Friday, 11 September 2009

San Cristobal De Las Casas

The town of San Cristobal de Las Casas is certainly not empty of tourists but seems strangely quiet after the Yucatan, in the hostel the receptionist told me there are six other guests but so far I have only seen two.  The city itself is almost eerily like Antigua right down to the arch on one of the streets.

I spent yesterday wandering the city visiting a few museums and getting pictures of the city.

Inside the cathedral there was a rather dark view of the baroque main altar.

And a rather more bizarre Jesus in a box.

I also climbed up a small hill for a view over the town and was reminded that this is high altitude when I got out of breath after about two minutes.

Today I decided to visit some of the villages outside town, having been told that it is easy to cause offence by taking pictures at the wrong time I took a tour, which turned out to be just me and a guide. At San Juan Chamula, there is a nominally Catholic church where the priest was expelled in 1969, today a priest visits once a month from town for baptisms but the rest of the time the church is used for Mayan rituals including killing chickens as part of ceremony to bring back a soul that has wandered.  No pictures are allowed in the church or of the ceremonies but i was able to get a few of the outside and the market.

On the way to the next village, I got a little talk, not the usual tourist spiel but a discussion of the political oppression of indigenous people, the damage done to local traditions by missionaries, even a bit of liberation theology and the background to the zapatistasall delivered on top of  hill looking down over the valley.

After that we visited a house where the guide explained a bit about the local healing traditions and the owner sold weaving.

I returned to town and wandered around the town hall, which turned out to be a narrow arcade leading to another square.
Tommorrow is pretty much a free day to psych myself up for the 11 hour bus ride to Oaxaca.

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