Like the city of San Cristóbal itself, the local markets in San Cristóbal are stunning, not only because of the vast diversity of the available items but also because of the artistic arranging of
-- which are renewed daily -- is captivating as the fruits and
vegetables are arranged in pyramids and towers atop small colored buck ets. The
food is then usually sold in this quantity it was displayed in, perhaps 5 avacadoes or ten oranges.
It is fascinating to track the passing of time by noticing the different foods that come in and out of season. When I was there they had many pyramids of large and juicy blackberries and every type of mango.
The food market -- which actually vends anything
you could possibly need from an herbal tea for diabetes to a screwdriver for fixing your
eyeglasses -- is quite large, sprawling across several streets. For handmade
artenesia the place go is the artenisia market which occupies the space all
around the cathedral Santo Domingo is a labrynth of stalls. There you can find
wool hats and socks and jackets as well as hand embroidered cotton blouses,
woven trousers, tableclothes, blankets, amber and jade jewelry as well as colorful jewelry made from corn, beans, orange peelings and apple seeds. I was so enchanted with this these incredibly cheap (35colorful and natural jewelry that I bought one for all of my friends in Guatemala and a few for the friends I haven't made yet. I also bought a wool hat, wool slippers and a woolen scarf the most gorgeous color of purple I have ever seen. And oh yes, a small red guitar, handmade in Mexico and just a little bigger than my ukulele.
The Tzotzil and Tzelzal Maya of this area known for their indepence and they do not suffer being photographed. In fact one woman wanted 10 pesos after I photographed her display of tableclothes from a distance even though I had told her I would not include in the picture. We had a little discussion because I thought it wasn't really fair to charge me after the fact, but I then agreed to pay her later as I didn't have any change. So I went back, weaving through alleyways of hand made clothing and brightly colored placemats embroidered with sunflowers and calla lillies. I don't know if she was surprised to see me and to receive the 10 pesos, but because of this we always greeted each other and talked a little when I passed her stall at the market. After that I always asked the vendor if I could take a picture of theri beautiful stalls. The food vendors were the most agreeable.
population of San Cristóbal de las Casas are much more educated about the
corporate exploitation of their lands and their forests. Support for the
Zapatistas, (EZLN) who led a revolt against NAFTA in this area, is evident in many of
the stalls. There is even a spacious and tasty restaurant, Adentro La Tierra,
whose proceeds help support the EZLN. Poltical documentaries as well as films
about the Maya and 2012 are in abundance and live music spans the spectrum from marimbas, to jazz and folk.
I've always been a big fan of walking streets and San Cris has not one but two connecting to the central zocalo. While there were some children vending, there were more women, carrying voluminous layers of
scarfs and handfuls of belts and bracelets. Each street has teams of blue aproned women wearing orange scarves who sweep the streets and keep them clean as hundreds of local people and visitors wander along them everyday.