San Cristobal

Trip Start Oct 10, 2007
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Trip End May 15, 2008


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Where I stayed
Backpacker`s Hostel

Flag of Mexico  ,
Saturday, March 29, 2008

San Cristobal is a precious little town with a spill over of indigenous cultures.  The zocalo (ie.parque central) is adorable and there are pedestrianized streets for shopping, eating and such.  The influence of the Zapatistas is quite apparent.   I found a restaurant and artists collective type thing where the money goes to the Zapatista community.  There are also little cloth zapatistas on earrings, which I think is weird, but I got a key chain anyway so I would remember what I want to do in the future (human rights observer- one of several ideas). 

I stayed at the Backpacker´s Hostel for 100Pesos/night (10USD).  There are a bunch of hostels all around 80 to 100 pesos.  Food is more expensive than in Guatemala and Méxican food was hard to find.  However, I did have a very non-mexican but fabulous melted cheese and veggie sandwich at a place called Bar Revolución.  Feeling a bit of traveler´s burnout I didn´t do any of the tourist visit village stuff or museums or anything.  The cathedrals are impossible to avoid.

The sunsets are spectacular in San Cristobal and there is still a strong indigenous influence.  However, the difference of rich and poor becomes clearer with a big shining Burger King, many tourists from all over including other parts of México and indigenous folk trying to sell their wares on the streets.  I felt that discomfort of economic disparity thrown in front of your face for the first time in a while.  I tried to give an old man some coins but within seconds I was surrounded by at least 4 other people, children, etc.  I zipped up my bolsa (bag) and haven´t given any since.  Did give a peach at one point.  If you are in the giving mood best not do it in crowded areas, like a market for example! 

Apparently San Cristobal is the amber central of México and, thus, has some amazing amber.  There is a museum and slews of shops selling it.  I found the museum shop helpful in finding out what stores are "authentic".  I also found the stores AWAY from the super touristy areas to be less expensive. 

Beautiful days and VERY cold nights.  This is where I officially became tired of the cold, even under 3 blankets (one of which I snagged from another unused dorm bed).  I also could not find out about second class buses to Oaxaca.  Everyone just kept telling me I had to take the first class buses, even the second class bus people.  This cost me about $40 USD!!!  Thus, the bus system is not nearly as convenient or cheap or exciting as that in Guatemala.  I kind of think I didn´t explain well that I didn´t need to go directly to Oaxaca, just in that direction.  Also, the only buses leaving towards Oaxaca leave around 6 or 10 pm.  So, if going that way get ready for a long overnight 12 hour journey where your neighbor will change time to time at other bus stops and you can watch the BRATZ movie and endless reruns of unitedstaten tv shows!!!  Thankfully all dubbed.

All in all I am very excited to be in México.  Spanish is different here in that there are different dialects and it is a little faster than in Guatemala.  My biggest challenge has been the menus.  Types of meals I have never heard of, and when I ask what it is I can´t understand a thing the waiter says.  Ahhhh, the life of learning a language at 35!!
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