Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Cycling Snapshot// Chiapas, Mexico
My sister and I on our Mexibwikes in May 2013.
San Juan Chamula is a 10km cycle from San Cristobal de las Casas through the mountains of the Chiapas Highlands. Most of the journey is along a quiet track where the landscape ranges from lush to almost prehistoric looking.
Chamula is home to the largest indigenous Tzotzil Mayan population and it holds autonomous status within Mexico. It has its own police force and no outside military are allowed in the village.
The famous church of San Juan is full of statues holding mirrors. Some say it's to ward off evil and others say it is so you look for the saint's qualities in yourself. There are no pews but people sitting in groups on the pine needle covered floor performing healing rituals. There is fabric draped from the ceiling and so many candles providing the only light. Some weird things happen in this church. They sacrifice chickens and believe burping helps expel evil spirits. To aid this, they drink a lot of Coca-Cola. The glass bottles are everywhere. Apparently, Pepsi tried to get in on it and become the preferred carbonated drink. It's also known as the Coco-Cola church, so I guess Pepsi failed.
You won't see any pictures of inside the church as photography is strictly forbidden. We were told a story about how someone had taken a few stealth pictures and when they had checked them later, they were blank. I KNOW.
When we were back in San Cristobal de las Casas having dinner, my sister said, "That was a weird place to ride our bikes to."