I arrive in San Cristobal from Oaxaca both excited to be travelling on my own and very nervous, I can’t lie there was a little depression leaving my friends behind that took a little time to lift.
The bus ride is simple and easy to San Cristobal and I meet up with Pilou a french traveller on his way around the world and Becky a German who’s travelled up from the south. We spend our time wandering around the city, drinking, visiting the huge markets and conversating with the friendly locals, it’s an amazing space and taking it all in is overwhelming yet so pretty.
A city that I planned to spend 4 days in takes me 10 days mainly spent decompressing and processing the fast-paced working life. The whole episode feet like the 90’s show Quantum Leap where can’t jump forward in time until he completes his task, the only problem is neither of us knows what the task is, we bumble through until we work it out.
I do meet some of my favourite people though having a great time seeing the sites and drinking plenty in all the bars.
I visited 2 crazy towns that I will struggle to describe in a way that does them justice.
The first is San Juan Chamula where Catholicism meets Mayan and the local sacrifice chickens as blessings within the church.
The second village is Oventec to see the Zapatista’s, an indigenous rights movement from Chiapas state, which took up arms and occupied San Cristóbal on January 1st and had to be forcibly removed by the Army. They’re best described as a far-left libertarian-socialist living off the grid in their own gated community complete with their own doctors, hospitals and teachers. Most interestingly they have no leader, political decisions are deliberated and decided in community assemblies.
They have a rich history and is best explained by Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapatista_Army_of_National_Liberation
This is my first birthday away travelling and the thought of moving on to a new city to make new friends doesn’t interest me. So it times nice that my birthday is in San Cristóbal the same day as the hostel managers. They have already arranged a BBQ for the Sunday and I’m happy to tag on.
My time in San Cristóbal is slow and although very little happened, a lot happened mentally, it marked a personal landmark of stopping the work mindset and starting the actual travelling relaxing mindset that not every day I have a jobs list to achieve. I also meet some very cool people who I can’t wait to catch up with!
I finally muster some energy to leave San Cristóbal and take the 4 am tour bus to Palenque visiting the waterfalls Agua Azul, Miso Ha and the Mayan ruins before arriving in Palenque. All three are amazing!
The Palenque ruins are an amazing site, totalling 2.5 km², being home to around 7,000 people and they have only uncovered 3% of the total site.
I spend the night in the small town of Palenque using my day to visit, a natural river where the water runs clear blue and you are free to go swim in the river. As I wander around I find more and more little spots to swim in, each more beautiful than the one before.
Overall I really enjoy my time in San Cristóbal, I’m sure it’ll stay a highlight as I met some super cool people who I’m sure I will meet again along my travels and later in life. But after spending so much time doing very little I’m glad to be on the night bus for Merida, one of the bigger cities and the capital of Yucatan.