Oaxaca and San Cristobal
10.11.2008 25 °C
I arrived in Oaxaca Friday morning after a very long bus journey. But for once it was a comfortable one, I went in a minibus instead of the standard public transport. For the first 10 hours it was less than half full and for the last 18 hours it was just me and the driver. But the last couple of hours on windy roads I was starting to feel sick so was glad when we finally arrived. Only problem was it wasn´t travel sick like I thought, I continued being sick for the next few days and spent most of the weekend in bed and unable to eat anything. Unfortunatly this meant I also missed most of the day of the dead celebrations which sounded really interesting. Around the town centre nd in most buildings people had made arches of marigolds and decorated them with other plants and offerings to welcome back the dead. All weekend in the evenings there were people walking around in fancy dress. I recovered enough to see some of the sights in the city. I really enjoyed the Santo Domingo Conevent, its museum and gardens. THe museum was excelent, a good chance to learn all about Mexican history and the culture of the different ethnic groups.
By Monday night I felt wel enough to get the overnight bus to San Cristobal. I arrived early in the morning and celebrated finally feeling better again by having a huge breakfast, my first meal for several days. I spent the day explring the city, another really nice place to spend a lot of time wandering around all the plazas, churches and buildings. I also went to the Na Bolam museum, about a tribe that live in the rain forest and were unaffected by the rest of the world until about 1950 when logging started in the area. Interesting to see how they are trying to maintain some of their traditions.
THe following day I went on a really interesting tour to 2 of the neibouring indigenous villages. We had an excellent guide who explained the different cultures and traditions. Visitng the church and finding out about their religion was interesting. The Spanish missionaries built a church but failed to convert the village to Christianity, instead they now have a religon which mixes Mayan beliefs with some aspects of Christianity. They pray to the normal Catholic saints using Mayan prayers. In the church there are no services or a priest, families can go to the church at any time and make offerings to the saints, incuding sacrificing chickens.
The following day I went on a oat trip through Sumidero canyon, a huge canyon which is over 1km deep in places. Very spectacular scenery and a good chance to see a bit of wildlife.