Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tales of Chiapas - Part 4 - ALEX!!! June 2011

Alex Aranda is da man!

Because Alex can jive.
Not only can Alex jive,
but Alex can jive in (at least) 4 languages
English, Spanish, Tzeltal, and Tzotzil!
Alex is cool.

Here's what people look like when they
see Alex coming:

Even the kids come to the fence to see him:

I had heard about Alex from friends.
He has a small, personal tour business
out of San Cristóbal and will take people
to outlying Mayan villages for the day.

So, I shot him an email and he responded promptly.
We set a date, gathered up a few friends,
and he picked us up at Bela's
for a day exploring Aguacatenango,
 a small Tzeltal village famous for
embroidered blouses.

We headed out of San Cristóbal and down
into the countryside surrounded by interesting and
beautiful rural landscapes.
Alex, peppered with our questions,
answered each one with knowledgeable
thoughtful answers.

We started at the church and plaza.

 "Come on," Alex said, "lets go inside, we cannot take
pictures inside the church, but we will meet the
mayordomos after and have a chance to explore."

The church was beautiful inside, primitive, filled with flowers,
little white candles, and Mayan and Catholic statues and carvings.
No pictures. . .
Around back we had the pleasure of meeting 3 mayordomos,
the men who are currently in charge of taking care of the
church and performing rituals.
A highly regarded honor.
They don't like their pictures taken either.

"Hey", Alex said, "you guys want to climb up the bell tower?"

So, mayordomo in the lead, we went back into the church
and started up the centuries-old, worn slick,
rock encased, tunnel-like climb.

From the private collection of Suzanne Plaskett

And here was our reward!

How cool is this!

The mayordomo explained that in order for the bell-ringer
to keep track of how many times he has rung the bell,
each time he rings the bell he puts a little rock in one of the little holes
of this stone.

After descending we went out into the plaza
where we were mobbed by the village women
selling their awesome embroidered blouses.

Bela bought!

None of this would have been possible without Alex!

Stay tuned for more on Alex and Aguacatenango,
as well as Amatenango del Valle, Zinacantan, Chamula,
and much more.

Don't even think about going to Chiapas
without spending a day or 2 with Alex.



  1. Oh, this is so beautiful! I'd love to have been there...I hope, one day....

  2. This post was fabulous. I was with you every step of the way. Loved the inside of the bell tower.

  3. Thanks Laurie! Muy amable. It was a great day, and there's more coming on Aguacatenango.