Travel Journal: Mexico
After our stay in Palenque, we headed to San Cristobal de las Casas, arguably the group’s favorite city on our trip. Settled in the mountains of southern México, its cooler climate and European-ski-town feel made it a great place to sit at a bustling café on the side of the pedestrian street, sharing appetizers and drinks with great friends listening to the street bands playing jazzy tunes. There were street vendors with gorgeous handmade goods—a couple of the girls bought rings from the Spanish jewelry maker who’d come to live here a few years ago.
In San Cristobal, perhaps one of the most interesting things we did was ride horses to a little village outside of the city called San Juan Chamula to visit a church (a rather large one with lots of attendees) that combines Catholic and Mayan practices...and no cameras were allowed inside the church. The floors were covered with fresh pine needles and plagued with lit candles which were stuck to the tile floor by their own wax—the smell it created was nothing short of amazing. Mollie was brave enough to try one of the rituals when she was offered a “cleansing” for only 100 “pesitos”—a diminutive phrase that literally translates to “little pesos.” The shaman, an older gentleman, passed fresh sage along her shoulders, head, and torso while chanting Mayan blessings. Using a fresh egg, he passed it along her head, stopping a while on the top, then moved to her forehead and heart to capture the bad spirits nesting in her body. Then he cracked the egg to “kill” the spirits, relieving her of any bad omens that plagued her. After a few swigs of water and a few passes of a candle, she was cleansed!
A few days later in Oaxaca, we attended Day of the Dead ceremonies as I detailed in my last post, and began the two-day trek back to Mérida. Getting to know a culture doesn’t mean staying in one place and making it home—it’s also about travelling, like we did, to other parts of the country to learn the wonderfully diverse people and landscapes that it has to offer.
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