Nueva Esperanza

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7 travelers at this place

  • Day527


    January 17, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Weiter geht's durch Chiapas, den ärmsten und indigensten Bundesstaat Mexikos.
    Bei Palenque und Yaxchilan besuchen wir weitere Maya-Ruinen. Die sind grossartig, gewiss, und jede Stätte hat ihren eigenen Reiz. Aber was Maya-Tempel betrifft, so stellen sich bei uns so langsam die ersten Sättigungserscheinungen ein...
    Etwas völlig Neues erleben wir hingegen im Bergdorf Chamula. Die indigenen Bewohner verteidigen hier vehement ihre lokalen Traditionen. Bei der wöchentlichen Zeremonie darf man als Gringo dabei sein, aber fotografieren ist verboten.
    Die Zeremonie findet zwar in der Dorfkirche statt und es gibt auch ein paar Heiligenfiguren. Das wars dann aber mit dem Katholizisimus. Es herrschen tumultartige Zustände in der Kirche, die Menschen sind kostümiert, es wird heftig getrunken und gefeiert. Maya-Schamanen halten traditionelle Zeremonien ab, an deren Ende ein lebender Hahn geopfert wird. Rom ist hier wirklich verdammt weit weg!
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  • Day4

    San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

    January 19, 2017 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We arrived via overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas, another beautiful town in the mountains and the beginning of our experience with the picturesque Chiapas region. The buses here so far have been a pleasant surprise, I think we had prepared ourselves for the worst considering some of the experiences we had in Southeast Asia a couple of years back. All have been on time too which makes a nice change. But this particular bus ride had extremely windy roads through the mountains and it felt like the driver had a very heavy foot for said roads so Mike and I found ourselves feeling pretty ill and unable to sleep because of that really, but we made it in one piece in the end. Just.

    San Cristobal was the coldest of all the cities so far, only about 7-8 degrees and very foggy/low cloud on the morning we got there, again in part due to the altitude I suppose. Thankfully it heats up during the day as we didn't really pack for cold weather...

    We really enjoyed our time San Cristobal because aside from the beautiful historic town, there was lots to see and do from there. While we usually aren't big on doing tours; generally preferring to do things independently, we decided to do a few through our hostel as they were really cheap/mostly just involved transport anyway to then give you your own free time. Doing the transport on our own would have resulted in multiple changes of buses and longer routes so in the end it was a bit of a no brainer to just go with the tour options.

    First we went on a trip to Sumidero Canyon which involved a boat trip down this massive canyon, its highest point at 1km. It was 13km long as well so the boat trip took about an hour each way on a pretty speedy boat. We managed to spot lots of different wildlife here, including a small crocodile, storks, pelicans and vultures. Unfortunately for us and our limited amount of Spanish, the boat operator only spoke Spanish so we were unable to take in a large portion of the information that he was giving us about the canyon. However, further research has found that it was formed around the same time as the Grand Canyon, some 35million years ago! Nuts.

    That day we also visited a small town called Chiapas de Corzo, where they happened to be celebrating Fiesta Grande de Enero (the great January feast). As part of this they dress up for the dance of of the Parachicos. We didn't see this dance but we saw some of the people dressed up and walking the streets with music etc.

    San Cristobal itself was an interesting town, although we mostly only experienced the historic part of it. When we drove out of the town on some our excursions, we realised how big the city actually was and some of the more mainstream/American businesses that it had, for example Dominos pizza, big supermarkets, car yards and the like. The historic part where we stayed was for the most part really nice, with small one way streets which often backed up with traffic and with similar colonial architecture to Oaxaca and parts of Europe. One thing I have really enjoyed is the colourfulness of some of the buildings. I feel like finding an average street at home in NZ would never be particularly appealing to take a photo of but so often in Europe, and now here; I keep finding myself just constantly taking photos different streets. The amount of westerners that seemed to be living here or just in San Cristobal more long term as opposed to just passing through was somewhat surprising, most of them seemed to be well amongst the hippy vibe.

    Temporarily joining in on this hippy, holistic vibe, I managed to do a couple of yoga classes here which we stumbled across on one of the roads near where we were staying. Most of the class was in Spanish but it was almost surprising how easy it was to grasp what the instructor was saying in the limited amount of Spanish I knew, combined with watching the movements at the same time. All in all, it was a really nice experience to not only support a local business, but to get some exercise and some Spanish practice out of it as well.

    One evening post yoga we decided we needed a break from the Mexican food as surprisingly we hadn't particularly found any great local spots for it here. San Cristobal has lots of restaurants with different cuisines, perhaps due to the fact that many westerners seem to have settled here. So we tried a Thai restaurant that Mike found on tripadvisor with good ratings. Not long after sitting down and ordering we realised the restaurant was supposed to be closing at 8:30pm and we had only turned up just after 8. Feeling bad that we were keeping them late we chowed down our food when it came and must have looked like we hadn't eaten in weeks! It was some of the best Thai food we've had and afterwards the owner came and checked that everything was ok. It turned out she was originally from Bangkok but who had lived in New Zealand for 13 years and now has been in Mexico for 7. She was super nice and told us about how even though she'd done a masters degree in NZ, she still struggled to ever get a decent job there. This is all too common unfortunately and this was ultimately what drove her to move away. To be fair, she's doing a great job with her restaurant and has already had to upsize, so this new venture is clearly working and at least she gets to share her roots with San Cristobal.

    Continuing on the tour front, we also did one super long day trip where we visited El Chiflon waterfall and Lago de Montebello which is a series of lakes on the Guatemalan border. We had only really wanted to go to the waterfall but all the tours involved both sights and it was too much admin to do on our own so we just had to suck it up! At El Chiflon Mike managed to talk me into going zip lining again over the waterfalls. We did two different ziplines, both a few hundred metres long. The first of which I couldn't manage to brake hard enough at the end so went flying into the finish and ended up horizontal for a moment. Mike has it on video and it would definitely make for a good gag reel!! Thankfully the workers managed to catch me or I would have gone backwards and ended up hanging in the middle somewhere probably! Then we headed to the lakes, which were pretty but we didn't have much time to stop there to actually do much more than take a few photos so not sure all those hours of driving were particularly worth it but you can't have it all! The drive itself was super frustrating as we'd be driving in an 80-100km zone and then suddenly there'd be speed bumps in the middle of no where every few kilometres, really bizarre. But all in all it was a fun day, just very long and tiring!
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Nueva Esperanza

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