04.06.2012 - 05.06.2012
The flight was only 3 hours long and we both managed to get a little bit of sleep without the distractions of in-flight movies. The vast majority of passengers were Mexican which was exciting. We landed in Mexico City and had our first spot of drama immediately... Sarah’s bag did not show up at the luggage collection! After a little bit of panic and some frantic exchanges with the airport staff, it turned up seemingly out of thin air. Moments later, Joe was identified as a threat to national security and pulled aside for a closer inspection of his luggage. This check consisted of a opening the zips, seeing that it was a very full bag and deciding I was no longer a threat.
We went straight to the tour desk to book our bus to San Cristobal. We had various options as the buses are regular, but we opted for the first bus which would allow us to arrive in daylight. This was not until 7.30pm, a full 12 hours time!!! After contemplating leaving our big bags at the airport and popping into Mexico City for the day, we decided against it as we were tired and concerned about missing our bus if the traffic was bad... which it notoriously is! So we spent 10 hours in Mexico City airport, alternating between sleeping, eating and having baby wipe showers in the toilets. We approached the Marriot Hotel at one point with a view to using their travellers lounge complete with comfy sofas, showers and live sport! Joe went to enquire and was quoted a very reasonable price of 29 pesos (about £1.50). When we returned dreaming of a lovely shower and relax, the price was requoted at 29 US dollars... oops, that is more like £20 each. Cue a slightly embarrassing change of mind and a shuffle back to metal airport chairs!
The bus journey was good fun and surprisingly comfortable... for all of 30 minutes! It took well over an hour to escape the immediate vicinity of the bus terminal due to the most amazing gridlock we have ever seen. Cars, buses, trucks and motorbikes all nose to tail, honking their horns frantically trying to get into lane. Amazing stuff. Once we were on our way we managed to get a bit of broken sleep, with our i-pods drowning out the loud Mexican movies being played on the bus! Being night and being sleepy we didn’t see too much of the surrounding area en route, but we were aware of climbing some very steep hills, driving over some very bumpy roads and going through a huge number of toll booths.
We eventually reached San Cristobal de la Cases at about 10am, making it a 13 and a half hour journey... our longest individual leg of a journey since leaving home!
San Cristobal is set in the Mexican highlands of the Chiapas region. It is lovely little city with everything within walking distance and we are staying in a lovely B&B. We are at an altitude of nearly 2000 metres and so it is a really lovely temperature – hot sunshine with a delightful little breeze.
Everything is amazingly cheap – we decided to treat ourselves to a 3 course lunch including chicken fajitas, before heading off for a wander around town. We strolled through a market and went to a museum explaining the medical practices of the local indigenous peoples which was fascinating. We returned for a late afternoon siesta as were both feeling a little under the weather – not sure of the reasons but take your pick from the altitude, the sun, the lack of sleep, or the side effects from our anti-malarial tablets! After a little sleep and some paracetamol we have perked up and are looking forward to a stroll into town for some dinner!
It should be noted that Sarah’s Spanish is very impressive – a little broken but more than enough to get by in Mexico. Joe has never had Spanish lessons so lets not judge him just yet – the hellos and thank yous appear to be fluent.