Chamula - Mexico
Israel 39, Nueva Maravilla, 29247 San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chis., Mexico
An Intoxicating ExperienceSan Juan Chamula is a little Tzotzil Mayan village not far from San Cristobal de las Casas in the Chiapas region of Mexico.
I happened to venture there very early one morning after an all night bus ride from the Oxacan coast. Upon arrival, I was completely intoxicated by the number of people, men, that were completely intoxicated.
It was a Sunday, market day, but also a day when the villagers come to pay their respects to loved ones at the local cemetery. Everyone is dressed in their best attire, women in colorful costumes and men in black and white wool shag tunics. Graves are simple crosses in black, white and blue, depending on age.
The scene is mesmerizing and certainly something to behold - women mourning audibly, children playing, and men, more than a few, staggering around, drunker than humanly possible. I later found out that the behavior is actually customary for the region. It's just one of those unfortunate problems not uncommon in many areas of the world.
If you happen to go, don't miss the Sunday market and the beautiful old church in the main plaza.