Up in the highlands of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas is the hippie town of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Well-known for its colonial architecture, we stumbled off our overnight bus bleary eyed with plans to freshen up and start exploring.
My foot, however, had other plans. After stashing our luggage I took the last of a set of stairs in our hotel and went over on my ankle, tearing a previously torn ligament and making an awful lot of noise in the process. Our heroic fellow travellers leapt to my rescue, moving sofas for me to sit on and digging out their first aid kits.
Once I’d ceased the ridiculous amount of noise I was making over the pain and pulled myself together a bit, our guide helped us find a doctor. X-rays followed and another doctor and the diagnosis was, thankfully, ‘no es fractura’. But the ligament was definitely torn (this would be the 3rd time that particular one has failed me) and so I was ordered to keep my weight off it as best I could. Bit hard when you’re on a 65 day tour and desperate not to miss out on the few things that were top of your activities ‘must do’ list, before you left: salsa, jungle hikes and zip lining.
I have to comment here that we were able to access medical assistance in a small Mexican town really very easily. The two doctors consultations and two x-rays cost around £60 and thanks to our guide’s translating skills the whole thing was far easier than it could have been. In fact the majority of my post x-ray consultation was spent with the doctor marvelling over the colours of my foot, because he wasn’t used to seeing bruising on white skin.
The upshot of all of this is that all I saw of San Cristobal were, doctors offices, xray departments and one restaurant. On the other hand, he managed a wander around the chilly highland town (we had to dig deep in our backpacks for some layers here!) to see the Iglesia de Guadelope, zocalo street artworks and out for the evening with the remainder of our group to a local wine bar which served complimentary tapas (and thankfully take away lasagne) and was therefore incredibly popular.
The other outing he took was to Sumidero Canyon where he enjoyed a boat tour along the Grijalva River, spotting crocodiles, spider monkeys and lots of different birds. He described the cliffs that tower over the Canyon, which at their highest reach 1000m, as ‘awe inspiring’ and told a very grumpy me all about the vegetation growing on the side of the cliffs known as the ‘Christmas Tree’.
On their way back to town the group stopped off in the town of Chiapa de Corzo where a ‘Grande Fiesta’, was underway with hundreds of market and food stalls, fairground rides and live music.
That night I (literally) hopped a few doors down with some of our group to grab a quick steak dinner, which would turn out to mean that I also didn’t see much of our next stop, Palenque. Bet you don’t need many guesses to figure out why…