San Cristobal de las Casas
If you can measure the hardship of a place by the amount of beggars on its streets, San Cristobal must suffer a great deal. I have come here to use the library at Na Bolom, the best in the world for books about Mexico's indigenous peoples and cultures. I stopped here previously for a short while in 2004 and found the place enchanting. With the context of novels such as The Book of Lamentations , the place seems overshadowed somehow. The indigenous people were not allowed to walk on the pavements here in the old days and the place still seems cut off from the reforms that have changed the rest of Mexico.
San Cristobal is also the heartland of the Zapatistas, the guerillas who have been fighting for the independence of Chiapas and who have influenced serious change in attitudes to the indigenous peoples and peasants hereabouts.