Excursion to San Juan Chamula, or the sunset of a town


No daughter, no! I did not plan to stay another day in bed. If necessary it would come out with a built-in probe, but nanai To lose another day.

Before going to Chiapas state, in Mexico everyone told me that I had to go to San Juan Chamula. Some recommended it to me because of the peculiar traditions that are still practiced there. "You'll see, when you go to church you'll hallucinate," they told me, although others claimed that everything that was lived there was a farce to attract tourists. The point is that I have never believed in absolute truths and less coming from people who are not a reliable source of information. So I decided to include the visit to our country itinerary

Days before arriving, when we were visiting Misol-ha waterfallsWe met a guide who took the typical photo with the background waterfall and, chatting with him, explained that it was San Cristóbal de las Casas and told us that we had to go to San Juan Chamula, but not with a local agency, but with Raúl. «Stay at nine on the Mayan cross in front of the cathedral of San Cristobal and Raúl will find you». Personally, I found the recommendation curious, but after Bela, the owner of our B&B, paraphrased the same words, we decided to present ourselves at the place and at the indicated time to see if Raul appeared. And indeed, Raul appeared.

In fact, Raul was the owner of a small agency that made a tour For two of the indigenous peoples that are near San Cristobal and the visit was made with Manuel, who was a short and very cultured man. When they gathered a small group, we headed to the van, and since most of the group did not speak Spanish, we ended up visiting in English. During the journey we were talking with Manuel about Barcelona, ​​football (yes, to which you mention that you are from Barcelona you always end up talking about Barça) and about Chiapas.

From San Cristóbal de las Casas to San Juan Chamula there is about half an hour. Upon arrival, the van parked next to the cemetery and, while we were going down, a multitude of girls, women and old women swirled around us to sell us all kinds of crafts and beads very insistently, but to which they saw Manuel get off the van They were without saying a peep.

-As soon as they see me, they leave, because I always tell people that I bring them to buy nothing. Do you see that coach up there? The guides usually tell tourists that they bring that the people here are very poor, that they help them survive. But that doesn't help them, the money you give a child will end up in a video game machine, spent on candy or Coca-Cola, not food.

With this speech we begin the visit to San Juan Chamula from its cemetery. From what Manuel explained to us and the other versions that we contrast days later, we learned that San Juan Chamula is the center of a community of various Tzozil villages. The Tzoziles of the community of San Juan Chamula have their own code of customs and customs approved by the Government of Mexico and some "constitutional" customs do not have much. For the record, all I will report below is the perception I received during a brief visit, so perhaps it may be far from other points of view.

Before explaining anything, Manuel reminded us that photos of general plans could be taken, that we didn't focus on anyone, especially the "guardians" and the "elders" of the town. The guardians are gentlemen who are dressed in white and wear a white wool vest. Many people think that they do not like to be taken photos because they believe that the photo captures their soul, which, although it was true, Manuel told us that he once took writers from a travel magazine and for 1,000 pesos and three boxes of Beer could take all the photos they wanted for 15 minutes.