Can't swing a cat without hitting a church....

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Monday, December 28, 2009

We departed Mexico City for the colonial town of Puebla, some 2.5 hrs away by bus. While stowing our luggage under the buys, I smash my head on a metal beam and it's not much fun. I find out later that I actually split my head open and blood came out. I actually swore less when smashing my head open than spending 5 minutes in Sydney traffic. Maybe this holiday thing is actually working and chilling me out. Either that or I have to work on cursing in Spanish.

Puebla is a bigtime throwback to the colonial days of Mexico. It’s home to 70 churches in the city centre alone and all of the buildings have a real colonial feel. Hence the buildings are mostly only 2 levels (ground floor plus one above), the streets are open and mostly made of cobblestones instead of tarmac and it’s always built around a really nice park in the heart of the city where there is always a church and a municipal building.

This place really has a nice small town feel like Antigua in Guatemala. We arrived just before lunch checked out the main cathedral which is pretty awesome on the inside. Full of gold leaf and the walls and ceilings have been decorated to the maximum. Three dimensional plaster on the ceilings and a beautiful centrepiece at the altar. The church also has a separate chapel which is something else to look at. Pictures don’t really do these buildings justice because the space that these buildings have is something that you really have to experience. They don’t make buildings like these anymore and that would have to be due to the cost but also the time and commitment that is required.

The next day we went out to Cholula, which is the site of the widest pyramid ever built. When I first heard that, I thought that it was a pretty lame claim to fame. It’s one thing to build the tallest but to build the widest? I expected it to be the bottom level only but in reality, it was about 4 or 5 levels up so they did put some effort in. If I remember correctly, it’s about 300m in length. Not sure what happened to make them stop but they did and a few centuries went by and it was overgrown and lots of dirt started to cover it. Then the Spanish arrived, found this fairly flat hill and decided to build a church on it. Little did they know they were building it on top of someone’s tomb.

While climbing the hill to check out the church, I got the chance to try some grasshoppers. When I say try, I mean eat. When I say grasshoppers, I mean the small green insect. They were fried and had some chilli powder mixed in with them. A little splash of lime juice and they went down a treat. Bought a bag of them for the trip up the hill but they didn’t last that long. We came at the right time because the locals collect them over the summer from the fields of the farmers, dry them for a while then cook them now. For anyone who wants to know what they taste and feel like, I liken it to the fried anchovies that you would have for a Nasi Lemak (a Malaysian rice/curry dish).

The rest of the trip is not really noteworthy except we saw a beautiful little church that we couldn’t take photos of. This place was decorated to the max. When you walked in there, your eyes didn’t know where to focus because there was so much going on. Liberarchi would have been proud of this place. Again, being a church, it was a Spanish thing but the Spanish were few and the locals were plenty so to get the job done, the Spanish agreed to have some indigenous symbolism throughout the church. So you’d see St Peter on one side and there would be the God of Corn somewhere else who guarantees a bountiful crop in the summer.

When you’re away from home, you often experience other cultures and music. So far while travelling through Mexico, we have heard Mariarchi’s play, Salsa and some Latino rap but there is some music that I didn’t expect to hear. Western hits from the 80’s and 90’s. These are songs that have long been forgotten by artists such as Rick Astley, UB40, Ace of Base, Savage Garden, New Kids on the Block and Aqua just to name a few. Developing countries often get some hand-me-downs from western countries, such as cars, trucks, busses, military equipment or factory equipment. Our crappy one/two hit wonders should not be included. Don’t these people have a hard enough time already?

A small note about the picture that you see here in this blog. In all cases, I haven’t had the chance to crop or do any image enhancements at all. All I’ve done is to resize them smaller so that they upload to the blog site without a problem. As much as it pains me to have a picture of something awesome with a fat guy eating a hotdog in the background, Nicole reminds me that we’re on holidays and we have to go out and do things if I am to photograph anything at all. I’m starting to play around with Adobe Lightroom and reading up about that so we’ll see if these images improve as I start t use that more.

OK, next blog will be about Oaxaca and where I get Nicole’s flu and we discover that we have to share a bathroom with 6 other people - Nic was very impressed!
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Kylie on

Sounds like you 2 are having a great the pics!
Sorry to hear about your head Colin, hope you're ok! :)
Just wanted to let you 2 know that I still haven't heard from Ash about the xmas pressies!

Chat soon

travellingtans on

Hey Kylie! I will tell Colin to chase up Ash...hope the gifts aren't in the way. Hope things are going would love it here, heaps of churros and they sell Reece's peanut butter cups too :)
Love Nic xxx

Kylie on

Yummm...Churros!!! Makes me think of Universal Studios :o) Make sure you have, oh, a dozen or so for me!!!
No probs about the presents, they're not in the way at all...just thought the little ones might wonder why Aunty Nik and Uncle Col forgot about them for chrissy :o) hehe
Look forward to your updates...where to next?

JLi on

Hi Colin, sorry to hear your head open. I suppose all the local mexican wearing their hats when catch a bus.

Take care! Me and my wife really enjoy your blog, she even printed out your last 3 posts.

travellingtans on

Hey Kylie, the kids will remember us whenever they get the presents. Just have to get their slad dad into gear!

Jase, I have contemplaced getting myself a hat but haven't for 2 reasons.
1) Hard to carry it around with all our stuff
2) I would look like an idiot with one on!

Glad to hear you're enjoying the blog.

Aaron on

Grasshoppers, or any other insects, have that "nutty" flavor because you are eating insect........poop.

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