The Tehuántepec crossing was an uneventful trip a little over 2 days. 30 odd hours of motoring and 20-some under sail. Our weather window got longer while we were out there so all 8 boats that left Huatulco in a convoy of sorts – though spread out sonn enough – chose to do the unthinkable, to steer a straght course instead of keeping one foot on the shore.
I have a friend here in Tapachula; Chiapas, who lhas benn living here for more than 40 years so we had a flying start into the local community. Today a bit shy of two weeks here in the brand new marina (they do not yet charge due to some permits to be obtained)
we have just spent the occasional night or two on the boat.
We did a 4 day bus trip to the specacular archeological site of Pelanque with Maya temples from 600-800 A.D. It’s enormous and yet a mere 5% or so is escavated (!) so imagine how much more there is to be discovered. We also spent a night in the town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, aqpprox. 2000 m altitude where the Mayan culture is very much alive and also the Zapatista movement which under it’s legendary leader, Subcommandante Marcos, has made a big impact inimproving the situation for the indigenous people of the state of Chiapas. Over 2 million indigenous are still speaking there languages, and dress tradtionally etcetera.
A couple of coffe plantations in the Sierra Madres de Chiapas, theaa region of Soconusco also got our attention. In fact, arguably one of the best coffee growing areas on the planet is right here. Together with one of the best Cocoa growing region. Chiapas is very rich in everythiing agricultural, and all cocoa are not even harvested around here. Cocoa has a very long history here from pre-hispanic times and cocoa is an important part of cooking and medicine. Chocolate as we know it in Europe/US is hard to come by but we found some 98% (!) dark chocolate that was just heavenly ‘saboroso’ as it’s said in spanish. This chocolate is used for hot chocolate, the beverage, and not as candy or deserts.
A wonderfully tasty sauce – mole – is made from cocoa, chilefruits and about 15 other ingrediants and it has become my favourite Mexican dish with Chicken.
A thick, dark brown, heavy sauce with a flavour of pure cocoa and a spicy, hot sidenote. Mmmmmmm!
By know I guess you have understood that we’re bound to stay here for a while longer….. so be it. ;-)
Puerto Chiapas, the official name of the port we are moored in, 27 km from Tapachula is a great place to leave the boat and do land travel. Just 10 km from Tapachula is the archeological site of Izapa, the very birth-place of the Mayan culture. This mind-boggling site is since 1500 BC (!) and the Mayan Calendar introduced here was 5000 y long(!) from 3000 something BC to December 31st 2012.
You might have heard that since the Mayan calendar ends, so will the World htis next New Years Eve. Reassuring enough, our guide told us that this date simply makes the beginning of a new 5000 year calendar period.
As a curiosity, the Mayan calendar also had a cycling line, which pointed out ‘good’ and ‘bad’ periods in the World. The good news is that next New Years Eve, we will go from 400 bad years to 400 good ones!
My personal interpretation of that – tongue in cheek- is that we’ll see no more Hitlers or Idi Amins or the likes in the next four centuriest then! Wouldn’t that be something to wish for?
OK, a couple more curiosities….with the Mayan calendar and the inscriptions on the stones here in Izapa.
500 BC ore thereabout, bearded men came over the Pacific Ocean and introduced nes knowledge to the Mayans and exchanged knowledge. One theory favours the Chinese, another Babylonians. Food for thought.
Oh, did I mention that this site is also only escavated to some 5% due to lack of funds AND the fact that the land is privately owned and the owners quite reluctant to sell and move. We saw more than one farm house here built on a mound, on top of a smaller pyramid construction. More food for thought, huh?
A last one, then you can do your own web-search for more…
1500 BC, these people built a big stone construction – think along the lines of Stonehenge, or the megalitic sites in Bretagne(Brittany) that alignes exactly with the rising sun on Dec 31 2012 !
That gives me goose bumps at least.