Coming from the humidity and heat of the Yucatan peninsula and then Palenque, the bracing night air San Cristóbal de las Casas high in the mountains of Chiapas, came as a shock to my system. I'd left vacationland and returned to a climate where layers are needed. San Cristobal is rich in culture and views.
Just like Palenque, I had been here before more than a decade earlier. While the changes in the town of Palenque left me queazy, I actually liked San Cristóbal more this time round. More of the historic centre had been renovated. The bandstand had nightly musical performances featuring marimba, which, if you listened to me at the top of the page and hit play on the YouTube video, you're hearing right now.
Moving away from the central square and cathedral (pictured at the top of the page) the city rises and drops away with the hills. One needs stairs. The first photo above leads up to the Templo de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. The views from its plaza are excellent and I utterly failed in my attempt to capture them so enjoy a shot of the most impressive cotton candy I've ever .
I spent the first few nights at Casa Na Bolom. This old house (estate?) had been converted into a hotel, restaurant and museum to honour the memory and work of Frans and Trudi Blom who did much to increase the world's awareness and appreciation of the region's people and their culture as well as environmental degradation.
Today, Casa Na Bolom operates as a hotel, museum, and research center run by Asociación Cultural Na Bolom, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the Lacandon Maya and the preservation of the Chiapas rain forest. ~ from the Wikipedia page.
The nights were cold enough to require thick duvets. I was glad to have a fireplace in my room. Sadly, the fire, nor the old single paned windows could drown out the sound of the neighbour's fiesta that went on until 4 AM. Old buildings are romantic; old, single pane windows are garbage and the Passivhaus movement, with its efficiency and soundproofed windows, can't conquer the world soon enough.
Far more pleasant that loud Banda music blasted over end-times-speakers is the lovely marimba band playing at the central bandstand. I hope you're enjoying the music if not the stunning visuals. If you can't hear marimba music then you really need to scroll back to the top of the page and hit play on the YouTube video. Come on!
San Cristóbal Graffiti
Politics and Art in the Street
Although I hate tagging (the scribbling on objects, not the social media act), which some people (who are wrong) consider a form of expression, I do appreciate the colours, designs and power of street art. Just look at these examples.
San Cristóbal de las Casas was at the heart of the Zapatista uprising in the 90s and the political protest continues.
Next stop: Across the ocean!