Back home they call me Skeeter

San Cristobal de Las Casas Travel Blog

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There're are two massive gringo madmen running rampant through the streets of San Cristobál de las Casas, the picturesque town in the Mexican state of Chiapas in which lightly armed Zapatistas, black bandanas covering their faces below the eyes, staged a minor revolution not so many years ago. Wearing shorts and sandals, singing R&B at piercing pitches and patronizing every panaderia, pasteleria, and dulceria lining the streets, we're beasts of boredom with insatiable appetites for simple carbohydrates.

Yesterday we enjoyed a day excursion to the nearby Cañón del Sumidero, an adventure made more exciting when our fifteen-passenger van broke down on the way to the launch point. Thankfully, Mexicans are exceedingly nice and another bus, from a different company, stopped to assess our troubles soon afterward, graciously allowing us to crowd their bus for the final 15km. Once we arrived, we donned life jackets and were hustled into twenty foot motorboats, taking off upriver into a pristine, verdant canyon sandwiched by sheer, majestic rockfaces and peaks towering hundreds to one thousand meters overhead. Birds circling trees many hundreds of meters overhead cast shimmering shadows against the canyon walls, and massive crocodiles sunbathed on sandbars along the riverbanks, still as statues as butterflies fluttered about their snouts. On the way back to San Cristobál we stopped over in Chiapa de Corzo, a fine enough town but anticlimactic compared to the awesomeness preceding.

San Cristobál has grown on us too, transformed in my opinion by its own weekend nighttime transformation. The town, typically quiet save the wild west market center, the labyrinthine expanse of stands, tents, and alleys flooded daily with townspeople, jumps off for the weekend. Fly rides rocking suicide doors, custom paintjobs and lights cruise the suddenly congested streets; the zocala grows packed with a young, well dressed crowd; and bars, coffee shops, and restaurants before unnoticed are suddenly deluged with customers, all the central streets inundated with foot traffic stepping to the beat of live music calling from many enticing establishments. The guys look suave but the girls unbelievable, wearing jeans so tight they can't possibly fit a peso in their pockets. Many of the indigenous girls are beauties themselves, though dressed in vibrant, flowing garb, outstretched arms ornamented by beads and jewelery they can never afford to stop hawking. For us, walking the steets was at once the highlight of the week and a depressing reminder of our español inadequacies.

By morning the town returns to low-key, Jackson and I again the centerpieces of attention. I ran this morning for the first time during the trip -- motivated by the mountain of pastries I consumed over three meals yesterday -- a surprisingly easy 50 minutes given the approximately 2000m altitude to which I've apparently already acclimated. It was a good head clearer, and we've both admitted to having a few solitary, shaky moments during which we questioned our commitment to traveling and its affect on our futures; but we too concurred that new excitements soon swayed us back to the journeyman's camp.

Moreover, we're laughing so much it's proof we're summiting the pinnacles of relaxation and happiness. Our melodically and harmonically superior duets are soundtracks to all moments, breaking into spanish-littered english song sitting in our bedroom or benched in the zocala, walking to the fruit market or sipping tall beers on the hostel's rooftop terrace, eyelevel with the roofs and rooftop shanties encircling. We're practicing R&B for at least thirty minutes daily, not merely for the pantydropping potential but for the love of the music! From time to time we veer into hardcore/metal territory, never forgetting our roots, finding infinite hilarity in filtering words like mariposa and helado through the voice of Satan, splayed over some sludgy breakdown. And walking through town I'm constantly amazed by the resonance of the crumbled No Limit empire, blinded every few steps by a shriveled indigenous geriatric flashing her silver-and-gold studded grill.

Last but not least, we laughed hard for no less than thirty minutes last night, an ab workout courtesy the word "skeet." Indeed, the conversation started steeped in vulgarity, the part of speech variations of skeet being uniformly funny and well-worth exploration. Somehow the conversation devolved into a country-fried skeet circus, replete with heavily redneck-accented pronunciations and exlamations of skeet, skeeter and the like. ¨Round here they call me Skeeter.¨ ¨Back home they call me Skeeter.¨ ¨They call me Skeeter round these parts.¨ We rarely get through any of the above statements without bursting into laughter. Jackson has renamed himself Skeeter Letchworth for the duration of this trip. Seriously, if you were here with us, no funnier conversation has ever taken place, and a night's sleep did nothing to dampen the hilarity.
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