Sunday, 13 July 2003

San Cristobal de las Casas

Greetings once again. After another nightmare coach journey (only 5 hours long, but as it was up into the mountains there were more corners than most peoples stomachs are comfortable with) I am in San Cristobal de las Casas. It was one of the towns raided by the Zapistas in 1994, and is a very quaint old colonial town. Buildings tend to be one or two stories but many are painted bright yellows, reds, blues, oranges and any other colour that they can find in a tin! A few grand churches here and there (always built tall enough to tower over every other man made object in sight!) also painted in bright colours as only Hispanics would dare!

The main church is quite an imposing sight, and I did go so far as to stick my head in the doorway earlier having heard a stirring choir bellowing out a Mexican hymn. Very almost reached for my camera to take a photograph of the very ornate interior when I noticed the coffin at the centre of attention, and had a change of heart! Not convinced that a snap happy gringo poking his lens in on such a service would be made particularly welcome. It was quite a moving service anyway....the "choir" was actually the assembled congregation, and they continued their operatic hymn outside and off down the road as they followed the procession.

Everything here is brightly coloured by the way, even the coffin. None of that dark wood finish here! Anyway, having mentioned a couple of days ago, the things that are great about Mexico, I have possibly omitted the number one placed thing. Every town of any decent size has a Zocalo, which is simply a square in the centre of town with a lot od benches, street stalls, ornate lighting, plenty of flower beds, shrubs and trees and quite often a little bandstand type structure in the middle. Almost every evening, half the town will congregate there, as will the local jugglers, clowns, musicians etc. And its all aimed at the locals rather than the tourists which makes the whole event that little bit more authentic.

And lastly for today, someone buy me a new camera please! My Nikon is a good 3 years old now, and its showing signs of ageing! There are green fixed pixels and I want a Coolpix 5000!! The new model has just come out, and the CP5000 is now much cheaper, but still far too expensive for an unemployed bum like me! Dig into your pockets and get me one! I may do a whole new page entitle "Send me a pound!" Ciao for now!