Sunday, November 29, 2009

Done with Tanning and back to Culture

Even after four days of lathering on the sunscreen, I had a mighty awful burn in some awkward spots. I gave up the idea of horse back riding my last day and instead renting a chair and umbrella, ordered a big plate of seafood and took in the surfing competition on the main beach. My stomach was still recovering from whatever it is that makes us gringos sick, so I still didn't consume more than one beer the whole week. Which is hard when you're surrounded by fun-loving (and very good looking) Aussies and Kiwis back at your hostel cooking up fresh caught fish on the barbie every night trying to get you to party.

After four days I could have stayed the rest of the trip and diligently worked on my tan, but two things spurned me on: the thought of having to take a bus back up to Oaxaca and the joyful fact that I had a direct flight from Tuxtla to Mexico City already bought. I hopped on a first class bus and made the 11 hour, very comfortable trip to San Cristobal.

I can't even remember the first thing that made me first look at San Cristobal. Even before I left I wasn't sure if I was going to make it that far. I am so glad I did. The hostel was perfect. My $5 US a night room was empty almost the whole week. Breakfast was on the house. The living room was stocked with about a hundred bootleg DVDs and best of all two new puppies were allowed free range of the courtyard. It was like a second home.

I continued my practice of busy sight-seeing and soaking in sun during the day and laying low at night. My trip-long sickness preventing me from partying up could be considered a blessing and a curse. I'm sure it saved me a lot of money and drama, but I missed out on a lot of fun, I'm sure.

Days in San Cristobal were dreamy. I did a horse-back riding trip to a tiny village inhabited by natives whom had kicked out the Christians years ago and instead used the pew-less church for healing ceremonies and ground-level worship on beds of pine needles. I hiked up to churches perched above the town. Mostly I wandered the charming streets eating churros and shopping the wears of the highly talented artisans.

While there were a handful of tourists, most looked Mexican, but you could tell that before the swine flu/drug war media craze this place was a haven for both the American hippies looking to get in on the Zapatista revolution and yuppie travelers. Excellent restaurants catering to vegetarians abounded and I caught an artsy, political flick at a restaurant/language school/cinema.

It was a wonderful last stop on an 18 day tour and if there's one place I'd return to, it's San Cristobal.

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