After an epic dive trip, Christina and I spent a needed day recharging in the all-inclusive Holiday Inn Resort in San Jose del Cabo, indulging in “bracelet life!” Like a cruise but on land–with mediocre all-day buffets, wet bars at the pool, and free activities including “Crazy Game” (never found out what it was), Foam Party (Spring Break for old white people?), and Cocking Class (hoping it was a typo). Someone accurately described Los Cabos as “like being in California but with fewer Mexicans!”
After a day walking in the Tevas of a gringo tourist, we were ready to continue on to the enchanting state of Chiapas to walk amongst the Insta-esque muraled streets of San Cristobal, learn about the curious traditions of the Tzotzil people in San Juan Chamula, marvel at the towering cliffs of the Cañon de Sumidero, clamber over the jungle ruins of Palenque, and explore the caves of Rancho Nuevo. It was also a pretty chill 9 days with half of the days spent meandering around town and enjoying our beautiful casita.
The mountainous and green region of Chiapas was a stark contrast to the coastal desert of Baja. At over 2,000m in altitude, I could definitely feel the strain on my respiratory and cardiovascular systems! I kept wondering if I was “really” that out of shape.
- Long chats with Christina about everything from cost of a 1:30 piece on lives news to 2020 intentions
- Learning about Tzotzil people and sincretismo with Catholicism
- Exploring the ruins of Palenque with the most enthusiastic grandma tour guide and learning about the impressive empire that ruled from 200-900 AD
- Riding a jetboat through Cañon de Sumidero and seeing the towering cliffs that grace Chiapas state shield
- Breakfasting almost every day at our go-to cafe, Kukulpan, and avoiding tacos the whole time! We had delicious sopa vegetariana at El Caldero, a few nights of decent Asian food, and lots of spaghetti bolognese
- Exploring Las Grutas de Rancho Nuevo, being plunged into total darkness, and marveling at yellow marble, quartz, and iron features. I then faced my slide fears by going down the slowest slide ever. Apparently you needed a flattened plastic bottle!
I learned so much about the indigenous Mayan culture and current customs, often a sincretismo blend of Catholic influences and ancient traditions. We got to visit one of the most curious churches in San Juan Chamula where chicken sacrifices and Coke burping cleanse the evil. Here’s a few interesting facts we learned about the region:
- Coca Cola has been incorporated into ancient traditions as an accepted substitute for pox, the intense moonshine made of corn that indigenous people use in ritual offerings and to enter into the right mindset for prayer. It is also accepted as currency and can be used to buy goods and wives (dowries).
- Chiapas is supposedly the highest per capita consumer of Coke with the free walking tour guide quoting 2 liters per day…!
- Seems crazy but Coke is the main source for hydration and is typically cheaper than water. There is also a major clean drinking water problem here with even some of the big bottles of water (garrafones) being potentially unsafe to drink. All the purified water goes to the Coke bottling plant–so devious! Because of that, San Cristobal de las Casas is sometimes called Salmonella de las Casas!
It was a pretty chill, fun nine days in Chiapas. Off to Houston for some nephew QT and Thanksgiving celebrations with family!