I had not much of a clue on what to do apart from walking around town. However there was a popular village called San Juan Chamula in the neighbourhood and I decided to give it a visit. Firstly I walked up to a market around the corner for some food. This was a big one, but I had to kind of dig my way around to find something to eat.
Chamula was about 12 km away and I figured I could ride there. The route out of town was pretty as and I spotted a bunch of tourists here and there trying to negotiate with a tuk tuk or taxi to get them places. The pleasures of having a bike! awesome! There was a bit of a stiff hill along the way, but was an easy ride without panniers. I dropped into the village and immediately it felt strange. Later I would learn that this village is managed as an autonomous entity and they have their own rules and laws, separate from the Mexican system. Hmmm.
Anyhow, the things I noticed was that people were all dressed in traditional costume. Almost all of the population was indigenous, I reckon mayan, and they spoke a different language too. I have heard photography was not preferred and I chose not to take any pictured. Most of the houses had a small patch of land behind in which the locals grew a vareity of vegetables. I suppose there was a certain sense of organic living around and it was obvious even at a first glance.
I headed to the popular church, which is known for being very non-christian. The place was different, they had pine needles all over the floor and the entire church was filled with candles which have it a warm glow. People were making strange prayers with bottles of coke and mescal. I can see how this would look absolutely amazing for traditionalists and westerners, but as someone who grew up in India, the stuff looked pretty normal, heh. I somehow felt a bit sad when I saw the native people performing, what I consider, their traditional rituals, in a church, which is the only place available. May be the traditions have evolved with time, but It felt like people were holding on to one last thing that would keep their identity alive and that was a sad indeed.
Anyhow, I rode back into town and it was still early and I stopped for some hot chocolate. I rode around and found a small bike shop called Pura Bici. I have been meaning to switch my tires for a while, but wanted to donate my current set, which is still in fantastic shape (last puncture about 2 months back). I have ridden almost 20,000 Km on these tires and I figured I might switch tires and not worry for a couple more years. Also, The spare tires I am carrying take up space and weight and I might as well use them. I changed my tires and gave my used pair to Pura Bici. They were glad to have a fine pair of tires!
I was told of a nice bit of walk around town that would take me up to a river. I decided to walk that and along the way a bit of rain showed up. Been a while there. I met a couple of guys walking their dogs and we walked up the river for a while. I was nice to get out of the tourist belt and be in some quiet nature for a while. I decided to walk back this route again tomorrow and so headed into town for a bit of grub. I found tamales in the centre and after a nice bite headed back. Revolution tavern beckons at night!
Route: San Cristobal To Chamula loop
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 292 m
Descent: 490 m
Comment: Dureme, you gave good service. Mondial, please do the same!