¡Zapata Vive!

Picture it… San Cristobal de las Casas… a picturesque colonial mountain town in the highlands of the turbulent Mexican state of Chiapas, home of the largest population of Maya descendent indigenous people… and also the heart of the Zapatistas… an armed movement of poor indigenous people against the Mexican government’s policies which threaten to destroy their culture.

There have been many bloody conflicts in the surrounding mountains in the past 10 years or so… though it’s been relatively quiet for the past couple. Overall, this town at least, remains calm and pleasant… with many foreigners getting “stuck” here because of the beauty of it…

I, unfortunately, am strapped for time in Mexico so I’ve only had about a day and a half to explore a bit… but what I’ve found is quite nice… pretty little hotels, tons of nice, cheap, little restaurants… lots of handicrafts… it’s very nice indeed…

Now to bring you up to date:

Before I got to San Cris yesterday, I spent 2 nights at Palenque, yet another ancient Mayan ruin. It probably seems pretty repetitive from the pictures… “yeah, yeah… another big pile of rocks…” you might be thinking… but when you’re there on the ground they each have their own very different feel… my Lonely Planet describes Palenque as “the most romantic of the Mayan cities” and I would have to agree… there’s just something about it… the jungle setting… the subtle differences in architecture from the other ruins I’ve been to…

I met a couple from Seattle in the shuttle van on the way to the ruins proper and then we met up with a couple Kiwis (New Zealanders) and we chipped in to get a guide… which proved to be very informative…

While waiting out by the entrance for the rest of the group to finish exploring on their own, I had a funny experience… Two Mexican women approached smiling… the older one said “queremos sacar unas fotos contigo” (We want pictures with you) and then I picked out other phrases such as “muy guapo” (very handsome)… After getting photographed with the daughter and then the mother (as I found out they were), the mother thanked me and said “tus ojos son muy bonito” (you have beautiful eyes)…

It was really funny… At first I thought they were trying to rob me… which I feel really bad about now ’cause they totally weren’t… and I hate having to assume things like that when traveling… but that’s how you don’t get robbed…

I have a bunch of pictures from the past few days which I will post as soon as I get my pictures dumped to a CD… ’cause I have no space left… I’ve taken over a gigabyte worth of photos… and something like 350mb of video clips… and that’s only been since I got the new camera in Honduras…

Voy a almuerzar… hasta mas tarde!

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