other point. :)
On our last day, before leaving for our flight to Mexico City, we went to the café/restaurant/gathering place TierrAdentro – run by Zapatista supporters and offering really good Mexican mole and locally grown coffee.
Sangre, Sudor y Polvora, by Conga Films
The language is Tzotzil, as spoken by the indigenous people in Chiapas.
Wonder what happened to the Mayans that built those amazing pyramids that I showed you in the posts before? Here you have them.