Alice Springs Photographer Blog

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico - Travel Photography

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San Chris as it called by those that have been there too long is truly a magnificent city in the south of Mexico that everyone that is thinking of travelling to Mexico must go to.

When I say this please don't assume that I was always going to from the first moment we arrived. To be quite honest San Chris the first time around was quite a challenging place for me. Challenging not in the way of language or climate but more in the way that many travellers with their pockets full of money and heads full of back home ideas would pass judgment. It was grinding on me for the first few days of our stay.

This judgment would be that the people on the street usually Mayan were in a desperate state and selling their wares to you while you sip on an espresso confirmed this. Truth is an espresso costs 15 pesos which is a decent chuck of their daily wage and chances are that their family has grown coffee for as long as gringos have been drinking it. Its as if most do gooders believed that because they (the Mayans) aren't sitting in the sun drinking coffee or having a glass of wine in the bar at night they need saving and or are unhappy.

A new friend of mine Jannis from German and I spent hours in conversation debating the good, bad and the ugly of this and other similar perspectives. As our conversations wore on into the night and the wine I concluded that once again my eyes were only seeing what they knew and not what they could learn. What they could learn was that while women and children were selling everything from clothing to shoe shines to individual cigarettes at all hours of the day it was hardly, in comparative terms, a hard life. They would joke with each other between sales; be around their family all day; probably make more than being someone's house maid and the kids would play but only when away from the tourist hot spots.

This all happened in the same street as the above do gooders would only see poor women and children with puppy dog eyes. All I can say about this is that it worked and once again the travellers had been out smarted by as they say the mother of all invention necessity. 

It wasn't until my second visit to San Chris that I really grew to love this street theater that played out at all hours of the day. Walking the street day and night I wanted to find the things that made this place special for the people that lived there but also the tourists. It wasn't a singular place or a singular time of day but, and it might sound a little cliche, it was the sum of all its parts that made it special.

The colours of the houses; gnarly uneven sidewalks; great weather; fascinating modern Mayan culture; trendy cafes; urban styles of the Mexican youth and a very healthy mix of world wide travellers calling it home are a few that come to mind. 

Did I say earlier that "you must go".