|A family at market. Note the toddler held on mama's back by a rebozo.|
Last weekend I had the good fortune to spend three days in and around San Cristobal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. I think I can count San Cristobal amongst my very favorite cities. It's up in the mountains and the cool mountain air was a welcome respite from August in Austin (or Coatzacoalcos, for that matter, which is where I have been these last two weeks). There is a heavy presence of local indigenous groups. I heard many, many people speaking Tzotzil, the local Mayan language, or alternating between Tzotzil and Spanish.
We spent a day at the market in San Juan Chamula, a town outside San Cristobal. The traditional dress of the Chamulans is a black skirt of shaggy wool for the women, paired with a bright silk blouse. The men wear a white shaggy wool overcoat. The wool comes from locally raised sheep, which dot the surrounding countryside. Their homesteads are really impressive and I'll write more about that later. Today I want to give you a taste of the marketplace.
|Brother was checking out the wool selection. Those were some really fluffy piles.|
|Beautiful handwoven baskets for sale next to piles of horrible plastic shoes. For all the natural beauty of the rest of their clothing, the indigenous women wear terrible plastic flats.|
|Gorgeous sacks of locally grown beans and corn. Corn is grown in every nook and cranny, on every rocky slope and trash-filled lot.|
|A selection of colorful local fruits and veggies. Many are familiar but the little yellow balls are nanches, a Mexican fruit.|
|Baby chicks being put in a plastic bag to be taken home. I watched a Chamulan woman tuck one into her rebozo with the rest of her load. Then a little boy wanted these two and got them in a bag.|
|The boy who bought these chicks ran off down the street with the bag in hand, chicks and all.|
|I couldn't get enough of the macadamia nuts, which I had never seen before in their shells. They are so buttery and sweet and delicious.|
|A cartload of rambutanes, which I think are what we call lychees in English.|
|Women in traditional Chamulan dress, toting children and loads in their rebozos. Rebozos are basically a long strip of fabric used as a bag, baby sling, baby hammock, shawl, and whatever else you may need in the moment.|
|These chickens grilled over a wood fire looked so delicious. We stopped for chicken later that day.|
|Four Chamulan policemen in traditional dress and carrying long nightsticks. I decided to take a picture of their backs because they looked all business despite their lack of firearms.|