Category Archives: Chiapa de Corzo

Collision 

Standard

After finishing my official month at the hospital, I stayed on in Tuxtla for another ten days with my family, enjoying the freedom to sleep in, help out around the house, and await Josh’s arrival in Chiapas. After nearly five weeks of living on my own, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the thought of living as a couple once again. My time alone in Tuxtla had taught me an incredible amount about myself that I simply would not have learned in the same way if I was traveling with someone else. From the seemingly mundane (but for me, actually quite revolutionary!) lesson of learning to appreciate and even enjoy technology, to the possibly life-altering opportunity of being forced to work in both the ER and Pediatrics, to the maddeningly frustrating yet impossibly proud moments of having to depend solely on my own Spanish skills for communication, to the terrifying yet indescribably rewarding moments of having to depend solely on my own social skills for friendship… Because of experiences like these, I’ve always found it incredibly valuable to spend some time apart from each other, continuing to build our individual lives, and then also adding all the new lessons and challenges learned as individuals to our shared married life.

But as amazing as travelling alone can be, and as amazing as married life can be, the truth is that the transition between the two can be tricky. However, the Tuxtlayork crew were incredible (as they tend to be) at immediately welcoming Josh into our group and planning a week full of activities to show off our beloved Chiapas. As the experienced Chiapeneca, I got to play hostess to Josh, instructing him in the art of combi-riding, introducing him to the wonders of the Cañón del Sumidero, and ensuring that he was well-versed in the flavours of Tuxtla, including my favourites of michelada and tascalate. With Tuxtlayork, we returned to Sancris for a final weekend, and from Sancris, left on a twelve-hour round trip to seek out some of Chiapas’ maravillas:

Sancris 4.0: Columbian arepas, Mercado de dulces, & Maya Vinic fairtrade coffee!
Arepas!!
Dulces
Yes, that’s a chingón of souvenirs!
Maya Vinic

Las cascadas de Agua Azul
P1120872
P1120881
Agua Azul

Misol-Ha (where Josh beat us back to the bus by swimming across, rather than walking):
Misol-Ha

Palenque: site of Mayan King Pakal’s legendary reign
Palenque
Site of torture and subsequent decapitation of criminals (yep, the torture seems gratuitous)
P1120935
P1120938
P1120944

With all our exchanges coming to an end around the same time, our final few days in Tuxtla were a blur of goodbye dinners and tearful hugs. We kept each other positive by talking about next summer – Sandra was going into her final year of medicine, so we decided a combination celebration/reunion was absolutely essential. The only question remaining is in which country it will be held!

Jammin’ … classic setlist of Radiohead, Romeo Santos, Fall Out Boy, and Heathen Eve originals
Jammin1
Jammin2
P1120986

Despedida 1.0 😦
P1140008

Marimba lessons from the experts
Marimba1
Marimba2

Beautiful farewell dinner (complete with Mexican sushi!) with our host families
P1140045

Far sooner than I was ready for, it was our turn to be dropped off at the Tuxtla airport to catch our flight to Cancún and continue the next leg of our Mexican adventure. Thankfully, the airport was tiny enough that we could disregard all the PASSENGERS ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT warnings, and Valeria and Valeria escorted us with besos and a running photo-documentary all the way to the security checkpoint… at which point our final hugs were supervised by armed guards and the Valerias were then escorted back to the waiting area.

Despedida 2.0 😦 😦
P1140058
Screenshot2
Screenshot_2015-07-21-22-18-55

No es un adiós, es solamente un ¡Hasta pronto! a mi querida Chiapas.
And for the moment, es un ¡Hola! a Quintana Roo

P1140092

Advertisements

Between the Zoque and Tzotzil

Standard

My first morning in Tuxtla, Tio Milton was back bright and early to take Valeria and I to los miradores del Cañón del Sumidero, a winding road up the mountain with glorious views of the canyon below. This area is linked to the Chiapa people, who occupied the Central Valley area before the arrival of the Spanish. Their main settlement was in Chiapa de Corzo near the canyon, with a fortified area higher up for protection from invasions. The Chiapa fiercely resisted Spanish conquest for years, with their last refuge in the fortified area, now known as the archeological site of the Ruins of Berlin. When the Spanish took over the main city in 1528, the Chiapa still retained their stronghold until 1535. Legend has it that when this last fortification fell, the remaining Chiapa committed collective suicide by jumping into the canyon. Since then, the canyon has served as a boundary marker between the Zoque and Tzotzil peoples.

Miradores del Canon de Sumidero

P1120118

P1120111

P1120123

P1120132

We then passed a relaxing afternoon wandering the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas (whose name in the Tzotzil and Tzeltal languages is Jovel, or “the place in the clouds”), visiting churches dating from 1528 and admiring Valeria’s haggling skills with the feria artists.

Iglesia del Carmen

For lunch, Milton treated us at Los Jardines de San Cristobal, a sprawling restaurant renowned for el buffet that gave me a chance to sample all Tuxtla’s favourite comidas: la sopa de chipilín, el cochito adobado, pollo con mole, platanos fritos, dulces de calabaza. To drink: el tascalate, a mix of corn, cocoa, achiote, cinnamon, and sugar (that I am slightly addicted to).

Valeria, Milton, y tascalate!
Jardines de San Cristobel

Jardines de San Cristobal

——————————————————————————-

The following weekend, Valeria and I returned to el Cañón, but this time, from abajo (below)! In the 39°C weather, Valeria and I and the other SCOPE students attempted to stay cool (ha!) by guzzling Chiapa de Corzo’s renowned pozol, an indigenous chiapeneco drink made from ground roasted white corn that is then mixed by hand with water, cocoa, and pochotl:

Pozol

We then rented a boat and spent the day exploring Chiapa de Corzo and el río Grijalva, keeping our hands safely inside the boat as we snapped photos of some of Grijalva’s more intimidating residents…

Sandra (SCOPE student from Colombia), yo, Valeria, y Diego (from Tuxtla)
La lancha

Diego and Valeria can be frightening 😉 but they’re not whom I’m referring to…
Cañón del Sumidero

P1120384

P1120361

Faces in this photograph are as amazed as they appear!
P1120365

Baby crocodiles!!!
Crocodilitos

Iguane

P1120407

Endangered American river crocodiles
P1120398

P1120417

The Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe in La Cueva de Colores (Cave of Colors), named for the filtration of magnesium, potassium and other minerals which colour the walls pink
Guadalupe

P1120429

The walls of the Canyon stretch up over 1000m
P1120439

Cascada Árbol de Navidad (Christmas Tree Waterfall): the “branches” of the Árbol are made by deposits from the waterfall which are then covered in moss.
Arbol Navidad
P1120444

P1120448

Chicoasén Dam, one of many hidroeléctricas that provide power to 70% of Mexico (take note of the snack boat ready for service!)
P1120451
Snacky boat

Worn out and heading home
P1120453

***EDIT*** A month later, when Josh joined me in Chiapas, we returned to the Cañón and found that the cocodrilos were feeling even more photogenic this visit… we saw over 10 crocodiles in 2 hours!!
Baby cocos!
Coco1
Coco2
Coco3