I mocked Dom yesterday for every new place being her favourite, and true to form, she had a new one today. To be fair, it is my favourite so far too. It reminded me of a welcoming version of Haverfordwest. No one seems to work and everyone was getting stuck into the drink.
We spent the first half of the morning on the roof of our hostel, sitting in a hammock and soaking up the sunshine. The view is awesome. We are surrounded by mountains and clear blue skies.
After another bout of changing our plans we jumped into a collectivo and headed to a village six miles away. According to the lonely planet and various other websites, the locals can be wary of strangers and can also be hostile if you take snaps without permission. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After a twenty minute drive we got to our destination, Chamula, and our first sight was of a load of people wearing bright, colourful clothes, playing instruments and having a bit of a boogie. We strolled over and sat on a wall to watch. Within a minute or two we were called over and handed a bowl of hallucinogenic honey. It wasn’t really but I told Dom it was. Not long after the honey we were giving a shot of ‘the drink of the Gods’, a strong spirit, which we downed in one. Dom necking it impressed everyone. You can take the girl out of Wales, but you can’t take the Wales out of the girl.
It soon became apparent that they only knew one song, but it mattered not as we joined in the dancing and were given more drinks. This time mini cans of lager. Everyone posed for photos with us and even let us film the ceremony. I love it. It cements my view that our way of life back home gets in the way of the important things in life: Family, friends, a couple of bevies and a disco dance. I fancy getting a commune together when I get home. Not the kind where you live on lentils and do your business in a trench though. Mine would be one where we tend the crops, do some fishing and make hats out of twigs and stuff. We’d have electricity that is somehow powered by us riding stationary bikes, we’d make prison wine and dance until the sun comes up.
There is a church in the town which is hugely important to everyone and is one of the things we had planned to see, so not wanting to upset the locals by turning up there hammered, we got on our way, taking our cans with us. So cans in hand, Splott style, we headed down the hill, past loads of market stalls and other people drinking, dancing and playing that song and arrived at the church. It was impressive and full of people. Religion is serious here. They have cruifixes everywhere and the churches are always open. Unlike back at home, religion is for life and not just for Christmas. We each lit a candle for absent loved ones, Dom for her mum, Maeve, and me for my sister Katie. Dom lit hers under a Saint who was called Francisco Javier (like Xavier, Dom’s nephew) and I lit mine under a Saint named Veronica, my mums name. Very apt.
After the church we had some food. Well I did. Dom didn’t fancy anything. It was probably the worst food I’ve had here, but I’m not letting that detract from how much I love the place. Shit food, loads to drink; I’ll take that. Loads of kids kept targeting us for cash, but it’s impossible to help all of them, and so after Dom bought food for them a few times, I got the thumb remover trick out and they loved it. I felt a bit like C3PO in Return of the Jedi.
To say thanks to the dudes who got us drunk, we bought a six pack of beer for them, but they were no longer there. Maybe they were fed up of the same song, maybe they were smashed and asleep, just like some dude we saw that reminded me of my cousin Skinny. Unconscious on the pavement outside the church and it was only about 2pm. No one battered an eyelid either. They just kept letting off fireworks and dancing to the same song, which they played over and over and over again.
With our new buddies nowhere to be seen, we jumped in a minibus and headed home. Our plan of action was to grab some eggs from the market, and head home for a beer on the roof. We got some eggs, shared a taco, shared a fish and started to walk home. During the walk I came very, very close to being run over for the umpteenth time in my life. The pavements were busy so we walked down the middle of the road. There was a car parked up, which took up half the road leaving a space which another car could just about squeeze past. We walked past it and when we got half way down the car, a minibus came towards us. I thought it would stop but it didn’t. I ended up having to put my hand on the windscreen of the minibus and moonwalking to freedom. A close shave for sure.
Once home we had a couple of beers and enjoyed the last of the sun. Once it had gone down it became very cold, very quickly, and so we went indoors and made an omelette for dinner. As you do. Loads of fireworks were going off whilst we were eating and so after food we went for a stroll to see what was going on. It’s pretty hard finding the location of where they were setting them off though. We’d see an explosion in the sky, head to where it came from and another one would go off somewhere else. We gave up after about twenty minutes and headed home for an early-ish night. We’re off for a boat ride up a canyon tomorrow so yet again, an early start. Beats getting up for work I suppose though.