The night we arrived, Oct. 30th, we walked past several groups of kids dressed up and trick-or-treating as we walked from the bus station to our hostel. Tonight, the first of a two day celebration for Dia de los Muertos, we saw many more children passing from store to store, dressed up with hands out for candy.
But yesterday, on October 31st, none. Zilch. Nada. Somehow, we seemed to be the only ones celebrating Halloween. This would not have been a surprise, being in a different country and all, except for the fact people seemed to be dressed up every night BUT Halloween. We found out later that since it fell on a Sunday, many chose to celebrated Halloween a day early, or to just wait and lump it in with the Dia de los Muertos festivities.
And yet there we were, four gringas in ridiculously bright and shiny togas, with leaves, flowers, hearts and moons in our hair. Of course, we were going for the ridiculous factor, why else would have have gone all out in such a fabulously tacky way? So in that sense, it was a success. But it took us a while to go from deer in headlights with everyone staring at us, to turning the attention into a positive thing and making new friends. While on our way to a place Chiara had recommended, we met a group of four guys who ended up tagging along. Our varying levels of Spanish and English abilities made for interesting table conversation, but we got along just fine.
Next they showed us a really great salsa club and we spent the rest of the night dancing until our safety pinned garments could no longer handle the pressure (we were armed with plenty of clothing underneath, luckily—for both warmth and modesty's sake). We said goodnight to our new friends, politely declining their offer to escort us back to our hostel, and turned towards our temporary home. At this point my toga was acting more as a shawl—completely unpinned and wrapped around my shoulders to ward off the cold, night air.Cañón del Sumidero, an hour away from San Cristobal and on the Grijalva River. We piled onto a large motor boat and maneuvered throught the deep canyon, which I decided was Yosemite meets Milford Sound. The canyon walls were impressively high, and at the base of the cliffs there were several narrow beaches where crocodiles could be seen sunning (we saw eleven total). Cutting through the wind and water on the speedy boat reminded me of family summer vacations on Moosehead Lake, Maine throughout my childhood.
Shrine built into the canyon walls
The canyon was dramatic, but one point was particularly shocking. As we rounded one of the bends, it appeared there was something thick covering the surfaced of the water. Reeds, perhaps? Refuse, rather. Lots of it. The disturbing scene that caused me to tip my camera lens a bit higher than normal, also prompted me to ponder the source of all the waste below the horizon line, and how it came to inhabit this otherwise glorious vista.
The scene that's omitted from the travel magazines
After the boat ride, we returned to the van and were taken to a nearby town, Chiapa de Corzo. After eating lunch there, we opted to go to the zoo in Tuxtla rather than to continue back to San Cristobal with the tour.
Then we started looking for colectivos to San Cristobal, however everyone we stopped was going to Tuxtla. After speaking with several people, it seemed we needed to take a bus to Tuxtla in order to find a colectivo going to San Cristobal. So, of course, we paid to go BACK to the city we had just left, and finally caught a colectivo to San Cristobol. Three unnecessary rides and we didn’t even get to go to the zoo.
By the time we got home this afternoon we were pretty tired and a little frustrated (though as Liz pointed out, “If this is the worst thing that happens to us on this trip then I’d say we’re doing pretty well”), so we opted for a relaxing night. We went to a pizza place and ordered a whole pizza each, so we’d have lunch for the next day. We have got only one more day here, probably full of shopping, and then back to reality. But I have to admit, I miss the monkeys!