We spent quite a bit of time in Oaxaca. Two full weeks. But in the end both of us didn’t feel this city hit our sweet spot. Strangely, it has a lot of check marks for weather, history, culture, mountains, city. We even met people here that we genuinely hope to see again. But something about the city didn’t hit it off with us. Maybe it was the traffic or the sprawl of industrialized development spidering around the city. But regardless, it was time to move on to the next destination of San Cristobal de las Casas.
San Cristobal is another beautiful colonial city with cobblestone streets, clay tile roofs and colorful facades. But to me I will remember it for its people. The city’s majority is the indigenous Tzotzil people and everywhere you turn you are reminded of the divide between the rich and the poor, the poor always someone indigenous. Since we arrived in Guanajuato two months ago we have seen more and more indigenous presence but nowhere else have we seen such sharp marginalization of the disadvantaged group. It is to me both fascinating and troubling to watch families and children working the streets all day long selling stuff to tourists. Little ones sometimes sell on their own things like gum or bracelets. Little boys carry their shoe shine kits polishing shoes for 20 pesos (US$1.50). Older kids often selling some kind of woven textiles or bags. It’s not surprising that the Zapatista rebels have a strong base and sympathizers in the city.
This little boy is the same age as Ty but that is probably the only similarity they share.
But we did have a good time in San Cristobal. I find the city hazily hypnotic where I could spend all day wandering and people watching. We visited during La Semana Santa or Holy Week so everywhere were these weaved palm leaves that people took to the church to be blessed by the priest. We bought some unweaved palms and Ty spent all day every day trying to weave them.
Here Ty and I had our first mom and son date as well. We hit a bar for drinks, then saw a theater show followed by cotton candy and hot chocolate. What can be better than that?