After another windy overnight bus (full of yet more of the judder bars that Mexico seems to be so fond of!) we arrived wearily in San Cristobal de Las Casas. I dont know why we keep catching them. In theory, the overnight bus is a fantastic way to save money and a great way to not waste daylight hours which could be better used exploring, but we always seem to arrive tired and then spend the next day walking around in a semi zombied state! Mexican buses are renowned for their loud music, terrrrible 80s/early 90s movies (think van damme and stallone!) and overdone airconditioning but we lucked out with a recent Reese Witherspoon rom com (good chance to practice our spanish translation skills) and a bus driver who was obviously feeling the chill of the night. 

Arriving in San Cristobal we caught a local taxi to our hostel because I had a big blister on my foot and just couldnt be arsed walking. The lovely hostel owner greeted us at the door, and no sooner were we settled inside his wife was cooking us breakfast and he was telling us all about the places to go and things to see. Erika's eggs were just the sustenance we needed to get out exploring this high mountain colonial town. Everyone we had met before coming here had warned us that 'oh its so cold in San Cristobal!' and it was pretty chilly in the cool mountain air so we added a couple of extra layers before heading out. By lunchtime though it had warmed right up and we were stripping them off again. Even managed to get a bit of sunburn at some point during the day. 
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Bright coloured carpets
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The ladies setting up the wares outside the market
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Time for a taster!
We found the locals setting up the markets full of leather goods, bright colourful woven blankets, tapestries and other bits and bobs and despite being tempted by a few things we didn't end up buying anything. Its funny how accustomed we have become to living on the peso, some of the things we decided against purchasing we were probably arguing over £1 or £2!

Wandering along one of the main streets of town we stumbled upon a 'Posheria' - interested, we wandered inside and saw bottles of spirits on the walls just waiting to be sampled. We presumed it was going to be another incarnation of the infamous mezcal but it turns out it wasnt. Pox (or 'Posh' as its pronounced) has been used by the Mayans for religious and ceremonial purposes for a long time. Despite this, until 2 years ago it was actually illegal to produce it, and the Posheria in San Cristobal is one of the first places in Mexico to get an official government licence to sell the stuff. Its made from sugarcane and comes straight in various aged varieties or infused with local fruits. The first one that the friendly owners handed us to try looked suspiciously like the white lightening mezcal so I was pretty hesitant to try it but it was actually suprisingly smooth and didnt have any of the burning sensation I was anticipating. Saying that though the aged varieties were definitly much nicer. Seeing as we were the only customers and the owners were in a good mood we spent quite a bit of time chatting with them and planning their grand empire expansion, in between sampling ALL of the flavours (be rude not to really!). We came away with just one bottle (damn our small packs!) of the blackberry infused one. Whether or not it'll make it back to NZ is still to be decided haha.
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Bright colourful houses
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Frans Blom
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the pretty courtyard inside Na Bolom
Wandering up the hill to one of the (many) churches we had a nice view back of the city and the chance to chill out for a bit before heading back to the hostel via another local artisan market and a museum for a siesta.

The museum we visited was called Casa Na Bolom (the house of the jaguar) and it is a cultural association which was the former house of archaeologist Frans Blom and his wife, Trudi, a documentary photographer, journalist, environmental pioneer, and jungle adventurer. The Danish/German couple became fascinated with Mexican culture and devoted their lives to cultural studies and preserving the way of life of the Lacandon Maya peoples, the only Maya never conquered or converted by the Spanish. The former monastery their house is located in has been turned into an museum, and educational/study centre for the people of Chiapas and beyond. In the 1970s Trudi became very concerned about the destruction of the jungle she loved so in 1975 she expanded Casa Na Bolom's beautiful walled gardens to include a tree nursery, which 38 years on still supplies free trees for reforestation in Chiapas.

One of the funniest moments of the day had to be walking past a random corner store and hearing the London £1 fish song blaring from the radio! That night we headed back into the centro area to people watch and sample some of the slow cooked cochinita pibil (pulled pork) that the Northern Chiapas and Yucatan Regions are famous for. It was delicious! No photo for the best bites though because we were so hungry we forgot! If we can manage to resist eating it for more than 15 seconds next time ill get one I promise, although its just so damn delectable its hard to restrain yourself!

Next stop: Palenque
 





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