San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico
by Skip Hunt [part 2]
(continued from [Part One]
. . . His eyes got big when he saw my camera and then he started yelling at me. Photos were prohibited!
I took photos of candles. He looked extremely worried. I gathered it was going to be his neck for leaving his post. He forced me into the churches main chamber; a large group of French tourists & indians were praying on a floor covered with pine needles & candles.
Two rough looking Chamula elders grabbed my arms; they escorted me through the church & out the front to a gatekeeper with a police radio. They screamed at me, demanding to see my camera. I showed them the candle photos; they commanded I delete them.
Looking really worried, angry and upset, one with a cowboy hat & radio had a look like he’d caught a good sized fish. He called the police; they answered back that they were on their way.
They demanded my passport. The cowboy hat demanded money; I told him no. I told him I didn’t take photos inside the church and that I just took photos of some candles by the bathrooms and that I’ve now deleted them.
He grabbed for my camera. I yanked it back. I’d done nothing wrong. If they didn’t want photos taken by the bathrooms they should put up a sign. He pointed to the sign above the church, I again explained I didn’t go inside the main part of the church.
My heart was racing a million beats a second. I was glad the police were on the way. Hopefully I could find one who spoke English and explain that I knew & respected their rules.
The cowboy hat said I needed to pay for going inside the main part of the church. They dragged me through the church against my will. I had no intention of going in. He was now saying I took photos inside the main part of the church and changing the story.
I began to wake up and realize there was no way in hell the police were going to take the side of a filthy American gringo; as soon as they got there it’d be all over.
At best I would get out with only being held and some money extorted… perhaps even lose my camera. At worst… well, I didn’t want to think about that. I started walking. They yelled for me to stop. I told them great and have them come and get me.
Soon I was around a corner and had dodged into a shack. It looked like they sold tequila but no one was in there. I took out my ball cap, put on my sunglasses, and put on my over-sized rain coat and went back out onto the street. The collectivos were by the main plaza.
I noticed one full collectivo heading out and flagged it down. They squeezed me into the front by the driver to collect just one more fare and we were off.
Whew! That was a close one!
Austin, TX based member Skip Hunt is a wandering soul attempting to break the chains & surf free atop wavelengths within the visible spectrum. View his website, travel blog, tumblr, or aamora.com.