My last pictures and impressions of San Cristobal and surroundings…

25th of August, 2015

Tonight I will leave around 18.20 with the night bus back to Merida in one go. So today is another day of just strolling around, taking some last pictures and buying some last souvenirs. I arranged a late check out of my hotel and I start with a good breakfast in very small eatery on the main shopping street of the town. It is a pretty cold day and I am glad I bought a warm lambs wool sweater on the market yesterday and some winter trousers. The bus also will be cold, as they like to put the air conditioning on high!DSC01324DSC01326

Today I also go for a long hike into the back streets of the town and I realize that three days is not enough to explore this beautiful city. I am happy to be here in this time of the year, as in the winter the temperatures can drop until below the 5 degrees. Mexico is such an enormous country, with many different climates and often people don’t realize, that these mountain villages can be very cold! When flying into Mexico City, 5 weeks ago, I even could see snow on the mountains!DSC01295

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I leave San Cristobal with the hope I might be back one day, but then by plane! Or, from another route by car or bus. I prepared myself for the long bus trip with an extra scarf I bought on the market, thick socks, drinks and some food, earplugs and sleeping pills and above all……Gravol. I take one tablet an hour before getting on the bus. Until Ocosingo all is well. I have two places for myself and it is still light and I get distraction from outside. Then the movie starts; very loud and very violent!  After two hours we reach Ocosingo, the only stop before Palenque. It is dark by now and more people are getting on board of the bus. The lady before me is not happy and neither am I, as a very old and sick man is going to sit beside her. He probably has to go to the hospital in Palenque and has the most awful cough I ever heard in my life. I get a guy beside me; too bad. The chauffeur puts the second movie on; more violent than the first one and even louder…… The guy before me coughs more and the lady beside him starts eating. I smell chicken and other ingredients. The road is very curvy now and it is so dark that I can’t see a thing on the road. I get sick, very sick. So happy the guy besides me sleeps, or pretends to sleep. I was prepared for this, as I am not good in buses on curvy roads. For two hours I am sick and then we reach Palenque. I feel relieved, as I know that after Palenque the road will be straight. Maybe some street bumps, but better than curves! I have 5 min. to freshen up in Palenque bus station and then we continue our trip to Campeche, the next stop. The sick guy is gone and I am still there. The movies are finished and it is sleeping time. That’s when the lady at the front decides to stop eating, but to start talking, with the neighbour on the other side. It is 2.00 a.m. At 3.00 I ask them, if they are willing to shut up? No, they aren’t. They continue until 4.00! We reach Campeche and I finally have the two seats for myself again and after the two Gravol pills from before and half a sleeping pill now, I finally fall asleep until 6.00 a.m.

By the time we enter Merida, it is already 8.00. I walk to the mini bus in the historical district and get home around 9.30.

Never again!!! Next time, I take the plane and pay $400 more!!!

The last few days I take it very easy. I only go one more time back to the city, to buy an extra bag for all the souvenirs I bought and the rest of the time I work on my blog and read.

On Saturday, I take the pre-arranged airport bus to Cancun, which is a straight road, and get into a crazy busy airport, where lots of construction is going on. My flight to Toronto is going on time. I will stay for two nights in a hotel at Toronto airport and then I will take the plane to Calgary, for my next house sit of one month in the town of Canmore in the Rocky Mountains. I am really looking forward to this house sit, as I have been in this beautiful area before and because my son is living in Banff, the next town!

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Wandering around San Cristobal, Chiapa de Corzo and boating the Sumidero Canyon

23rd until 25th of August

On Sunday I take it easy and just wander around the streets of San Cristobal. Not only the many churches are attended well, but also the colourful artisan market places. DSC01321DSC01301

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I can’t resist to buy some souvenirs and of course after quite some negotiating about the price, as they all start way too high. It is not allowed here to take pictures of the people and even when I asked a lady, from whom I bought some textiles, if I could take a picture of her baby daughter, the answer was “Oh No”. When I asked her why not, she told me that her daughter was not able to sleep, after a picture was taken…..DSC01467DSC01315

All the children here are adorable and especially when they are wearing those beautiful, colourful indigenous costumes. I have never seen so many babies at one place, as on the market in San Cristobal. The mothers have them in wrap carriers at the front, or back or side and it is perfectly normal to breast feed them, while selling their ware. Of course there are dozens of other little children running around on the market place.DSC01272

Outside the market, people are selling plastic bowls with all kind of tasty pieces of fruits for 10 pesos and halfway the morning I buy one and it is so very fresh and delicious!DSC01287

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To escape the heat and have some quiet time, I visit the textile museum in the Na bolom Cultural Centre, beside the church and the artisan market, and I am surprised how interesting the displays are; even more than 100 drawers to open and every drawer showcases another indigenous weaving of the Chiapas district and even beyond. Very well-organized and beautiful displayed!      DSC01276                                                              DSC01281DSC01282

In the afternoon, I book a boat trip for the next day at a tour operator. All the other trips they are offering, consist of long distances in the bus and that is something I want to avoid!

San Cristobal is full of small eateries and it is fun to sit on the small patios and watch the people, as it is such a mix of cultures!DSC01304DSC01303

The next morning, a minibus full with tourists is collecting me from the hotel and I squeeze beside a big Mexican guy and the window all in the back of the bus. We drive over a nice highway through the mountains direction Chiapa de Corzo. It is an hour by bus and more than enough for me. Once there, we all get a bracelet and hop on a small and fast open boat, which speeds over the Grijalva river, situated in between Tuxtla Guitierrez and Chiapa de Corzo.

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It brings you right into Surmidero National Park, where you can see crocodiles on the banks of the river and pelicans and even monkeys, if you are lucky! The walls of the Canyon are at some point more than 900 meters high, very impressive! The whole tour takes about 2 hours and on the moments we are laying still to watch a waterfall or a crocodile, you notice how hot it is; sunscreen is very necessary here!DSC01415DSC01382

Once back in Chiapa de Corzo, we get some time to wander around the town, but everybody is “overheated” of the boat trip and I decide to have a drink and something to eat in one of the little stalls beside the road. The hamburgers look fresh and they put them long enough on the barbecue to give it a try……DSC01312

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We arrive much later back in San Cristobal and after a shower and an early meal in a Catalunian eatery, I decide to have an early night. My bus trip of 14 hours back to Merida will start the next evening, so I need some extra sleep now.DSC01471