Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Viva México !!!

 southern Mexico from Guatemala. I entered  the Mexican Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas which has an interesting and somewhat modern violent history. (Quebec could be so lucky). I do know a little bit about the Zapatista Army and have a vague memory of news of their past uprisings. Like so many of the revolutionary movements in Latin America the Zapatistas are a peasant revolution against government corruption and abuse.

Since 1994, the group has been in a declared war "against the Mexican state", and against military, paramilitary and corporate incursions into Chiapas - Wikipedia.

Yes there is the standard police and military presence I have come to expect in Latin America but so far it is not as intense as El Salvador. I suspect that is much different in the North along the border with the USA. However, we were passed by a jeep with a 50 Caliber gun mounted, manned and ready to go. That will make you sit up and take notice. No I was not about to try and take a photo.
Guatemala - Mexico Border chaos
When I left Xela for what I thought would be a 5 to 6 hour shuttle ride I was headed to San Cristobal De Las Casas. A major tourist town and a hub for where I wanted to get to which are the ruins of Palenque about five hours north. San Cristobal would be a good rest stop to get acclimatized to another currency and recover from what was actually an 11 shuttle ride.

I was still very sore and tired from my hike up Volcán Tajumulco. Like hangovers I find that great hikes take longer to recover from as you get older. I was tired and sore but in that great way. I was also fighting a stomach bug but that just made me want to poop and sleep. So I did. Mixed in with all of this was a 6.2 earthquake that woke me up yesterday morning. See the news story here. I though it was cool but since then there has been devastating earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan so cool is not the right word I should have been looking for to describe the experience.

A poor shoe shiner against a powerful backdrop
San Cristobal de las Casas is about as touristy of a town as you can find anywhere. It is clean, tidy and teeming with restaurants, bars, coffee shops and travel agencies. I found a room at Hotel San Luis for $14 a night. A gem of a place. It was clean, modern, had hot watrt and wifi.

Still feeling a bit off I did not venture to far. The coffee was delicious where ever I went and cheap delicious food options were plentyful. I am here just as a jumping off point tp Palenque and the Mayan ruins there. Tops on my Mexican to do list.

As a confession in the past I have only known resrt Mexico and nightly news Mexico. Neither of them flattering. Mexico was never on my radar. I am happy that has changed. Does Mexico have issues? Lets not be silly sure it does what country doesn't?No I am not afraid of being express kidnapped or caught in the crossfire of warring cartels. You do not need the psudo safety of resort walls to explore and experience Mexico, although I did eat Subway today which was not much of a mexican experience.

Final thought. It seems like no matter where I go I  have had the joy of listening to a barking dog as I settle in for the night. Tonight its a little yappy mutt with a high pitch bark..if you can call it that. I miss being annoyed by roosters.

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