Climbed atop a hill to a church, the source of all the non-stop explosives being launched over San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico.
I thought from the carnival booths, flowers, taxis decorated with balloons & streamers someone important was getting married.
I made a few images of the magnificent color cache before me.
Tourists were trying to figure it all out; a women asked me if I knew what was going on as her husband took photos. I told her I would ask.
An older Mexican man told me it was a celebration where they bless drivers & their vehicles. Not just taxis, but bus drivers, truck drivers, etc. It would go for about eight days. I asked if it was a Catholic thing; it was.
I told the tourist couple from Holland what I found out; we agreed it seemed kind of strange.
We continued chatting for a couple hours about traveling, mystic experiences, the Amazon and so on. They are older than me and seemed like the typical package tourists. But looks were deceiving; they had just as exotic tales to tell as I & I’d say they even one-upped me on several levels.
The level of connection I think we all felt for each other seemed as if it were destined and we ended our chat with a promise to meet up again in Holland. So far, among the coolest people I’ve met on this trip and I’m looking forward to seeing them again in Holland one day soon.
After we parted, I saw a group of three men and a couple Chamula Indian women drinking some clear liquid out of a large glass coke bottle. I was getting tired of being seen as nothing more than a camera toting, soul stealing, alien tourist with pockets full of money to be tricked out of.
As I walked over toward them the women hid their faces when they saw my camera.
A larger Indian man wearing a large hairy black poncho vest thing and a cowboy hat answered my question about what they were drinking.
It’s called Posh and it’s VERY strong.
They poured me a small glass and I sipped it down as best I could even though I wasn’t up for drinking just yet.
Because I did drink, they all seemed to accept me instantly as just a curious fellow human being instead of a tourist.
Their eyes were all glassy and they couldn’t get over the fact I was drinking their Posh with them.
That felt pretty good so afterward I saw one Chamula family standing nearby getting ready to try out a carnival shooting game. I asked if I could take some video and they paused before saying no. Then the Chamula with the shaggy black pancho said something to them, I’m guessing that he said I was ok, and then they agreed to let me shoot a bit of video of them. Score!
The next day I was feeling more confident that I could interact with the Chamulas and after some time in the Indian mercado in San Cristobal, I caught a collective for the nearby town of San Juan Chamula. There’s a church there were they used to do sacrifice and it is forbidden to take photos inside the church.
Many of the indians think a photo steals their soul etc. And it’s rumored that several years ago they stoned a foreign couple to death for refusing to respect the rule about no photos inside the church.
I’d been there many years ago and the town has grown into more of a small city. You now have to pay for a permit to go inside the church and since I’ve seen it before and wanted to save my pesos, I decided to just make a few images of the front of the church instead.
I noticed an open door and some burning candles (velas) just inside so I took a quick photo. No one was around and there were no signs prohibiting entry so I just stepped right in to get a closer shot. The velas were all in front of case with three or four saint statues inside. I snapped just one more and then an older man came in from a side door that appeared to go into the main church’s chamber.
His eyes got big when he saw my camera . . .
(to be continued)