Day 4- December 27, 2014: Puebla, Puebla, Mexico
On Saturday morning our plans changed yet again as we realized that the buses to Veracruz with Ado were pricier than we anticipated and the schedule meant that we wouldn't be able to go just for the day and get back to DF, so we decided to spend another day and night in Puebla and save Veracruz for a future round in Mexico. Whomp whomp. The Couchsurfers that Omar originally had lined up were returning that night so we were gonna have to hit the air mattress if we stayed but that wasn't an issue for us.
We taxied it back to the historic center and started out at El Mercado de Sabores, which really wasn't what we expected. It was more of a local market than somewhere we could eat and shop. But once we left there were ended up at a cute little restaurant where we had enchiladas. We worked our way through the streets and went to the Templo de Santo Domingo. I'm not gonna front, this church was a beauty. Livin' life like it's golden gorgeous. And no, you're not supposed to take pics but there were sooo many people snapping shots that I just had to.
We went in search of the Palafoxian Library and came to a corner with a dude that immediately screamed sketchy, which was actually somewhat of a rarity in our experience there. "Don't make eye contact!" has been a running joke between us about potentially mentally unstable folks in our presence and it was quickly resurrected. We walked quickly towards a police officer as Scary Smiles followed us. He passed us by as we asked the female officer about the location of the library. And not only was she super nice and told us that we were actually standing in front of it but it's housed within the Casa de Cultura de Puebla, but she whipped out one of the Puebla center maps and offered it to us. Well color me confused yet again. Did this officer of the law just prove kind and helpful? Wow. Go Puebla. We entered the Casa de Cultura de Puebla.
The Palafoxiana Library is apparently the oldest public library in the Americas. Who knew? There was an entrance fee which weren't sure there was a point to paying so we admired from a distance and kept it moving.
An interesting thing about being in Mexico coming from The States is that there is so much food that seems vaguely familiar because we eat versions of them, but oftentimes they really don't compare. Perfect example, churros. Oh you think you've had churros, but nah, son. Not like this. As we walked we saw some less than appetizing ones and thought, meh let's wait. And what did we come across on the corner of the same street with Casa de la Cultura, but an old school churreria with some fresh out the hot oil churros for us to enjoy. Puebla, I heart you.
Shortly after our churro romance we met up with Ixtzel and her friend Alejandro and went back to the El Parián market and then to a spot for more food. The place was colorful and dotted with different Talavera Poblana pottery. But what I remember the most was having to use the restroom after some adorable viejitas. I don't know when in my life I've been nasally assaulted by something like that. Felt like I stepped into the Devil's commode. I took one large breath then tried taking baby breaths like Phil Cantone in the Harlem Nights safe but I believe I came close to death. I tried to keep it cool on my way out so as to not embarrass the little old ladies but apparently I looked like I'd seen a ghost. My girl tried to follow but couldn't even make it through the door. We went to the biggest chain of department stores, Sanborn's, so everyone else could use the restroom since my reconnaissance mission had proved the area unsafe for the rest of the team. While I waited I came across this. Werrrrrk Naomi C.
Ah, but wait. If you read the subscript it says, "A day with LA TOP most savage." Given such a long history of labeling people of African, Indigenous and other non-European descent as savage, animal and generally less-than-human, it's just never cool to call someone of these backgrounds as such. But let's hope there is something lost in translation here. :-/
So we all then headed to a cool little space with vendors called Callejon de los Sapos. Unfortunately, but the time we got there everyone was packing up their wares. I'm on a quest for a fly Dia de los Muertos skull and there were some quite nice ones on the Callejon that were unique because they were unglazed but since I wasn't sure if I could find even better ones elsewhere I passed up on them. We stopped at a spot and had a beer. Alejandro suggested Bohemia as one of the best but since there were none available we drank Indios (yeh, that name is cringe-worthy to me), which are supposed to be some of the worst but a very local beer. It was then time for the houseparty at Omar’s that started at1pm (i.e. 4pm). We made a liquor run at Walmart. Trust that this was the first time I’d shopped at Walmart since I really understood how shamelessly disgusting they are to their workers and I only went because I was with the group. Turns out Sam Walton & Co. are screwing over workers around the world! Anyway, we got a bottle of Jose Cuervo Tradicional and headed to O’s. We could see as we rolled up that there was a gang of folks outside of his home. So we immediately broke out our bottle and got festive. We made "Palomitas" which require a 10 second pour of Tequila, fizzy lemon water/soda, lime, and a pinch of salt. We carried on with our own little circle and I found out the joke about the three things Mexicanos say that you can never trust:
- Mañana te pago (tomorrow, I’m going to pay you).
- Una más y nos vamos (one more drink, and we’re leaving).
- No más la pontita (just the tip, no more).
Then the munchies kicked in and we made a food run for some schwarma type sandwiches called "gringas" (Because they were wrapped in light-colored bread. boo.). But I swear that was the best meat I’d ever tasted. Pause. Then we went back to the house and mixed it up with other folks. Before I knew it the hours went on and I was being swung around the room dancing the Quebradita (a lot less gracefully than this). This story gets more interesting but I’m still deciding how to buckle down and finish the travel memoir I started writing while I was living Chile in 2013. And since it’s still on the table, there are some juicier, messier, dirtier, and/or just more personal parts of stories that I’m gonna save for the book. And when one such episode or detail comes up I’m gonna drop in a “LIBRO!” so you know. Sooo... LIBRO!