Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In the blue house of Frieda Kahlo

You can't go to Mexico City without visiting Frieda.. having a cat for company
The woman that was..

....and her tortured view of herself.

When time stopped, and restarted...separation from Diego Rivera

Puebla, Oaxaca and Maya ruins

Wednesday is washing day......
From Mexico City, it was a dash down the toll roads to Puebla, where we set up camp in the adjoining suburb of Cholula, alongside Monique, Pat, Fin and Sophie, who were our neighbors from previous camps in San Miguel De Allende and Teotihuacán. 

A twenty minute walk took us towards the Cholula pyramid - apparently the largest in the Western Hemisphere - however a friendly little cafe on the corner, with views of the pyramid, distracted us for a beer or two, before we continued on to explore the site. Rumor has it that there is a spectacular volcanic peak just on the edge of town but the haze and smog ensured that it was not to be seen today. After exploring the ruins, we tried one of the local delicacies - fried crickets - but they were a bit over-salted for my palette and, apart from the crunchy shells, didn’t have a great deal of substance. 

The navigator and the chef -
Mariana asking directions, Miguel ordering crickets!
...and would you like fruit with your crickets?

Mariana and Miguel with the "mole" chef
Our big decision for the following morning was that one really should eat Mole Poblano (Puebla Mole - the region’s signature dish) when in Pueblo, so we agreed that we would drive in to the centro and, if we could manage to find a parking spot, we would have a look around. Fortunately we were early enough that most of mexico was still in church so, with the help of a friendly parking attendant we found two spots and set off on foot to explore the town. A good decision on a couple of fronts - firstly because we found a local “food-hall”, a cluster of eateries in a small market where we had a delicious mole - chicken with a chocolate and chile sauce, and secondly, because the streets of Pueblo are delightful - this being a town that specializes in tiles, both in its buildings and its crafts.

The wedding cake architecture of Puebla

Busy in the bakery.
Chatting in the plaza
Juggling for tips at the traffic lights

Red meat tonight?.....
...or maybe the chicken feet?

The afternoon saw us tollwaying again, this time on to Oaxaca, where a fairly grungy but conveniently located campground provided our home for the night.

The seasons are changing and it is getting hotter and much more hazy. It’s important to note this, because all reports of Oaxaca is that it is a beautiful city, not to be missed. For some reason I found it a little underwhelming - the majority of the city sprawls across a broad hot valley and is  pretty unattractive. While the old centro is much more pleasant, it didn’t really have the charm of places like Guanaghato and San Miguel De Allende. The exception tho were the local markets, an amazing agglomeration of stalls selling every from a diverse array of fried insects, to meat and vegies,  the usual trinkets and most importantly, chocolate - still made to ancient recipes.

The ruins of Monte Alban
Adjoining Oaxaca are the impressive ruins of Monte Albán, perched atop the ranges behind the city. After wandering around these for the morning, I took leave of Mariana and Miguel, as they now need to get moving in order to fly out of Costa Rica in a few weeks. I don’t have the same time constraints so rather than rush with them I’ve decided to head for the hills and have a break from cities and freeways.

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