Sunday, December 27, 2009

Feliz Navidad

All of Tuxla spread out before me like a glittering field of fireflies. I couldn’t help but remember the firefly colonies at Kaula Selangor, Malaysia. Here, from above, on one of the mirador’s overlooking this city, mountains sheltering the capital of Chiapas, it seemed almost alive as one, one colony, natural and organic. The poverty and urban dirt shielded by the darkness, and the cold night warded off by new friends.

Mexican music filled the air, and the young Mexican kids and adults from the city shared local drinks, stories, and dance moves as Christmas was celebrated in their unique way.

Early that evening, I had left San Cristobal with my two new friends (Mexican and French). Her family was kind enough to invite us over for Christmas dinner. Sharing a family meal, listening to various American and Mexican pop songs on one of their cellphones, drinking coronas and sidre, and bowing our heads for the blessing, I truly was blessed to experience those moments.

It has been awhile since I had the warmth of a family for Christmas. In 2007, I was with Tuareg’s under the canopy of stars in Timbuktu, enjoying the freezing cold of the Sahara and the sweetness of the local tea (the first cup is "bitter as death," the second, "as sweet as love"). In 2008, I was in Chiang Mai at a local festival. In Tuxla, it was nice to be around a family again, to feel the warmth of those who cared about and loved each other.

Perhaps the irony of traveling is I’ve gone so far to find magic, when the strongest magic is back where I’ve left it.

Feliz Navidad.

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