July 19, 2009
San Cristobal De Las Casas, Mexico
San Juan Chamula, a village that is outside of San Cristobal. Its market day. It’s 6:30 am, I make myself leave my warm bed, grab my cameras and thank god there is coffee at this hour, I get on a collectivo and head out.
The market is the size of the town square. I am the only foreigner here. You can buy everything here. Pots and pans, live poultry, shoes, clothing, yarn, some sort of animal pelt, bread, produce, shoe polish, flowers, just about everything. This market has no structure or logic in the way that its laid out. I think the vendors just arrive, they find an empty spot and they lay their goods down. As the day wears on, it gets harder and hard to walk through the market. I am constantly walking in between stalls or forced to jump over a pile of chiles so that I don´t get run over by the carts, people and poultry. There are children every where; some are crying, some are breast feeding. There are dogs roaming looking for a scrap off the butcher´s table. I saw this one boy trying to shove a giant piece of salted dry fish into his backpack…it made me laugh so hard as the fish is clearly bigger than his bag.
The shooting today is a little easier than it was yesterday. The people are still resistent but there is so much going on here that they pay less attention to me. Although this one woman did try to throw a broom at me. She won´t even let me take a picture of her chickens. Oh well….
I smile at everyone I see, I greet them good day. The men return my smile and are a little easier with me being there, the children seem to respond to my hellos as well. Howeve, the women just look at me and well….they just look at me. I guess my charm only goes so far here in Mexico.
This town, San Cristobal, Chiapas, it reminds me so much of Tibet, I don´t know why. The market is make shift at best; tables, tarps, ropes and nothing more. All of this choas and beauty will be gone by mid-day. The morning is wearing on and I have done 4-5 laps around, in and out, the tourist are starting to arrive, its time to wrap it up. Just as I am about to finish the last few frames on this last roll of film, I see a pile of red delicious apples imported from good o´US of A. Red Delicious apples sitting pretty amongst fruits and veggies that are just in from the hill side. I guess you can´t stop progress/invasion.
I stop at one of the many ¨stalls,¨ grab a seat in the tiny chair and have a hot horcheta and a tamale for breakfast. The warm horcheta makes me think of porridage and it reminds me of home. I guess when you grow up with nothing, your taste for peasant food (as my mother likes to call them) never really goes away.