After fighting with phone systems to connect with various credit card companies to report my lost cards, we set out. San Cristobal is a charming, relatively small (pop. about 150,000), colonial city. As an outsider one of its virtues is that it is not the easiest place to access since it requires a flight from Mexico City or long drives from Cancun, Oaxaca or other more easily reached cities. Additionally, the city does not have an airport and the closest airport is an hours drive away. Not a huge deal, but I'm sure that it means that tourist traffic is not as intense as it can be in many places. We are staying at Casa Felipe Flores, a very pleasant old home that has been converted to a B&B, owned and run by a retired American couple. It's a wonderful old place with interior courtyards, period furniture and Mexican folk art and came very highly recommended. It will be a very comfortable home base for our explorations.
City streets are all narrow and one way, minimizing street crossing problems and drivers while all race drivers manque, are surprisingly courteous to pedestrian traffic. We spent most of the day just wandering about and getting our bearings. One of the nicer aspects of the town is the number of major pedestrian streets reducing, at least for non-drivers, the traffic stress even more.
Town has a large, bustling, craft market where we spent much time. Among many interesting things about which I was unaware, is the fact that there is an abundance of amber in the region. I had always thought of amber as a semi-precious stone from the Baltic and in fact I had bought V a stunning amber necklace the last time I was in Stockholm. I was therefore very surprised to see it so readily available and at prices that are literally about 10% of what I paid in Sweden. Much more interesting however, and one of the attractions for us here is the selection of upland Chiapas Mayan textiles. We have a two-day trip arranged with one of the world experts in Mayan textiles, "Chip" Morris on Saturday and Sunday to some of the outlying Mayan villages and V is planning some acquisitions for the Textile Museum. Going to be very good fun.