Look Pictures from San Cristobal de las Casas

(January 2012)

Here are a few of the incredible photos that Jon Look has taken in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Check back, as we will be adding more as we get them. You can click on these images to make them larger. To learn more about their adventures, visit their blog.

As part of the school building and wood stove installation for Escalera in Nichnamtic, we had the opportunity to stay with a wonderful indigenous family in their home. We woke before sunrise and visited with their two teenagers a bit in a mixture of the Mayan language of Tzotzil, Spanish and English. Somehow it was communicated through much gesturing and smiles that they wanted to take us for a walk to show off the magnificence of the natural landscapes around their home. It was a clear cold morning and we started our hike before dawn. Roosters were crowing and the wild birds were just beginning to sing. The air was crisp and pine scented. Amazingly as we hiked a bit  we could see that the valleys were filled with fog and we descended into them. We reached the bottom of one valley right at sunrise and I was able to make what I think are some interesting images of this little-traveled part of the world.

Tianguis Orgánico or the Organic Market of San Cristóbal de las Casas, in addition to having wonderful produce, also has delicious organic quesodillas made with hand-ground maize, artisan cheeses and fresh-picked produce. Since this market is only on Saturdays, I try to start off my weekends there.

It is a steep hike up San Cristóbal’s Martyr hill to the Templo de San Cristobal, also known as El Cerrito, but the views are worth it. Founded in 1528 much of San Cristóbal de las Casas maintains its Spanish colonial layout and its architecture, with red tile roofs, cobblestone streets, and wrought iron balconies often flowing with flowers. In the upper left you can just make out the impressive Guadalupe Church.

The San Cristóbal de las Casas indigenous food market, for the uninitiated, can be an intimidating place. It is usually extremely crowded, raucous and filled with unfamiliar fragrances. Each vendor usually specializes in one type of item. This particular vendor specializes in different beans and grains. Other individuals specialize in everything from fresh flowers to dried fish. It is always fun and every day is different. This particular day we took home a bag of sesame seeds for making stir fry and freshly ground corn for an attempt at Southern cornbread from scratch.

For a photographer San Cristóbal de las Casas is an everyday all you can eat buffet. Everywhere you turn it seems there are new images waiting to be captured. One of the best things about being on this retirement adventure is having the time to invest in making these images. One afternoon a few weeks ago, I sat down near the western wall of the Catedral y Templo de San Nicolás and just observed life through the lens. The sun was strong and the wall impossibly yellow, but it was a great way to spend an afternoon and I think I made some good images. If you would like to see more you can go to my Journeyman Images Photography site and check it out.

The vendors around the market in San Cristóbal have some truly remarkable things. I have known about calla lilies but I had never seen colored ones before. The colors on these were so beautiful and vivid I thought that maybe they had been painted. The vendor assured me that they were not and showed me how the ones growing in the pots were coming up colored. He even showed me a few bulbs with streaks of coloring.

Jon and Vonda Look San Cristobal