Sunday evening, as the sun cast long shadows over the deep valleys of Chiapas, we arrived in San Cristobal de las Casas. We had expected to stop short of the city in a dirty hotel in a nameless mountain pueblo, but the roads were smoother than we expected and straighter and we made good time. We began our day on the beach and ended it at 7,200 feet.
Yesterday, in the remote fishing village of Chipehua, Oaxaca, we gorged ourselves on fresh baked Sierra and raw shrimp aguachile and got a little sunburned as we meandered around lounging fishing boats half-buried in sand along a quiet beach. It was deserted except for some vultures picking at the spines of stingrays and hammerhead sharks, sunbathing yellow-bellied sea snakes writhing slowly and dreaming of a high tide and their salvation, and some bony dogs suffering from mange, hunger, and a lack of affection. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at that little edge of the world. We slept in a hillside cabaña that we shared with a family of bats roosting in the thatched roof and more than a few geckos living in the walls. On the porch I strung up my hammock, intent to prove its worth as I have not hung it up since our first days in Baja, and successfully read from a book in an enviously relaxed fashion. However, when I tried to spend the night in it, I only reaffirmed that I prefer a flat padded surface to a curved suspended one for sleeping.
From the beach we turned inland, crossing great swaths of farmland and wind farms. The heat was scorching and the wind blasted us relentlessly from the northwest, jostling the bike like a great invisible prankster mocking us for choosing the balancing on two wheels over the stability of four. We began to ascend in the early afternoon and gradually the overbearing heat and wind subsided. The ascent steepened as we approached San Cristobal. From bridges we caught naked glimpses of a vast expanse of land beneath us. The earth in Chiapas from what we’ve seen has a scorched quality, very different from the verdant abundance of Oaxaca. It is beautiful in it’s own way.
Our time in Mexico will soon be coming to an end. We had originally planned to head Northeast from San Cristobal to explore Campeche, Quintana Roo, and the Yucatan. There is much to see there, both natural and historical, but we think that three months in Mexico is enough for now. We have a boat departing from Panama in March and we don’t want to find ourselves rushing to catch it. The Yucatan peninsula will have to wait for another trip.
There is still much to tell of Mexico and our time here. I hope to get around to telling it.