Festivals, Car Alarms and Fireworks!
San Cristobal Travel Blog› entry 19 of 21 › view all entries
The bus down to San Cristobal was more eventful than most, but not due to anything special on the bus itself. The entire journey from Palenque to San Cristobal was spotted with runners celebrating the festival of Saint Mary. The runners held what looked like olympic style torches, which were lit. The runners were of all ages and ran behind a vehicle - be it a car, truck or van - which generally sounded like their alarms were stuck on full blast the entire way. The vehicles were decorated and had pictures of Saint Mary. It was all quite impressive to see. They ran all the way in to the centre of San Cristobal up to the main church and all the celebrations.
We were due to meet Jules in San Cristobal at the Hostal - Pasada Mexico, as he went ahead of us from Palenque. The hostel was quite a hike from the bus terminal. The hostel was nice enough, although a bit quiet and no Jules anywhere! Jules had moved to the annex, but we stayed in the dorms as it was too much effort to move as we'd only just arrived.
Jules warned us that after about 3pm it gets really really cold, so we put on extra layers before heading out to check out the town. Once sorted we went to the Black Cat Restaurant for their veggie meal deal, which came as a recommendation from Jules i.e. soup and crepes for next to nothing! I did the cream of veg soup as the other one was a spicy veg soup, and lucky me.
From here we went to join in the festivities, so with drinks in hand we walked up to the main street which was crowded and lined with stalls - food, games and gimmicks. We wondered along checking out the stalls, the boys even stopping to play some foosball. The stairs up to the church were quite a challenge, not just because it was busy, but due to the higher altitude - felt quite light headed by the time I got to the top.
The church was lit up with all sorts of flashing lights, and there was a mariachi band playing in the square by the church. We didn't go in to the main hall of the church as it was very busy with more processions of runners arriving with their torches and pictures of Saint Mary all the time. We did however go round the side and in to the annex which was filled with hundreds of lit candles flickering away - quite humbling.
We then walked back down to watch the band, standing towards the back of the sea of people. Next up was food! Maree and I opted for millies (i.e. corn on the cob), mine had mayo, salt and cheese on it - yummm. Maree went for chili and salt instead. The boys - due to Jules' enthusiasm ended up with this beer called a Michalada, which was beer with line, tobasco and chili.
It was freezing cold but we walked around in search of a bar with a bit of atmosphere, and ended up in this little bar - but by the time we got there all I wanted was a hot chocolate :). Jules on the other hand who is obviously a sucker for punishment bought another disgusting beer - essentially the same but without the tobasco... possibly called a Chilada and it was also disgusting! We called it a night and went back to the dorms, which were absolutely freezing... brrrr.
The following day we decided to change hostels, so after breakfast we went to check out two other hostels that we'd heard about. We ended up moving to the Planet Hostel, which was spacious and reasonably priced - I shared with Jules.
That night Maree and I stayed in, while the boys went out on the town - returning with crazy stories about their friend - Jason who for no apparent reason sprayed himself with pepper spray to see how it would affect him! Yes... it hurt. Our night however was not without incident, Maree attempted to buy popcorn from the hostel reception, and they refused to serve it as she had no change. So poor Maree went out to try and get change, and when she came back they'd eaten the popcorn!
The following night we were getting a bus down to Oaxaco, except for Jules who was heading down to the coast. However, seeing as we had the whole day still in San Cristobal we decided to go and visit this village nearby called - San Jaun Chamul.
We spent the rest of the evening in the hostel watching movies, waiting to get our night bus.