Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Segment 15: Zipolite, Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas (May 1-12, 2010)

Leaving Zipolite, our first stop was Barra de la Cruz, a great surf spot, where our Irish friends had been surfing for over two weeks...

Frigate birds soared above us as we watched the waves

later afternoon at Barra de la Cruz

This is a day's worth of sweat salt accumulation, cycling on the hot and dry coast in the mid-day sun.

Bike maintenance in the dark. Another broken spoke.

This was to be our last glimpse of the coast for a long time, as we headed inland from here up towards the mountains of Chiapas.

Leaving Salina Cruz, end of approximately 1500km along Mexico 200, La Costera

With the sun being so intense in the middle of the day, we get started early before dawn. Here, we were lucky to find an early-morning mango vendor.

almost into Chiapas...

This river was an unexpected miracle and welcome rest during a hot afternoon on the bikes, popular with locals

We slept the nite in a mango orchard, and had a mango feast. They dropped from the trees around us as we slept... giant and ripe...

We stopped to wait out the heat for a while and this group of folks bought us seafood and beer. Incredible hospitality...

The roadside restaurant, with everything served from the back of a broken down pick-up.

We took a day off from cycling to visit El Sima de las Cotorras, or the 'Abyss of the Parrots'. It is a huge hole in the limestone, like a sinkhole, that houses thousands of green parrots like this one.

Orchids growing nearby

Beginning at dawn, the parrots form groups and fly out of the depths of the hole in a spiral pattern

Hundreds of parrots sometimes emerge simultaneously on their way to forage for food.

                          The hole is quite massive, about 150 meters across and 150 meters deep

                           The tourism infrastructure at the site is managed by a small local cooperative

Jason strolls on the trail encircling the sima.

It was a nice change to be back on dirt roads on our way to and from the sima, even if only for 25k.

We stopped during the midday heat for a dip in the river. From here, we'd start a 56k (35 mile) continuous climb up to San Cristobal.

We broke the climb up into two chunks, but it was still very challenging. Here's Jason during the seemingly neverending climb, the next morning.

We passed many small villages during the climb, since we took the older, longer road. A little harder to cycle, but well worth it for the scenery.

Finally!  San Cristobal de las Casas.  A few days rest...

Hot and tired from the climb, we headed straight for the market, and immediately got a few paletas, or frozen fruit juice popsicles, available in many flavors. Below, coconut and mango:

Price: 1.5 pesos apiece, or about $0.13

Street graffitti is prevalent all over..

Relaxing at the hostal in the backyard of Posada 5

Somebody's baby

In San Cristobal, we found another 'death shop', selling items related to Santa Muerte, or the Death Saint.

Sunset view from a city rooftop...

...where we sat and watched the film 'Avatar'. Surreal.
The roof top theater sat about 30, but there were only 8 of us in the audience

The next day, we headed off on a beautiful day ride into the surrounding countryside. We stopped at a local market, and witnessed this massive beef heart for sale, but we weren't interested...

Locally grown passionfruit. Delicious...

Roadside paleta service on a hot day...perfect.

Chiapas countryside

We stopped to visit the Zapatista Caracol in Oventic. The Zapatista uprising occured 16 years ago, but the Zapatistas continue to work to protect indigenous autonomous rights. In the little shop, EZLN soldier dolls ride along in a toy truck..

We met with the Junta, or currently governing group of Zapatistas at the caracol. They were incredibly friendly and described to us the history and workings of the organization.

The Zapatistas are particularly progressive in having women share an equal responsibilty in the runnings of the organization.  Here Subcomandante Marcos is seen behind the junta members, center.

Beautiful murals abound on almost every building in the caracol. Here, Zapata leads the masses...

Mural on the secondary school, commemorating the armed uprising of January 1st, 1994, when the Zapatistas temporarily seized control of San Cristobal

This says: "The USA appears destined by providence to plague Latin America with misery in the name of freedom".  Written by Simon Bolivar in 1824.  Just a little prophetic, wouldn't you say?

The Virgin Guadalupe, zapatista-style, wearing the trademark scarf of the Zapatistas over her mouth.

Zapatistas emerge like kernels on an ear of corn


the Oventic caracol is set amidst gorgeous mountain scenery

our permission

Back in San Cristobal, we took some things to a local tailor for repairs. Here, a 12 year-old boy repairs Jason's tent on an ancient Singer sewing machine.

The ad for our favorite eatery in San Cris.  The O's are bicycle wheels...

All this and more for only 20 pesos, all organic, all vegan. awesome.  Better yet, when questioned about the quantity of food, the cook responded, "We don't care about money here, we just want to feed good food to people.  Eat as much as you want."

We took a little time to prepare avocado chocolate mousse, ridiculously good. This time, with pure mayan guatemalan chocolate, 5 avocadoes, and served with fresh blackberries from the nearby market.

The mousse well-received, there are smiles all around from our friends at Posada 5.


Anonymous said...

What a great trip - I can't believe you got to see Avatar before me
- Brendan U

Adrian said...

Viva Zapata!