The socialists put a damper on our first buying trip outside of Tuxtla. We had already waited for two weeks in order to leave the city and venture out into the villages to see what treasures we could find from the indigenous artisans. The day finally came on December 1 – we were ready, we had our warm jackets in preparation for the weather in the highlands, we had our little sack of fruit for snacking on the trip, and we had some cash in case we found some samples to buy. As it turns out, December 1 is also the day that the new president of Mexico took office. Although we knew this bit of information, we didn’t take it into account when planning our trip and planning to take the non-toll roads to San Cristobal. The free highway is curvy with lots of speed bumps, but lots of things to see and we hoped, lots of things to buy. But we never found out. We were on our way out of Tuxtla and we saw masses of people along the side of the road. Ah, ok, we thought, this isn’t so out of the ordinary here, so we continued on.
We stopped in a town about 20 minutes from Tuxtla called Chiapa de Corzo – a town where they would be having a fashion show with regional flair later in the evening and we had planned to attend and see what they were going to display. So we passed through there to chat with the director of the event – she suggested we come back later when the event would begin. So we began our journey out of Chiapa de Corzo. There was a lot of traffic on the way out – again, not something completely shocking in these parts. As we approached the exit of the town, we had to come to a dead stop and there were a lot of people again on the side of the road. This time, it didn’t feel so normal. As we inched closer to the front of the traffic line, we realized there were men and women blocking the traffic. They had placed large boards in the middle of the road. But these weren´t your everyday run-of-the-mill boards. No, these had giant razor sharp nails sticking out of them and a rope affixed to the edge. In order to stop the traffic, they were placing these boards in the middle of the highway. You had no choice but to stop. Once they had their captive audience, they began to come car by car and hand out a flyer stating their case against the new president and asking for donations. We took the paper but didn’t give any money. Once they had leafleted all of the cars, they pulled the board of nails away using the rope at the edge and let the cars pass once again. Mauricio, being the levelheaded one about this, said we should turn back and skip going into the villages and San Cristobal today. I was disappointed, but it was reasonable – Chiapas has a bit of a history with political discontent. We reluctantly decided to stay in Chiapa de Corzo and save our trip to the campo for when the socialists weren´t protesting the new president.