We arrived in San Cristobal de las Casas in a day of heavy rain. A tornado was approaching Chiapas from the north east, and the streets were flooded with water and mud. A man was walking under the rain, without shoes, unable to ride the old bike he was taking along. Two little girls, and their mother in traditional clothes, were standing still under a tree, as if they did not notice the storm. Our backpack were safely stored in the dry trunk of the taxi taking us from the bus station to the Zocalo.
I do not know his name
The rain lasted uninterrupted for three long days. On Sunday morning finally some clouds opened, and we decided to have brunch sitting at the table outside a small café. The only other customers, four north Americans sitting two tables away.
I do not know his name. Nor I could say from which direction he came from. But now, this kid, a boy, maybe 7 or 8 year old, was standing still in front of me. It’s quite a common image in Chiapas, the poorest State of Mexico. Kids of every age trying to sell you something, from clay figures to chewing-gums. A little girl once tried just to sell me her smile, and a boy with few teeth would not have stopped singing if I was not going to tip him some pesos. But the kid in front of my eyes, that morning was just standing still looking at me. Sometimes they just wait for you to finish to eat, and they ask for the leftovers: in our days in Mexico, I shared most of my meals with those kids. Still, our Sunday friend did not ask for food. He wanted pesos, and had also a precise figure in his mind. And he expressed it.
I heard the voices of those laughing fat and rich US Americans, so out of place compared to our budget backpacking. So, in my best Spanish, I suggested to the kid: go and ask to those gringos this amount of money — they are gringos, they have it.
He did not move. Stared at me, and quietly replied: tu tambien eres gringo.
Images from Chiapas
The beautiful pictures of Cowboys in San Cristobal were taken by Yanidel, a street photographer who felt too young at 37 to have a place to call home, and decided to spend 80 weeks around the world. His amazing photo-blog is here:
Some other pictures of San Cristobal de las Casas were taken by Emily Lipita Plum:
The artistic picture in black and white, and the kid sitting down, were taken by talented photographer Shaun Higson.