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Showing posts from August 3, 2003
8/5/03 San Cristobal Today we visited the Centro Integral Para Capacitacion Indigena, or CIPCI. CIPCI provides vocational training to indigenous people in its location on the outskirts of San Cristobal. They have about 75 people on the school grounds being trained in such skills as auto repair, electronics, agriculture and a host of other skills. They live communally with an emphasis on self-sufficiency. They grow their own organic vegetables and raise chickens and rabbits. It is amazing how politically aware people are in this area. They know a tremendous amount about the issues of GMOs, agribusiness and globalization in general.
8/4/03 San Cristobal

The NGO is Desarollo Economico Social de los Mexicanos Indigenes or DESMI, which in English stands for Economic and Social Development for Indigenus Mexicans. In the early 90's they broke off from the catholic church and now work in 16 communities in the state of Chiapas, helping develop collectives and offering small loans for community projects. They also offer support on Fair Trade issues and cooperatives.

They are funded primarily by international organizations like Oxfam and others. They accept no support from the Mexican government, although at one time they were approached by the state governor (Pablo Salazar) to work on a joint project. The project was later revealed to be an effort to divide the indigenous communities and was soon rejected both by the indigenous communities and DESMI.

In the afternoon, we attended a meeting with Amando Figueroa, lawyer, teacher and one time governor of the state of Chiapas, or at least he was elected governor by …
8/3/03 San Cristobal After a walk through the plaza and the markets, we stopped at the first bar that looked reasonably interesting for a few beers. We had a ham sandwich and a small meat empanada and 4 or 5 Bohemias.

Then Cassie got sick.

That evening, a dinner was held at one of those oh-so-painfully hip vegetarian restaurants that are near the plaza. The dinner was arranged by the tour group for all the members of the tour to meet. Cassie complained of stomach pains and nausea and had to leave before the entrees were served. I walked her back to the hotel and then went back for my dinner. It was a difficult night for both of us, but far worse for her.

8/3/03 San Cristobal After breakfast, we reviewed the itinerary for the next 10 days or so. The most notable point of all of this is that the Zapatista rebels have declared that on August 8, 9 and 10 they will be throwing a party for the entire world to celebrate their transition from a miltary governement to a civil one. Thi…
8/3/03 San Cristobal
We made a couple of miscalculations about the culture today. First, this is not an early rising culture, so being the first people on the street at 8:00 AM-ish will make you stick out like a sore thumb. Second, this was an especially bad day to be out early since it was Sunday and EVERYONE seemed to be at church, except for the Eurotrash.
Today we found a cybercafe so we could be at least moderately plugged in while here, if only for narcicisstic (sp?) weblogs. This city caters to travelers, many who are on their way to Guatemala or Mexico City. In fact, many tourists appear oblivious to the rebels not far outside of town. Maybe they notice the governement soldiers with machine guns in the plaza (the site of the very first Zapatista action on the eve of NAFTA in 1994), but it does not seem to affect them. The first computer in the cyber cafe crashed hard in the middle of my first post, which set this weblog way behind. I am trying to catch up but I have pr…
8/2/03


Tuxla Gutierrez


If you are ever traveling through Latin America, give yourself a day at a Camino Real Hotel. They have beautiful facilities and truly outstanding breakfasts. I had a hearty couple of helpings of chililquilis and a few cups of excellent Chiapan coffee. The hotels are not cheap, but they are outstanding. Ok, enough of the commercial.

After breakfast, we took a cab to Tuxla Gutierrez Zoo. The zoo was slightly lacking in animals due to a remodeling, but since it was free we really didn´t mind. The tourists were all Mexican except us. The most interesting part was these rats that roamed the grounds freely. As large as your average house cat, they were at once cool and disgusting.

We ended up in frantic scramble through the bust terminal to catch the last bus to San Cristobal for the day. The bus was $3.80 USD to ride in a first class bus for the two hour trip, complete with a movie.

The bus went up high in the mountains to San Cristobal. When we arrived, t…
8/1/03

Travel Day
We left New Orleans at 10 PM and transferred in Houston to Mexico City. I think I would like to spend some time in Mexico City. It seems very cosmpolitan, or at least so by the looks of its airport.


We arrived in Tuxla Gutierrez at about 6 PM. After a quick swim in the very swanky Camino Real pool, we had dinner at a restaurant called Las Pichanchas, which specialized in native (Chiapaneco, or Chiapan People´s food). We had an awesome dinner of tamales and Bohemias, for about $13 USD. Tuxla Gutierrez is not a pretty town -- it is the business capiatl of Chiapas state, and it shows. We walked back to the hotel from the restaurant for about an hour on Avenida Central. It had the feel of one of the Mexican towns that borders the US, with many homeless and a little bit grungy. It also has a Sam´s Club, and Office Depot and other staples of Generica. We're trying to decide what to do tomorrow. We will either explore Tuxla a little bit more or go straight on …