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After a five-hour bus ride, I was ready for a walk so I strolled to the tourist office, which
was located in the nearby park. The young lady gave me a map, mentioned the Marimba
Museum and circled Instituto de las Artesanias, Centro de Distribucion. Both were within
walking distance. In fact, most of the monuments are along Avenida Principal, so a walk
broke sightseeing into pleasant stops.
My curiosity was piqued by the Marimba Museum. I always thought of marimba and Ver-
acruz as synonymous. The museum charged $5, somewhat high for a limited museum in
Mexico, but the price included Benjamin Escobedo, an exceptionally well-informed and
enthusiastic guide.
The museum tour started with the introduction and evolution of the marimba from Africa.
Benjamin explained how African slaves adapted New-World materials that were influen-
ced by Mayans. He detailed the evolution, the history, composers, players and makers of
the marimba. Computers offered music and photos of performers. Then Benjamin took me
into the workshop where a full-time restorer was working on one of the great classic in-
struments I had seen in old photos.
I felt like I had an advanced course in marimba history and instrumentology. I offered Ben-
jamin a tip. But he absolutely, palms up, turned me down. "I'm a municipal employee. I
earn a salary," he said. I thanked him, yet his knowledge and enthusiasm still made me feel
I walked down Avenida Principal and passed many attractive restaurants and a few quality
hotels. I took photos of an outdoor mural, an artistic mosaic history of Chiapas, on the side
of the Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas. I climbed to the top of the Morelos
Park, with its monument dedicated to the Mexican flag. After catching my breath, I con-
tinued down Avenida Principal to the Instituto de las Artesanias. Although only handcrafts
from the State of Chiapas are on display and for sale, the collection is immense and of the
highest quality.
Shoppers beware! Traveling by bus forces economical shopping but brings regrets for the
items one can't purchase and carry home.
Hotel del Carmen was near the park. Music and dancing in the park were a joy every even-
ing in Tuxtla Gutierrez. The young watched and listened. Older couples put on a graceful
and sometimes energetic show. The marimba band started at 6 p.m. A female voice an-
nounced the program, then added, "An evening of romantic music, love is in the air, he's
on the loose, careful, you may fall in love."
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