San Cristobal de las Casas


The streets smell of roasting coffee, grown by the coöps in the surrounding hills. I also smell chocolate and bread from the panaderias. There are punks on bikes - real bikes, not rusting Mexican style ones. Restaurants advertise vegetarian and vegan food. Colourful gnomes and greyed hippies sit in the streets.

There are anarchist and squatting symbols painted on the walls. If you wear an anarchist patch in Edinburgh it is ignored. Here, the town was actually captured by rebels. I don’t think it would be a good idea to cycle past the army base they built down the road on my own with Zapatista colours. There are armed police and soldiers around, which is a nice reminder of what is possible. The government is wary.

There are at least two places here devoted to permaculture, with a vegan community. Until recently there was a community bike workshop.

I wandered into the yard of some casa, following the sound of a woman singing reggae. There was a guy contact juggling, and silks hanging from a frame. The smoke was the pleasant smelling kind - not tobacco. A menu on the wall listed hummus and verduras.

I wandered on aimlessly, and reached a cafe. Now I’m drinking tea that tastes of the earth where it came from.

Mexico is sick and makes me feel sick. The world is sick. San Cristobal is a hill station for the recovery of humanity.