Trip to Puebla, September 2008

My mom came down to visit from Oregon for a few days. We stayed in Mexico City for a few days before heading to Puebla, about 2 hours to the SW. Although it's allegedly Mexico's #4 largest town with 1.4M people, the main downtown (and the rest of it too) seemed tiny compared to Mexico City. Puebla is known for its cool old tiled buildings and its food, including Chiles en Nogada (beef/fruit/nut-filled Poblano peppers, with a goat milk and nut sauce, topped with pomegranate seeds: green, white, and red being Mexican colors and all) and Mole Poblano (a red mole sauce). Outside of Puebla, we headed to Africam, a drive-thru 16,000-acre safari park outside Puebla, with hippos, emus, etc.

On the way back, we spent much of the day in Cholula. Although in the US the name may be most commonly associated with the hot sauce which is actually made far away in another state, Cholula is one of Mexico's oldest towns and is home to the #2 largest pyramid in the world (though the pyramid is largely covered by a grassy hill, and has a church sitting right on top of it).

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Puebla

I make a fine gringo target to accost for the show outside the zocalo. Piper does also. Heidi buys some wings. The book title is `Marketing de Productos Para Ninos' -- and yes, it is being
read by the guy here successfully selling the products. I eye Heidi. My mom, in a rarely seen moment, eating donuts <i>and</i> hot chocolate.
Well, churros, which are indeed quite popular here, with at least three
different outlets on the Zocalo itself.


Our cute and colorful hotel

The very cute hotel we were staying at, <a
href=http://www.mesones-sacristia.com>Mesones Sacristia</a>, a few blocks
away.  The pics look a bit surreal and saturated up -- but no, that's what it
looks like.  It was quite photogenic. More hotel photos... ... and some more... We have an ungodly amount of food due to an apparent ordering error at Restaurante
Zanahoria. <p>


Africam [sic] Safari Park

OK, now we're headed off to the Africam [sic] Safari. This is a bit surreal, looking like Kilamanjaro in the background with the
giraffes in front.  It's not Kilamanjaro but Popocatepetl, Mexico's most
recently active major volcano, which steams daily and is closed to climbing. Heidi loves capybaras. This Golf was overrun by monkeys (who made off with a bag of Lays).  With this
minor exception, the park was super clean, well-run, the animals appeared
happy, and it certainly was as good or better than any similar drive-thru park
I've been to in the US.  It really was very good. Piper sees some goats. This is Piper after she has paid a few pesos to ride the llama named
<b>Hitler</b>.  Heidi asked if it referred to the same Hitler, and the answer
was definitely yes. Now we're on a boat. I suppose one is obligated to take pictures of tigers, since they're all
threatening and scary and whatnot.  OK, here's a picture of a tiger then.  It
was sleeping on a concrete rock.  Woo-hoo! I bonded with the hippos more than I did with the tigers. Here's some birds who did tricks.  They were beautiful, but you can't
really see that in this pic. Heidi is jumping up and down on a bridge to try to knock me off of it.  Good
luck. Heidi goes on the zip line, before losing a shoe.  Luckily it was caught only
in a high tree, but saved from the monkeys. Bats!  Very cool.  Look close -- they're there...


Cholula pyramid

Now we're at the <a
href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Cholula>Cholula pyramid</a>.  The pyramid is right here -- we're standing
on it already, and it's all covered by trees and a grassy mound.  Ignore the
church on top -- that was added in 1500 AD, some 2500 years after the pyramid
itself was started.  The pyramid was excavated starting in about 1910, and it's
not clear that the Spanish builders of the church even knew it was there.  It
is now advertised as the second-largest pyramid in the world (Giza = #1, and
the <a
href=http://eaubergine.com/images/Mexico_Month1_Jul08/slides/Slide84.html>Teotihuacan<a>
pyramids in Mexico are #3, depending on if you measure height, volume, fame,
etc.) This is cool!  You can actually walk through the tunnels in the pyramids for a
couple of extra pesos.  The tunnels are modern -- dug by archaeologists in the
20th century -- but we didn't know that at the time, and especially under that
misunderstanding, they were awesome.  They still are pretty amazing knowing the
truth, too.  There's about 10 km of tunnels dug in this very pyramid here. This hombre is making quite cool straw drawings of the pyramid, volcano Popo,
etc. Meanwhile, this woman is selling grasshoppers (<i>chapulines</i>). Just one edge of the pyramid has been excavated.  The church on top is now a
historical landmark of course, since it's been there for hundreds of years, so
it can't be removed to dig out the pyramid below it... Fields looking across to another church.  There are a lot of churches in Puebla
/ Cholula.  Allegedly Cortez vowed to build 365 churches in the city, though he
did fail to meet that goal by roughly an order of magnitude.  By astronomical
standards, I suppose that's a success. Piper is picking up some trash.  We weren't sure what was going on, but it
turned out to be a big festival in Cholula, and thus the existence of many many
hundreds of fireworks. Walking up one edge of the pyramid... Looking down on Cholula....
<p>(Overexposed a bit, so I did my best to stretch it back -- this and the next
few.) My mom descends the pyramid.  She just got back from hiking 100 miles or so
through the Oregon coast range -- and 400 miles of biking along the
continental divide the week before -- so she's feeling a little light-headed
without a solid load behind her. My mom eats jicama-on-a-stick!  Mexicans apparently love eating anything on a
stick, and starchy root vegetables are no exception.  This one -- like most
Mexican products -- is dipped in lime and chili. Signs for the festival that day, for the Virgen de los Remedios.  I was too
busy taking pictures of jicamas-on-sticks to get the parade that just went by. Coconut is not served on a stick. Piper is eating some queso in Cholula.


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Henry Throop

Last modified Wed Oct 8 11:41:26 2008