San Cristobal de las Casas

We settled into what may be the worst hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas, but we didn’t expect much for 250 pesos between three people. The shitter was in the same room as the beds, divided only by a partial wall, and there were gaps in the ceiling letting light through from the floor above. The shitter was also directly beside the shower so that a person could shower sitting down (we didn’t try this). The joint also had unmarked wet paint in the halls. Murphy had purchased a green raincoat for the trip and within five minutes of putting it on, he’d leaned against the walls, turning his coat green with blue splotches.

It was in a great location though, only a block over from a pedestrian-only street that led through the heart of SC. It was also only a short distance from a church on a hill, overlooking the city. We hiked up the stairs and were almost immediately hassled by some kids showing lists of “donations” that other tourists had given “to the church”, with their names, countries and amount given. It was completely absurd, with the paper supposedly showing those who’d went ahead of us (Euro backpackers) having given close to a hundred dollars each. It was stupid but I had to appreciate their hustle so I tossed them 10 pesos. Murphy declined and had a rock thrown at him. Near the top it was the same thing, but with local teenage girls attempting to sell us shawls. They started at around 150 pesos, but as we said no, one girl kept following us up the stairs yelling “100!” “90!” “80!” She eventually dropped her price to 45, with her friends egging her on and laughing below. We ran the gauntlet to get to the top though:

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After our photo shoot we hustled back down the stairs and through the city. Lots of cool-looking cafes, restaurants and bars, with locals selling crafts and snacks on the sidewalks. One woman with a large bucket of what looked like red flakes asked us if we wanted some in Spanish – none of us recognized the word she used so she repeated herself in English. “Grasshoppers?” Yes. Yes, we do want some. At first she gave us a couple in our hand to try, then a heaping spoonful. They were pretty good so we got a bag, into which she added lime and hot sauce. Damn! Now we’re talking. Seriously good stuff.

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We roamed into a strip of market stalls, tarped over because of the intermittent rain. It was mostly crafts and food, but I noticed several dolls at one stall that looked familiar. “¿Quién es esto?”, I asked the vendor. “Subcomandante Marcos“, she replied. Very cool. We grabbed several of the dolls with keychains attached. Some of the other stalls were selling Zapatista t-shirts. Grabbed one of those each too, mine with a red star, EZLN (the official name of the Zapatistas) and “Democracia”, “Libertad” and “Justicia” ringing the star. Murphy’s had an image of a cigar-smoking Subcomandante with the Zapatista’s goals written next to him. We won’t be wearing them through any Mexican military checkpoints but they were a few pretty sweet gems.

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The rain starting coming down hard enough that the tarps were only partially effective so we hauled ass out of the market and found refuge in a cool pizzeria with a wood-fired oven and a pretty decent beer and wine selection. Murphy took a shot on adding grasshoppers to the pizza – great pizza and great grasshoppers but apparently the two didn’t really click:

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By the time darkness had landed we’d put back quite a few rounds and the rain eventually stopped. Feeling pretty good, we figured it was time to hit some bars and once again, things took a turn for the stupid.

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