June 27 – July 1
We nearly never made it through Chiapas, thanks largely to the ever increasing road blockades happening throughout Southern Mexico (specifically Chiapas & Oaxaca). Prior to San Cristobal we met the first one. While we can truly appreciate the strife and anger of the teachers who are demonstrating, we really did not want to be stopped (again) from getting to our destination. Thankfully, at least at this blockade, the teachers were unarmed, there were no police present and we sort of just pushed our way through…gently of course because we like teachers.
San Cristobal is another perfect city, similar in feeling to Antiqua, Guatemala. Colonial, beautifully chilly, with its culture and vibes yet to be tarnished by the gringo effect. We spent nearly a week here, stocking up on our first Mexican Tacos and working out some business. As we got to know the city better and better, we also got to find the cheaper and cheaper tacos. Eventually, we stumbled upon the 2 peso (14 cent cdn) Al Pastor tacos by the public market. BINGO.
If you are in the city, you have to experience the absolutely insane market which boasts an extremely eclectic variety of goods; anything from plastic goods manufactured in China, to traditional medicine, to live chickens (30 pesos) hanging off ladies arms like purses, to perfectly balanced produce, to withered mountain women selling sheep wool.
We bought 3 different kinds of chilis in order to test out the spiciness levels and try to kill the suspected parasite that is worming its way through our body. These are listed by heat level, hottest first.
Later, I made them into a hot sauce, which was delicious for the first microsecond and then completely inedible.
Peruvian White Habanero Peppers 100000 – 350000 Scovilles
Aji Variation (we suspect) Scovilles unknown
Bird’s Eye Pepper 100000 – 350000 Scovilles
The Mayan Medicine Museum is obviously a place to learn about the rich mayan medicine still being practiced throughout southern Mexico, but also a place of worship, and a practicing mayan herbal pharmacy. We were lucky enough to be there during celebrations for a local holiday which included homemade fire crackers and a gathering within the chapel where we were offered refreshments (Orange Crush) by the attendees.
Although we are not certain, we are deeply suspicious of the mannequins. The detail is so great on the hands and feet we suspect they may be actual embalmed humans…
This time of year the streets are pretty empty, but that makes for better traveling sometimes. Having the place to yourself is not so bad.