Phew, I've been stuck in San Cristóbal for 10 days! As much as I would love to tell you that I worked through all my blog posts, there was unfortunately a rather unpleasant reason for the delay. I got a proper, proper food poisoning and was basically tied to the bed for the better part of the stay.

If you think now, that this was due to trying some of the delicious Mexican street food I have to disappoint you. Since I was staying in an Airbnb with a kitchen I was longing to do some cooking. And no again, no German dishes as many would expect. I was trying to reassemble some of my favorite Mexican dishes here where I have all the delicious fresh ingredients from the colorful markets of San Cristobal. Of course I wanted to make sure that I learn the proper skills to treat you with some Mexican food once back in Germany🙂

Well, after 3 days of home cooking only, I got the bill. For about a week nothing solid left my body... I spare you the details. I can't exactly pinpoint what it was, but I later learn that the water here is heavily contaminated. So it could have even been from brushing my teeth...

I didn't go to the doctor [probably should have] as I was feeling okay-ish most of the time. So I decided to sit it out and don't break my streak of not having taken a single pill since I am on this trip. Stupid, I know. If I would have known that it would take me a week to slightly being able to ride again... As I said, I felt okay but I also didn't do much. With my body not holding much liquid or calories that I was inserting, it was clear to me that I cannot cycle. And so I didn't... Luckily my Airbnb host Karla took care of me a bit and was very flexible with me extending my stay for the time I needed to get back on track.

But here we are. Didn't see much of Sancris which is the flourishing former capital of the state Chiapas. It is incredibly rich in culture as it is in a Maya region. It is mainly populated by two types of people - Maya [Tzotzil tribe, also the language they still speak today] and digital nomads. It makes for an interesting mix of both traditional indiginous culture and hipster culture that seem to co-exist well here.

The only notable event was that on my last day I took a free walking tour which was, hands down, the best I have ever had. The guide, Claudio, perfectly bridged this interesting mix by teaching us a lot about the Maya culture while showing us some of the fanciest co-working spaces of the town.

Sad mind-boggle: Mexican people are the highest consumers of Coca Cola and Chiapas, the poorest state, tragically is its epicentrum with on average more than 2l per person per DAY. It sometimes is cheaper than drinking water and even found its way into traditional Tzotzil healing ceremonies where burping is seen as a way for the disease to leave the body.

During the tour we also visited different restaurants and bars for tastings. I think the Pox [a 70% corn spirit that is also used for traditional healing purposes] made the job!

And so the next day, today, I am back on the bike finally shooting for Guatemala. After a quick meet up with Alex and Nicholas from Belgium who still have plenty of Quetztal [currency in Guatemala] that I exchange with them, I make my way out of town. I get terribly lost in the labyrinth of streets but by noon I am on the right road to Comitan, my last stop in Mexico.

It's an interesting feeling to be on the bike after such a long break. It feels like riding on a cloud [not only in a positive way]. I am incredibly excited and amplified by finally being on the bike again. At the same time I feel that my body is still weakened and not used to the movement anymore. I almost see the need to slow the excitement down a bit to not blow up eventually on the 100km ride to Comitan.

I pass a Zapatista village with masked people and many revolutionary signs and murals along the road. I am too lazy to write all about it right now but I can highly recommend to do your own research on the Zapatista movement here in Chiapas. One sign stands out to me as it wishes peace and life to both the Ukrainian and Russian people. A message you don't see all that often these days.

As I ride on through a cloudy 20 degree day through the green mountains of Chiapas and thus making my last kilometers of an almost three month ride through Mexico, I also realize something else.

I have a confession to make here. I got highly addicted to something in Mexico. I wasn't realizing it in the past 10 days of abstinence, but as I ride through the small villages it becomes crystal clear to me right now.

I haven't been eating Tacos for 10 days! While this is also true and one of many highly addictive things you can get in Mexico, I am obviously just kidding. So what is it?

Huge, bright smiles!!!

I don't want to get overly sentimental about it. Especially since I am somewhat certain that friendly smiling people will further pave my way south. But I feel it worth mentioning in today's post as you are missing a huge piece in the puzzle that my ride through Mexico is [and might stay] for you. [I comment on that at the end]

San Cristobal was a touristy town. A traveler is nothing that a person in the street would stop for and put on the brightest smile. Like in every touristy town around the world, no matter which country, a tourist means money and by traveling almost exclusively in rural areas I can feel a drastic difference by now. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong about it and Sancris is far from being a town where you are solely seen as a walking wallet.

However, the amount of technically strangers giving me their brightest smile, waiving and a polite "Buenas tardes" today, is a fairly accurate description of my whole ride through rural Mexico. I simply smile a big part of any given day and the positive energy you get from it is highly addictive. I even struggle to fall in my zen-cycling mode with the constant flow of bright smiles I see today.

To me being a stranger, a guest in this country it means much more than just a polite gesture that is either initiated by me or by them and then returned by the other. I don't want to over interpret it but to me it means "I respect you!". To me as a guest in a country, that obviously goes a long way in terms of feeling welcome. But also when I see the way how they smile and the look in their eyes, I get the feeling that it goes a long way for them, too.

I know that this is a rather egocentric view. Still, in a world that seem more devided than ever it simply makes me happy to get this constant daily reminder that 99.9% of people are good, friendly and welcoming. I have many many thoughts about this today but I leave it with that. Smile more! To both the people you know and don't know! It goes a long way!


Let's put it out there, I stayed so long in San Cristobal that I simply couldn't stick around there any longer without getting depressed [Lagerkoller as we would say in Germany]. I am still far behind on the blog. Maybe it has to stay like this, maybe I will work on catching up eventually. Who knows... I fully caught up on Instagram and also uploaded all pictures [without captions yet] from Mexico to keep you busy in the meantime.

In terms of writing I wrote the Copper Canyon adventures and my further way south that got a sudden stop in Zacatecas, currently one of the most dangerous states in Mexico. The posts about Zacatecas are not ready yet. I don't know when I will have time to properly write them down in a way that do them justice and are worth publishing. If I would need to sum up my time in Zacatecas briefly: being recognized by random people on the street, meeting mayor's, getting escorted all the way through the state, eating in 5 star hotels, making it to the title page of the capitals newspaper, meeting the most generous people on the planet...] My favorite interview can be found here.

I also want to try something new. I decided to let the gap in the story-line be a gap for now and simply write on in a more timely manner. Maybe that works better for me and is also nicer for you. Pictures will further come in batches as good internet is scarce.