Day 12: Feeling at home in San Cristobal

San Cristobal is everything we hoped it to be. A small laid back town perched in the mountains at 2,100m. Cool mornings & evenings, mid 20s sunny days. Narrow streets adorned with little houses in pastel colours. For some reason it feels like the Tibet of Mexico – the streets, the architecture, the people, even the main cathedral. We picked a great homely posada run by Yolanda who is loved by all the backpackers staying here. There is a beautiful south facing garden with accessible WIFI, making it a perfect spot for chilling in the sun and inking a new page in our travel journals.
Posada 5

Chilling in the garden

We bought groceries just round the corner and have been cooking our meals. There’s a noticeable Mexican flair in our cooking now – bacon & eggs brunch with chorizo bits & lime juice, all wrapped in a toasted tortilla. Holy cow, so good! I totally feel at home here and wouldn’t mind staying another day just to shoot the breeze. But being so close to the Guatemalan border, I also can’t wait to move again once our legs are well rested.

Our bedroom

Yolanda is the sweetest little old lady we have met thus far. Like a mother, she has been looking after the posada and its guests with a genuine heart (in the form of hot chocolate which she made me last night). Although she speaks no English, she loves chatting with the travelers and is patient with our broken Spanish. In conversation, I found out she is originally from Guatemala and has moved here 23 years ago.  When I told her “me gusta mucho su casa”, that I felt just at home, I was surprised to learn that she only lived here and ran the place – the owner, who was like a nephew to her, actually lives in Ireland. We chatted more, about traveling, about kids, about Guatemala.

We also met other fellow travelers here – Adrian from Romania who has been roaming Guatemala for 3 months now to work on a documentary film about the Mayas; Sammo from Finland, a yoga instructor escaping from the Scandinavian winter; Mayra from Argentina whom we may meet up with in Buenos Aires or even sooner; Laura, also from Argentina, who sat down to ask me about China.

Feeling Home

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going”
- Paul Theroux

Street vendor

For the first time since our journey began, I felt it – that home away from home sensation every traveler seeks. There have been moments, especially when the novelty of an unexplored town or land dies away, I felt jaded. Jaded because I felt homesick but not really knowing where home was. Manchester? Toronto? Hong Kong? Surely none of these would be the same now. Where do we go from here? KF and I know that HK is clearly the end destination of this journey, but we are having doubts it will be our final destination. In fact I don’t think we have a final destination yet and I suspect we may never have one. The world is such a great place to explore and the world is our home.

Quiet street on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Tomorrow we hit Palenque to visit the Maya ruins, and from there we venture on an 8 hour journey by bus & boat for our first border crossing into Guatemala. We are heading there for one reason – Tikal, one of the most impressive Maya ruins hidden deep in the jungle…

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  1. Leslie says:

    You guys are my inspiration! I really have to read your blog EVERYDAY.. can't believe so much I had to catch up on! Can't wait for your next entry! :)

  2. Charlie says:

    Well written! Love the quote and immensely jealous about your homesick feeling.

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