In San Cristobal de Las Casas the international influence is undeniable. There is an interesting mix of artistic, indigenous, progressive, and cosmopolitan influences balanced throughout the city. Despite the dominance of tourism on the local landscape the resulting ambience of the place is not tacky or lacking culture. Much of the pleasure of wandering around the tourist center of town is provided by walking the long pedestrian-only portions of the streets. Another feature of the city is the wide array of international cuisine on offer: Thai, Italian, Argentinian, Lebanese, Japanese, and more. In addition, cafes and restaurants feature live music throughout the city, especially Thursday through Saturday night. With several museums around and a few day trips just outside the city it is an easy place to find yourself extending your stay. Unfortunately I stayed longer than planned because of a bout with Montezuma’s Revenge, but even that calamity didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for San Cristobal. Continue reading
After any extensive or lengthy amount of travel it’s quite common to become somewhat jaded. As hard as it is to imagine, your attitude toward sightseeing can become somewhat lazy. In Southeast Asia, for example, you can run across plenty of backpackers who’ve “been there, done that”, and more specifically are “templed out”, or sick of seeing temples. After a while you can become spoiled with the sights on offer. I would consider myself a mild victim of this “templed out” phenomenon and therefore I wasn’t expecting much from Iglesia de Santo Domingo De Guzman in Oaxaca.
The moment I walked into the Church I was officially UN-“Templed Out.” The extravagance of the church was truly unexpected. The lavish ornamentation, artistry and craftsmanship on display was overwhelming! Yes, Grandpa and Grandma, I was excited to be at church! This excitement, coming from a child that had to be cajoled to attending mass by the accompaniment of action figures. As I write this I wish I could take a few moments to just wander around and take it all in again.
As you enter the church you’re struck by the amount of gold seen down the aisle at the front altar. Then you look up and you’re delighted by the somewhat whimsical “Tree Of Life” design on the archway above you. As you look closer you can see that the branches turn into people in a Renaissance-style psychedelic twist. Continue reading