Photo Credit: TN
Day In The Life Of A Black Expat: Sunrise To Sunset In San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico
In the past year, my nomadic life has consisted of a few Mexican and Central American destinations, all gorgeous in their own ways, but none made an impression on me like San Cristóbal de las Casas in Mexico. San Cristobal is surely the pueblo magico of all pueblo magicos, known for its political art and communities, indigenous roots and lively mountain town vibe.
In the height of the rainy season, adjusting to high altitude, endless fireworks from morning to night and a much slower pace of life from my London rhythm, I decided that this was my favorite part of Mexico so far. So, gut-led and excited, I settled down to see what life in the mountains had to teach me.
After spending 6 months in San Cristóbal de las Casas, I developed a love for Chiapas and the routine that slowly started to define this chapter of my life. There were absolutely days spent wrapped up in a blanket enjoying the best of Chiapas’ hot chocolate, guilt-free. Life as an expat can be simple, quiet and boring, just like at home. This particular daily routine, though, was one reserved for when I felt energized, social and able to explore the parts of this special land that most spoke to me.
Here is a day in my life, sunrise to sunset in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico.
5am: The sun rises just after 6am, so to make the most of it the best way I can when living in a mountain town, I’d rise at 5am and get ready to meet friends in a central point for an early morning hike. We’d arrange a taxi we trusted (a woman taxi driver at that) to take us to the foot of Don Lauro mountain and walk the hiking trail that at least one of us had taken before.
6am: The hike to the top is fun, even in the dark and, even, while slightly out of breath. After about 30 – 40 minutes climbing, you arrive in time for an unbelievable view.
9am: After enjoying the view, meditating and soaking in the pure sunshine from the top of the mountain, we make our way down and head back to the center for 9am. On my way home I’d stop at the markets to buy fresh fruit and herbs then head home to make a well-earned breakfast. I usually used this time to call home and send the world’s longest voice notes to friends and family in the UK. Afterwards, I’d get grounded and prepared for the rest of my day.
10am: The first part of my work day would be spent drafting some pieces, as well as lesson-planning for any upcoming classes.
12pm: For lunch I usually found my way to my favorite spot, La Casa del Tamal to enjoy some delicious vegan tamales or Jamaica quesadillas, which is seasoned hibiscus, a flavor I didn’t know I needed in a quesadilla.
1pm: Before returning to my screen for work, I like to give my mind as much nature time as possible to balance it out. El Encuentro is a natural park with a river and is a San Cris secret. I’d usually spend some time chilling on the rocks by the river.
2pm: For the second part of my writing day, I would head to one of my favorite cafés to change my working environment. Corazón de Jade feels like a patch of serenity in the middle of the busy town center. It is a walk-in garden and museum, but it also has a café and serves some of the most flavorful dishes and beverages using herbs grown right there in the garden.
4.30pm: Once finishing up, I’d walk the scenic route home (the whole of the center could technically be the ‘scenic route’…) and gift myself some moments in the crafts market. With Jade and Ambar being the main stones found in Chiapas, the market is more than a little tempting with the abundant views and precious stones.
5pm: I love cooking and using ingredients from the country I am in to mimic dishes and blend them with my own recipes or Jamaican favorites. Even better if I have friends over at my studio, crammed around the table enjoying a Mexican-infused dinner.
6pm: I think San Cristóbal de las Casas is one of the prettiest places I’ve lived in to witness the sunset. If not from my own balcony, then I’d enjoy it on Kinoki’s (a bar and independent cinema a short walk away).
Wherever you find yourself at this hour, the sunset is bound to be just as impressive – that is the San Cristóbal promise.