After finally having a good night sleep, Lisa and I were ready to go explore. Katinka had heard about horse back trips to the neighboring village of San Juan de Chamula which is best known for it’s church which is sprinkeled with pine needles and the congregation drinks Pepsi and sacrifices chickens to keep the gods happy. After a bit of comparison shopping we found an outfit that would take us on a 4-5 hour excursion for 100 MXN (@ $8) each.
We met our guide at a restaurant on Real Guadalupe and we followed here to the collectivo which dropped us off at the farm. They got the horses saddled up and, after all doing a shot of some local liquor (really bad!) we headed out into the hills surrounding San Cris.
The ride was beautiful, through forest and flatlands, passing through farms and small villages. It was an interesting way to get a closer look at how some of the natives live. One of the more interesting sites was when we passed the local laundrymat. All of the local women were out with the kids washing the clothes and eachother in the stream. It was definitely a world apart from how I’m used to living.
After about 2 hours of riding (on wooden saddles) we finally reached Chamula where we were given an hour to explore. We visited the tourist office to buy our tickets (20 MXN) and then headed to the Church.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. The inside of the church is fairly plain, but the walls are lined with statues of different saints and there are hundreds of candles all over the place that people had lit during their prayers.
Because we were there just a few days before Semana Santa (Easter) they were working on preparing the idols that they carry through the city during the parade. It was interesting to look around, but I think that it was not what we would normally have seen during a visit. A friend visited 2 weeks later and during his trip he was able to watch a sacrifice being performed for a boy that was sick.
I don’t have any pictures from the inside of the church because taking pictures is strictly forbidden and the locals have been known to damage your camera (or your person) if you get caught.
After exploring the church for a bit, we wandered the local market and relaxed with an ice cream before heading back to the horses for the ride home.
The ride home was harder than the ride out because by this time I was beyond sore. I haven’t ridden in years and trotting with a wooden saddle just isn’t comfortable. I didn’t know it then, but I wouldn’t end up walking right again for about 4 days.
Back at the farm we said goodbye to our horses, played with some puppies, and played voyeur to the wonders of nature (some turkeys were mating) before grabbing the collectivo back to town.
It was worth it though and I’d recommend the horse trek as a different way to see some of the countryside and one of the local attractions.