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Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

September 1st: Bachajon

On September 1st 1975, I was in Bachajon in Southern Mexico.

The idea was to go on the direct route from San Cristobal to Palenque and from there on to the Yucatan. The route was established but only recently, and it was not mentioned in my South American Handbook. In addition I had heard that there were landslides on the road and the bus had not been running for several days, so I was not at all sure in advance that the journey was possible. This was probably my first time travelling on what were really local buses in Latin America. But if I could get across I'd have an interesting journey through the Mayan heartland in Mexico. In the event the fortuitous overnight in Bachajon was in a largely Mayan town.

From my journal, written up that night:

Up at 6 to catch the bus that left on time. Colourful journey through high pastures and pine trees to Huixtan and crawling round winding road to Oxchua, beautiful for driving, long clear views. Then a wait in the village, tamales at the square, and the descent into gradually more tropical country, more bananas, monstera deliciosum even.  Women weaving nicely embroidered huipils, men sometimes with colourful patterns stitched in old suit jackets. Very slow picking up passengers all the way, very crowded, even a pig. Ocosingo a Ladino town, hot and dull. Rougher road with a ford and over a pass to Bachajon. One hour late and we missed the connection. Found Berthold at the mission, and his junior doctor Christa, allowed to stay. Discussion of language and customs, then a walk round the village, sitting by the milpa (maize field) with a beautiful view of the valley. Meal of beans and tortillas at restaurant, later coffee and Tzeltal communication.

San Cristobal in a larger map

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