Day 021 25th. Feb.2010 Puerto Chiapas Mexico

Woke to the day after the night before. Clear skies and calm seas. Looking around the ship one could see the results of the front we tried to avoid: we sailed off course for four hours but still had 104 mile per winds and seas to match. Comparable to what one experiences around Cape Horn according to our Captain. The ship was listing to the side some 15 degrees. Imagine the wait staff still trying to serve meals! Crockery was smashing to the floor, tables tilting over, wine glasses dancing across the white linen,people sitting in their chairs sliding from the tables. A few glass doors were smashed but quickly repaired today. The swimming pool was like a tsunami and had to be emptied.
Coming through the entrance of the port of Chiapas one could see for miles along the coastline. Blue waves lapping the black sand beaches.Rows of grass thatched roofs of little fishing huts lined the shore their occupants casting nets for bait fish. A line of volcanic mountains just visible in the early morning sky.
Down the gangplank and off to the visitor centre. Joined  couple of Canadians and took a mini-bus to Tapachula city near the Guatemalan border and then on to the Izapa ruins which proved to be disappointing. The area is really only a ball park albeit it is very old. The ruins are built up, pyramid style, of rocks set into a type of concrete. There were some ceremonial stelae but little else.  We were expecting much more. One little gem was a young girl sitting under a cocoa tree offering chocolate samples and selling coffee beans and necklaces made from the coffee beans. One or two dollars and one can have a caffeine fix forever.
The town centre had its charm. Again the use of the paints colours yellow,blue pink and green. Surrounding the square were large trees under which the locals, mainly men again, sat, eating their lunch, drinking and generally just relaxing. Near-by the balloon man was attracting the little ones. To the east side was the Church… A pale yellow cement structure with red islamic style domes on the roof, housing a dark solemn interior. The city hall edged the west of the park. A few arts and crafts of the area were displayed for sale. Little llama wool animals, cotton cloths and clothing with hand stitch work in coloured cotton and animals carved from coconut shells. Behind the church was the local market. Street after street, rather more like lanes than streets, lined both sides with stalls selling whatever one could think of. Cars, trucks, push-bikes and vendors vying for space between. Food cooking in upside down woks, bright yellow chicken meat being dissected next to a stall displaying the brightest coloured bras and panties. Fushia pink, yellow, lime green, parrot red, stacked high on top of each other. I don’t know how one would find the correct size. Maybe there was only one size! just choose your colour. Moving on, the familiar smell of seafood reached our nostrils. Prawns and crabs sitting amongst some ice attracted the flies as well as buyers. Locals were busy both serving as well as shopping while drinking coconut milk from either a coconut cut open or from a plastic bag filled with milk and ice, sealed with a rubber band and a straw inserted at the top. The streets were teaming with people and the associated odours noise and colour. On the footpath two local ladies set up a plank on some boxes and displayed their freshly baked pineapple cake, creme caramel and a-so-fresh it was still warm, custard tart. 100 pesos and we were hooked. Passing by as we ate were four men carrying the wooden xylophone. Have instrument and make music.The men can make that thing sing. Around another corner, in fact behind the public toilets, two men were flat out typing on antiquated typewriters. It seemed to be some pseudo-government service as they were typing documents for people who sat, answered questions and waited for their type-written pages. Appearing everywhere were the tourist police offering help, in fact asking if we needed anything. Great help, especially from the good looking signorina who was poured into her designer jeans.
 Found no tourist areas in the town but at the port some artists had set themselves up in a type of brush covered pyramid. Other locals were employed to perform traditional dance for the tourist. We made it back on board thankful the air-con was operating. The high humidity drained our energies.

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