We headed off from Tehuantepec this morning for the drive to San Christobal de las Casas. Fortunately we weren’t faced with a winding mountain road this morning. We drove past lots of farm land, including the biggest wind farm I ever saw. It would not be exaggerating to say that there were miles of row upon row of the modern windmills.
After driving along the flat coastlands, we turned inland and began the long climb up the mountains. This was a better road, though, and we enjoyed panoramic vistas along the way. We reached Tuxtla and stopped for lunch at a local grill for a good lunch. According to the menu, the man who started rolling up things in flour tortillas took them around on his burro…..hence burritos!
Our stops this afternoon include a couple of traditional Mayan villages, the first being San Juan Chumula. The inhabitants have retained much of the traditional dress, and the religion is a blend of tradition and elements they picked up from the Catholic missionaries. The church was brightly painted on the outside. Inside, we could not take pictures, but it contained statues of many saints along both sides with John the Baptist at the front. There were also bouquets all around in front of the statues, and tables of candles in front of them. The tile floor was covered with long pine needles, and the worshipers sat on the floor. They cleared an area of the foliage, and placed candles on the floor while saying their prayers. Most of them were in small groups around their candles. A woman in one group was holding a chicken….not sure why?! Outside in the square and streets there were many people selling handcrafts, and several of us got little things to justify taking some pictures.
We went to a second village. Zinacantan and visited a workshop where they did traditional weaving and we got to watch them. We were also invited into the kitchen where a girl was making fresh tortillas over an open fire, and we got to make tacos with goat cheese, avocado, salsa and beans. Very tasty. Several of us shopped, and the guide and one of the group got dressed in local wedding finery. The groom got a fancier outfit than the bride!
On into San Cristobal to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
This morning we headed out to view the Sumidero Canyon. I thought we might going to viewpoints, but it turns out that we were going by boat. We buzzed up the canyon where there were sheer cliffs on either side, 1000 meters high at one point. The river was also at least 75 meters deep at some points. There was a cave turned into a chapel, and we also saw wildlife along the way, including a colony of vultures, some white herons, and on the way back, a couple of crocodiles. There was one section called the Christmas tree—it has a triangular formation with lots of greenery because in the rainy season it is a waterfall. It was a fun ride even with the bulky lifejackets, and it was nice to have the breeze.
We stopped for lunch in the small town of Chiapa de Corzo, a very historic and pretty town with a central plaza and arcaded shops all around.
Back in San Cristobal we looked around the plaza and found an ATM, then back to the hotel for a rest. We will have a long driving day tomorrow. Apparently indiginous protesters sometimes block the road we want to take, and we have to take the long way around! Up in time to leave at 6:00! This is a vacation?!