Have You Met Tupac

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Day 35: San Cristobal, Mexico

Perhaps it’s not accurate to call him Tupac. His name is Carlos but he explained that there are too many Carlos in San Cristobal and a Finnish girl gave him the nickname Tupac – I asked why but he didn’t really know the answer.

I met Tupac in the square in front of San Cristobal cathedral. I was sitting on a bench and he passed by me a few times before deciding to introduce himself.

Although he’s originally from El Salvador he’s lived in San Francisco and Utah so he speaks English quite well.

We exchanged a few words, he wished me well and went on his way. But then he turned back and asked me if I wanted to join him at a barataria.

I was a bit suspicious but I hadn’t met a lot of people in Oaxaca and I arrived in San Cristobal to an empty hostel so I figured there was nothing wrong with a harmless drink in the afternoon sun. 

Selfishlessly I also wanted to visit one of the baratarias where you order drinks and they bring you little bits of Mexican antojitos for free.

Carlos errr Tupac has lived an interesting life. He currently works at one of the local bars but also has worked as an actor, a travel guide and a salsa dancer.

He says that salsa dancing is his life (cervezas are second) and wants to take me dancing that night at some salsa bar.

I explain that I’m having dinner with people from my hostel and would have to decline.


We started off a litre of Sol, tortilla chips and prawn soup (shrimp with the head on) and it reminded me of  Thai hot and sour soup with the chile heat but tang of lime.

The waiter then offered empanadas but we were too full so he brought us spiced peanuts with lime. I used the lime for our second litre of Sol while listening to Carlos recite all the languages he knew from meeting other travelers.

The waiter finally brought us, what I think are flutas, or at least what they are called in Canada. Deep fried tortillas with a mixture of meat and coleslaw, topped with carrot and sour cream.


As we finished our third litre of Sol, Tupac offered to take me on a tour by collectivo to the mountain villages.

From his previous days as a tour guide he knows some families and the good places to go. I couldn’t turn down a personal tour, on public transportation, during the daylight, so I’m meeting him tomorrow at 10am.

However, I did turn down his offer to go back to his place to see “the other side of town.” While he promised me throughout our chat that he never crosses the line, I insisted that as a solo traveler I had to be cautious and he should not be offended but I could not accept his invitation. While disappointed he did say he would not take it personally.

It seems that I have the tolerance of strong Irish heritage and I was feeling good from the low alcohol percentage Sol but the beer and afternoon heat hit Tupac harder and he decided he could not ride his bike home.

We parted ways with an agreement to meet back at the square to head to the villages the next day. I’m hoping that he’s true to his word of not crossing the line, but what do you think? I’ll have an amazing experience or he’ll try to kill me in the mountains?

Join the Conversation

  1. You are definitely meeting some interesting characters.

    I love that he’s nicknamed Tupac. Hope the tour works out well for you!

  2. Maybe his nickname is Tupac because he’ll bust a cap on your ass?!

  3. An interesting character again! Hopefully he won’t end up the same way as THE Tupac

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have a feeling this one gets into just as much trouble.

  4. DTravelsRound says:

    Love that his name is Tupac. And, that food? Mmmm. I am like you when solo — meeting during the day to go on tours is fine. But, those nighttime visits, nah. When I was in Morocco, the guy who was taking me around town kept offering to come to my room that night to give me a massage with 100 herbs and spices and then go get a beer. Pass.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yep once the sun sets people start to get shifty, I prefer to see them in the day light.

  5. The Travel Chica says:

    Public transportation during the day…. good call. And you obviously did not get killed in the mountains.

    I have learned to never trust a man in this part of the world that says he “never crosses the line.” He may not truly cross the line, but he will probably try.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They usually do try 🙂

  6. Camels & Chocolate says:

    Out of curiosity, are you a How I Met Your Mother fan? Couldn’t decide if the title of this was a nod to that or not!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Why yes it is Kristin 🙂

  7. Nomadic Samuel says:

    It’s these kind of random encounters that makes me crave being on the road once again. I think you were very wise to have some boundaries with the guy though.

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