Festivals, Car Alarms and Fireworks!

San Cristobal Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 21 › view all entries
Some runners celebrating the Saint Mary's festival.

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.

The Hostel - Pasada Mexico.

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.

The film - Los Ultimos Zapatistas Heroes Olvidados.
.. I found a piece of metal scowering pad in my soup.  The restaurant was very apologetic, reduced the cost of my (very cheap) food and gave me a free desert!  Needless to say we went back to the Black Cat.  After eating we wondered around a little and then headed to this tiny little movie theatre to watch a spanish film on the Zapatista - the revolutionary movement in Mexico, which wanted to give the land back to the peasants. 

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.

Inside the side annex of the main church - soo many candles.

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.

Jules with disgusting beer number two!
  I tasted it and it was disgusting!

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.

The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
  Once checked in we decided to go and find the Mayan Medicine Museum.  The museum was quite far away so we had to get a taxi there.  The museum was really interesting, highlighting how the Mayan's beliefs are underpinned by the power of prayer and herbal remedies - including the burning of different coloured candles i.e. different colours are burnt for different ailments.  They also have a strong belief in the power of gaseous drinks such as pepsi and coke - believing that burping releases evil spirits.  In addition they also use a type of alcohol called passion.  Their remedy for broken bones was to wrap the injured bone in a particular leaf... with my foot still hurting from my horse riding accident - I was tempted!  Oh.
The church in San Jaun Chamul - and me.
.. and another interesting remedy was the use of spider venom on inflammed testicles!  I bet you wouldn't.

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.

Walking around San Jaun Chamul - Jules checking out the fireworks.
  This village is famous for it's church and the locals that visit - using all their local remedies and prayers i.e. the floor of the church is covered with pine needles, they use their coloured candles which they burn on the floor and tables, their fizzy drinks and passion alcohol, eggs and chickens!  Plus more crazy fireworks were going off - sounding like bomb blasts.  Jules even got excited and bought some of his own mini rockets.  Jules also got street food, with each mouthful being begrudged by the local dog population.  At the same time some local ladies kept trying to sell us their local crafts.  I eventually gave in and bought some little ceramic Mayan dolls from this little old lady - it's always the cute old people that get me.

We spent the rest of the evening in the hostel watching movies, waiting to get our night bus.

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Some runners celebrating the Saint…
Some runners celebrating the Sain…
The Hostel - Pasada Mexico.
The Hostel - Pasada Mexico.
The film - Los Ultimos Zapatistas …
The film - Los Ultimos Zapatistas…
Inside the side annex of the main …
Inside the side annex of the main…
Jules with disgusting beer number …
Jules with disgusting beer number…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The church in San Jaun Chamul - an…
The church in San Jaun Chamul - a…
Walking around San Jaun Chamul - J…
Walking around San Jaun Chamul - …
On the bus from Palenque to San Cr…
On the bus from Palenque to San C…
On the bus from Palenque to San Cr…
On the bus from Palenque to San C…
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal - mor…
Walking around San Cristobal - mo…
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal.
Some more locals celebrating Saint…
Some more locals celebrating Sain…
The view from the girls dorm at th…
The view from the girls dorm at t…
Maree and Al waiting for the film …
Maree and Al waiting for the film…
The Saint Marys festival.
The Saint Mary's festival.
The Saint Marys festival.
The Saint Mary's festival.
The Saint Marys festival - Al and…
The Saint Mary's festival - Al an…
Jules and Al playing foosball.
Jules and Al playing foosball.
The Saint Marys festival.
The Saint Mary's festival.
The Saint Marys festival.
The Saint Mary's festival.
The main church lit up at the Sain…
The main church lit up at the Sai…
Looking back down from the church.
Looking back down from the church.
The main church at the Saint Mary…
The main church at the Saint Mary…
The mariachi band in the courtyard…
The mariachi band in the courtyar…
Maree and me with our millies.
Maree and me with our millies.
Jules and Al drinking the disgusti…
Jules and Al drinking the disgust…
Maree after trying the Michalada b…
Maree after trying the Michalada …
Maree and me with our churros - yu…
Maree and me with our churros - y…
Jules stopping to check out his we…
Jules stopping to check out his w…
Jules stopping to check out his we…
Jules stopping to check out his w…
Al being forced in to trying the s…
Al being forced in to trying the …
Walking around San Cristobal at ni…
Walking around San Cristobal at n…
Walking around San Cristobal at ni…
Walking around San Cristobal at n…
Walking around San Cristobal at ni…
Walking around San Cristobal at n…
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal.
Walking around San Cristobal - lov…
Walking around San Cristobal - lo…
Walking around San Cristobal - lov…
Walking around San Cristobal - lo…
Walking around San Cristobal - lov…
Walking around San Cristobal - lo…
Walking around San Cristobal - Jul…
Walking around San Cristobal - Ju…
Walking around San Cristobal - wha…
Walking around San Cristobal - wh…
Walking around San Cristobal - sne…
Walking around San Cristobal - sn…
Walking around San Cristobal - fab…
Walking around San Cristobal - fa…
Walking around San Cristobal - a m…
Walking around San Cristobal - a …
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine.
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - a m…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - a …
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - the…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - th…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - one…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - on…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - wal…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - wa…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - May…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - Ma…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - May…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - Ma…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - May…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - Ma…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - May…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - Ma…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - May…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - Ma…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - May…
The Museum of Mayan Medicine - Ma…
Walking around San Jaun Chamul.
Walking around San Jaun Chamul.
Walking around San Jaun Chamul - f…
Walking around San Jaun Chamul - …
The church in San Jaun Chamul.
The church in San Jaun Chamul.
The church in San Jaun Chamul.
The church in San Jaun Chamul.
The church in San Jaun Chamul - lo…
The church in San Jaun Chamul - l…
A cross infront of the church in S…
A cross infront of the church in …
Chickens probably waiting to be sa…
Chickens probably waiting to be s…
The crazy market in San Jaun Chamu…
The crazy market in San Jaun Cham…
Eating at the Black Cat - Al and M…
Eating at the Black Cat - Al and …
Eating at the Black Cat - Jules an…
Eating at the Black Cat - Jules a…
Eating at the Black Cat - me with …
Eating at the Black Cat - me with…
San Cristobal
photo by: SaffaAussie