Christmas in San Cristobal de las Casas

We pulled into San Cristobal at around 4:30 in the evening.  It was raining and after that crazy drive we found ourselves wondering why we ever leave the coast.  However it wasn’t long before we shook those feelings aside and got into our camp set up mode.  It isn’t easy setting up a tent in the rain but a little rain never hurt anybody, did it?

Mountains leading up to San Cristobal

Mountains leading up to San Cristobal

A rainbow welcomeAfter we finished setting up camp we got down to business making a snack and a cocktail before heading into town with the rest of the STT crew for some much needed comida.  The first night we didn’t get to see the city very well because of the rain so we were excited to get up early the next morning and explore.

With yummy eggs and potatoes in our bellies we headed into town.  The Rancho San Nicolas RV park is awesome.  First of all Reina can be left off the leash all day long, free to roam the mountainside and play with the local camp dog. Second it is in a perfect location.  Just on the outskirts of town so you can walk into town anytime but aren’t in the thick of all the hustle and bustle of city life.

Our first stop in town was the lavanderia, our weeks worth of dirty laundry was starting to stink up the Burro. Next we hit the main strip in search of some coffee and boy were we in for a treat.  We ordered chocolate caliente con espresso and it was seriously the best coffee we’ve had on the trip.  Actually we had two of the best coffees of the trip in San Cristobal, one of the many reasons we loved this town.

First things first...laundry! Fun fun!

First things first…laundry! Fun fun!

With coffees in hand we strolled into the town square and parked ourselves on a bench to people watch the day away. From the square we noticed a big tent setup and went to investigate.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an ice skating rink filled it kids of all ages skating.  I tried to get Jamie to join in the fun but we wouldn’t do it.  Oh well, maybe next time we happen upon an ice skating rink he’ll want to do it. Once we got our fill of watching kids skate, we wandered around a bit more and then made our way back to the camp ground.

Right in the center of town

Right in the center of town

Iceskating!

Iceskating!

Catherdral in town

The following day we headed into the neighboring village of San Juan Chamula with Sande.  Sande had mentioned this town to us and we instantly knew we wanted to go.  The inhabitants of the town are of direct Mayan decent and are extremely proud of their heritage.  Our first stop in town was the church.  We paid the 10 peso entrance fee and made our way in.  Once inside we were immediately aware that this wasn’t just your ordinary church.  There were pine needles all over the floor and the air was thick with the smoke from incense.  There weren’t any benches, so groups of people were scattered all over the floor surrounded by burning candles, some with bottles of soda others with chickens.  All around you could hear the chanting and whispering of the native healers and their patients performing traditional ceremonies intended to cure illnesses.  There aren’t any medical facilities or pharmacies in town because the people prefer these traditional methods and all along the walls stand wooden statues of saints encased in glass walled boxes.

The only picture I got in Chamula, the start of a Christmas Parade

The only picture I got in Chamula, the start of a Christmas Parade

After spending 30 minutes in the church we decided it was time to head into the market.  We wandered through the market for a few hours.  Sande and I bought a few cute hand embroidered shirts, then we decided to hit the road.

Christmas Eve was the following day and we had planned on having a big Christmas dinner in the palapa on property that has a big fireplace.  A few days prior Jamie had spent hours chopping wood and making sure that it was clean and ready.  Unfortunately about half of the STT clan was sick so we decided to push the dinner to Christmas night.

Christmas day Jamie and I got up early to head into town to get our ingredients at the big open-air market.  This market was insane.  Stall after stall of goods ranging from vegetables and fruits to belts and hats made of leather.  One stall was completely filled with beans of every shape color and size you could imagine.

Dinner that night was amazing.  For starters Doug made his famous salsas and guac, plus there were loaves of bread with roasted garlic and olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For dinner we had mashed potatoes, creamed squash, cucumber and avocado salads, four whole chickens, and carrots sautéed with apples and maple syrup.  After the feast we all took turns swing a bat at Santa, the piñata.  I was first and I ended up showing everybody how to miss the piñata instead of how to hit it. Sande eventually wound up decapitating santa and spilling his candy guts all over the floor.

Christmas set upApitizersDecapitated SantsNadia taking a wack at itAll in all our Christmas in San Cristobal was fabulous.  We were sad not to be spending Christmas with family but so happy to have been able to spend it with friends.

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