After a 12 hour, sleepless bus ride we arrived in San Cristobal early on a Monday morning, keen to begin this weeks work in trying to understand more about the indigenous Mayan ways of life and ancient traditions of weaving and embroidery in their communities. In many ways this was the part of this journey that I had been looking forward to most as it meant going much deeper into the heritage of the original indigenous people of Mexico.
First though, on stepping out of the bus a quick flurry of putting on every single item of clothing we had brought with us as it was cold!.
It was kind of amazing arriving, just as the city was waking up. The sun hadn’t quite risen over the rooftops so the temperature was a bit of a shock now we were much higher up, in the mountains of Chiapas. We ordered some coffee at a small corner cafe and watched the streets slowly leap into life. As the people slowly began to open up their little shops it was clear how different the weaving work is here. The colours and intricate patterns had got finer and more intricate somehow. The whole place has got a different feel about it, more visitors, lots of foreigners seemed to have settle here, lots of alternative looking people wandering around, boutique shops and in amongst it all the native Mayan people walking the streets selling woven shawls and little Mayan dolls. Their faces are so interesting to look at, so strong and ancient looking and they dressed very different too; a long, black,fluffy woollen skirt tied at the waist with a woven belt strap over an embroidered top and most of the time a baby slung on her back or across her hip in a woven shawl with long black hair plaited down her back.
I like the fact that there is a lot of creativity here, even if your not looking for it, almost every shop yo look in is more of an open front to a busy workshop with people sewing away making bags, belts or an array of all sorts of clothing with intricate embroidery featured heavily.
I look forward to learning more about the place and exploring the streets for the day before we are due at the museo for a tour of the indigenous clothes of the Mayan people.