Oct 7, 2009, 8:58 PM
Post #1 of 8
Saturday night in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas is tamal night and women all over this colonial city of maybe 130,000 souls hang out red lanterns signifying that they are selling homemade tamales and, perhaps, some other accompaniments to all who stop by their homes and damn are those tamales great when they are good. One will usually find three types of tamales. Asafran, mole and bolas. Asafran and mole tamales are enclosed in banana leaves and thin, flavorful masa whereas bolas are thicker and more filling tamales encrusted in what I consider to be an excessive amount of corn flour and wrapped in corn husks. Our two favorites are the asafran and mole which capture the flavor of the banana leaves and consist normally of chicken or pork in delicate turmeric based or Chiapas mole sauces and tortilla wrappings and along with a cold XX Lager cannot be beat for a Saturday night treat at home around the breakfast table.
Actually, a not-untypical Chiapanecan breakfast might consist of a tamal with eggs in various styles accompanied by a spicy salsa cruda and a local cafe de olla which is really a large cup of coffee boiled and served hot with perhaps some cinnamon and sugar and while this is something of a local redneck tradition, it is a fine way to start the day. If one has higher standards in Chiapas coffee prepared in espresso fashion with steamed milk, well one can simply walk a couple of blocks in this walker´s town and there you have it or a couple of blocks more and have at it again.
After a fine coffee and tortilla repast, one can stroll down any one of several pedestrian streets past splendid old colonial buildings a few blocks to the main plaza known locally as El Jardin and, at any time passing, may come upon the San Cristóbal municipal marimba orchestra at 8:00AM or so in concert or any number of other surprise events some of which taking place seemingly at random some of which may portend civil unrest or army muscle flexing and that´s what makes it entertaining and, pehaps a bit edgy but that´s OK is it not? Edgy towns are Dawg´s redoubt.
The morning sun in San Cristóbal at about 7,000 feet after a possibly gloomy fog-bound start of the day until about 10:00AM is brilliant and crystal clear in high mountain air when rain clouds do not interfere and by noon one can experience the phenomenon of bathing in warm, embracing sunlight on the sunny sides of streets while feeling the chill on shady thoroughfares. The clarity of the air and accompanying clarity of sound must be experienced to be understood. The pollution is normally at ground level where little care is taken toward waste disposal and rat´s carcasses are only removed in time but I say just avoid looking down and never drink the tap water. Multicolored colonial buildings take on a special brilliant tone in the exquisite high mountain light. A fine place.
(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 7, 2009, 9:12 PM)